Seven Months, And Late

I have changed in the following ways.

1) I don’t have the stomach for overt navel gazing. Everything I say in this blog is going to be read by Barnaby one day, and I can see myself shifting slightly, away from being a son and toward being a father. This is the actual change, but it manifests itself in all the other smaller changes.

2) I don’t care who’s right, I just want things fixed. If there’s a problem, and a possible solution to the problem is posited, then I just want the solution tried, I don’t give a shit who’s been wronged or who’s suffered more. People make mistakes, and sometimes they make them because they are malicious selfish assholes, but usually they make them because they are trying to do the right thing and they fuck up. I don’t care if the problem was created by the former or the latter, I just want it fixed.

What this means is that I’m less out for justice and I’m more out for peace. It seems illogical at this point to talk about how badly the Arabs and the Jews have treated each other, it seems illogical to wonder about who’s parents were more abusive when we were all kids, and it’s totally illogical to ponder the *reason* that the baby’s diaper is so full it’s leaking. I just want to change his diaper, change his clothes and move the fuck on.

3) I’m less patient. I haven’t written because the creation of content for this blog requires a certain amount of time, and that time is spent in the hopes that one day this will mean something to somebody. I just don’t have that sense of the long-view any more, and by “long-view” I mean, I just can’t write and hope that tomorrow someone will write to me and tell me that what I’ve written matters to them. I need to know that what I’m spending my time on has real-world value to it.

4) I’m infinitely more patient. Every moment I spend with Barnaby is useless, half the time he’s screaming nonsense syllables or chewing on a piece of public property, but I know that the sum total of those moments will end up being more useful than a college education or a high-paying job will be to him. When I punish him, and when he’s terrified of my anger, he’ll also know that my anger is at his actions, not at who he actually is. And he’ll know that because somewhere in his hindbrain, he’ll know that I love him more than I’ve ever loved anything.

5) I’m more private. At some point, the love that I discovered in being a father left me without any way of talking about it. It isn’t a romantic or passionate love, it is basically beyond description. Not only that, but I think we all love our kids in different ways. For some people, it is a rhapsody, it does come across in poems and sonnets. But I can’t describe it. And knowing that there is, in the world, something that is unexpressable, that is completely internal… that’s made me feel both lonely and satisfied and it’s made it much harder for me to be close to people outside my immediate family.

6) I waste less time. I don’t remember the last time I watched TV when it wasn’t appointment television. I’ve seen one movie in the theater over the last six months, and if it weren’t for a job opportunity, I would have stopped watching “House”. My mom or my in-laws take Barnaby and I hear a starter’s gun go off in my head. I have two hours, and minutes later, I have minutes less, to do the things I need to do followed by the things I want to do.

7) I’m more frugal. I think about money a lot, but in a totally different way. I had always wondered how I was gonna survive from month to month, but now I focus on how I can make the road ahead easier. When I get too old to make money, will my son have to take care of me? As the years go on, will I be a burden, or will I provide him with liberation?

8) I have a completely different understanding of discipline.

It has always seemed to me that discipline was enforced, that you set yourself a goal and a timeline and then you screwed your courage to your sticking place and willed your own success. And this has been a useful tool for me to continue to hate myself and to blame myself for my shortcomings and my failures.

I’ve now discovered that discipline is organic, that I always act from my list of priorities, starting at the top. I’m doing really well right now, I’m following through on the things that I need to get done and I’m staying ahead of schedule on most things, but that is entirely because my sense of duty and responsibility slid, through no effort on my part, to the top of my list of priorities.

My sense of responsibility to my friends has disappeared. I’m writing this blog right now because I haven’t written it for the last four days, but I know that it needs to be written for Barno and for Jordana. But I also know there are social engagements to set up and to follow through on, I need to call about eleven people, and I tell myself that I will do it as soon as this blog is completed… but the truth is, if the baby wakes up, or if I get some of the information I’m waiting on in order to take the next few steps for Gideon, then I’m not gonna call anybody. I’m gonna keep working.

This is making me more and more isolated, and lonely, I’m sure. It’s been years since I’ve been able to maintain a night-life, but I did spend a number of years with my night-life at the top of my list, so I let myself off the hook. I tell myself that this is a productive, if lonely, time, and that every minute of every day, I’m essentially doing exactly what I want to, the same as I always have.

Anyway. The list.

9) I have more pride. I need less affirmation from the rest of the world because that same sense of the inexplicable has shown me that there is also no compliment large enough, no credit deep enough and no accolade loud enough that will fill that gaping maw inside me. The only thing that will stop me from feeling unloved is a sense of accomplishment. This translates into far less email written to my friends, far fewer blog posts, and far fewer social engagements. I am no satisfied with being a father, but I am utterly unsatisfied with praise for the things I do outside being a father. I still wish I could stop feeling so needy, but at least now I feel like the need is only going to be met by something inside me.

10) I want more artistic success. I just want Barnaby to be able to look at what we’ve done and discover that one can make their own way in the world if one chooses to. I want him to know that if he seeks happiness, if he seeks success, it is possible for him. When presented with a choice, I want him to choose based on how hard it is, and how much success he thinks he can attain, I don’t want him to feel like the harder path is guaranteed to fail.

11) I miss my family. My brothers, my sisters. I miss them all the time. I think about them all the time, and I really wish we could all live close enough to be in regular contact.