This week was filled with so many firsts for my kids. Which means firsts for me, watching them do things for the first time…landmark types of things. Things that equate in importance with their first steps or first words. The kinds of things that I am glad I didn’t miss and the kinds of things that will someday become so commonplace that I’ll forget when they couldn’t do them. As always, and a lot lately, I am so surprised what it feels like to have all these moments happening right in front of me without their mom. Or without a partner. It just seems like these things are the kinds of things that are supposed to be shared with someone else who is involved in the raising of these fine people directly. And it just never feels normal when it is only me in the audience. It has been 4 years and I am still not used to it. And I don’t expect to ever be used to it. This last week I told them about an open mike night that is family friendly for musicians and such. They began practicing immediately. My daughter did sign language while my son was on accoustic guitar and vocals. She signed an interpretation in ASL, while he sang. Then my son played solo for 2 more songs. The two acts following ours were friends. Two families that I have known for more than 8 years. They were great. A dad who wrote a song that was performed by him and his two sons on stage. And the other act was a singer/song writer dad with his daughter singing. It was so so great to see these families doing things together. I could not help but totally love the evening. And yes, I loved being there with my kids. And yes, when we were watching our friend’s on stage, and my son leaned back against me while holding his guitar with a huge smile on his face…I did realize that both of the Dad’s on stage were there while IN a family. When they left in their cars to drive home they were going home to a known partner. Sometimes it feels like the world is made out of married people…or at least that it is a “couple’s world”. I am glad it is actually. I am always glad to hear about it when people are in partnership. I value partnership very highly. It is such a powerful path of learning. Anyway, yep…when I headed out to my car I was definitely wondering how on Earth I will raise these kids alone, how I will do another night in a house with just the three of us. All I can do is let go. Breathe. Live. Exist. Trust. And rest in remembering how this path feels so right, even though it is definitely not an easy one. This is my path and I get it.
We had a wonderful week. One of the things I make sure to do with the kids, is find things to do that we all enjoy. Parkour is one of those things. Parkour is something like gymnastics, acrobatics, flirting with broken bones…etc…while running over man made terrain. Some call it free running, or urban running. Basically what we do is run around and “play” on city scapes with our bodies in creative ways. We are definitely beginners…total beginners. I try to not go without the kids so that my skills do not get too far ahead of them. Anyway, I had the idea to chart our skills progress with video and then share it on Youtube. Also I wanted it to serve as a place where the kids and I can always see one another for fun and reflect on fun stuff we did. This isn’t the cleanest edited video ever, but here is what we came up with so far….
Today I had one of those moments where what I wanted to share with them clashed completely with what they wanted…and someone was going to have to let go. My son only wanted to be near a computer…or my iPhone. My daughter was painting chocolate mousse designs on her arms using a green bean as a paintbrush/calligraphy pen. She was also busily telling me that she was going to “wear” it to school tomorrow and patently refused to hear that it might wash off before then. She was asking about shellac. I had just pulled into a trailhead and had the camera. I had been planning on shooting some video of what I do when I barefoot trail run over technical obstacles. I needed photographers. It seemed a perfect opportunity to get us all outside together in the woods. My son lingered near the car and looked crushed when I took away the phone. My daughter stood resolutely with a green bean in her hand, defiant. I felt angry as I realized this was NEVER going to end in a fun nor friendly way. I could feel my attachment to enjoying it…and the fact that they were leaving tomorrow to go back to their mom’s for a week…and that honestly I just wanted to share my love of trail running with them. My son especially has a hard time getting outdoors AND loving it…so it seemed like a great plan. But it just had no momentum, besides my own. Instead of pushing, I just felt. I stood there for a bit, acknowledged how bad I wanted to have another shiny moment with my kids before they left for a week…and let them off the hook. We got back in the car and headed home. Which was great. Then my daughter said, ‘I still want to go back and run and film!”. So, my son walked home and daughter and I padded off into the woods. I was elated. Then she stubbed her toe and bent back her nail. Ouch. We ran some more. Then she stepped on a stump and scraped her foot. Ouch. I looked up at the sky and let go again. ”C’mon honey…this totally totally is not what we are supposed to be doing, let’s head home and let go of this idea.” And we did. On the way back we chatted softly. She talked about chocolate mousse…I talked about how, for me, being single exacerbates my attachment to enjoying things as a “family”, that some times I can forget that enough is what is happening already. I recall feeling this attachment to not doing things alone with my kids before. Ironically I haven’t felt it this strong since I was married, and was very alone, literally, within the marriage. I was married, but really parenting alone most of the day. I was being with why this happened today, why the sadness about being alone with kids played out today…and then I recalled that this week a whole bunch of things happened that made it clearer to me than ever that I will be single for quite some time. And “single” may not even be the right word for it. And if you don’t have kids it isn’t really something you can grasp. There is a way that you are single, when you have kids to raise, that isn’t comparable to being “single” with no kids to raise. As long as they are under your roof, you always live under the shadow of how you were pretty sure you would be doing this with a partner. So, this week, for me, brought about a lot of validation that my path is to be “single” in many ways. It feels like there is a deeper acknowledgement of how my path as a father, a healer, etc, is one that I am meant to be on….not in isolation, but a feeling of walking alone. The sense and intuition tells me about being “single” in more ways than one, and honoring the healing in that way of being. So, I am adjusting to that Truth, and it isn’t an easy one. It is literally, the last one I wanted to have. So, yes…there is some integration to go, ever making more room for what is already happening.
I literally feel and recall past lives. It just started happening after my awakening. One central theme is present in so many of them…that of intense loneliness and isolation, of profound loss. Usually losing my family through death and then living out the rest of my life alone. But not really living a life. Mostly I just feel how I struggled to even want to live, that I didn’t want to be alive but stayed on anyway. This feels like the first time I can recall having so much loss and actually feeling that I will be single, maybe forever, and the crazy part…is that I want to stay. I love my life, even if I am single for the rest of it, I look forward to the journey. And in a larger karmic perspective, this is a first for me. All I can say is that usually, for a man of my age-a mere 40-fit, single, not too terribly hard to look at…there is the notion that one will eventually find someone. There is usually a sense of inevitability, a sense of it just being a matter of time until you bump into someone. I used to have that. But I no longer do. It is completely gone, replaced by the opposite sense. Life is telling me to buckle down for what happens to me when there is no partner, to see how things unfold when there is at least the “feeling” of certainty that there will be none. Yes, a very interesting life indeed.