It’s quite wonderful being a kid, isn’t it? You see it now that you have them, how oblivious you were to it when you were one. They don’t have to worry about very much. Their world is protected. It’s scheduled for them. Everyone loves them and asks so little of them in return.
But then you get older and all this fades away. Is that sad? A little. But the trade is better than it seems at first. As John Steinbeck writes in his beautiful book about fathers and sons, family and generations, good and evil, East of Eden…
When you’re a child you’re the center of everything. Everything happens for you. Other people? They are ghosts furnished for you to talk to. But when you grow up you take your own size and shape. Things go out of you for others and come in from other people. It’s worse, but it’s much better too.
As dads we’re not the center of everything anymore. Not by a long shot. But how much better it is here, as just one planet in the larger solar system that is a family, that is being a contributing adult member of society. We’ve taken our own size and shape now. So much comes out of it to make this all work. It’s hard. We miss the old days sometimes…but still, even if someone gave us a chance to, we’d never actually want to go back. We’d never give this up.
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