Tuesday, April 28, 2009

on being a parent

My house is surrounded by really tall trees that are full of birds this time of the year. Apparently, all the ones who like to sing really loudly are nocturnal.

This can be maddening while you are lying there trying to sleep, your mind racing a thousand miles a minute as you pray incessantly, "Please God, help me through these next few moments. Allow me the knowledge and strength to do the right thing. Instill in me the grace to be humble and accepting, even if the right thing is hard to do or gets me hurt." You replay every step you've already taken, questioning whether each of them has been in the right direction. You incessantly plead forgiveness of every misstep.

You think all these thoughts in a single second. You repeat them every 60 seconds.

Then, just when you think you have a moment of quiet, a moment of still — those birds start singing.

Soon it will grow late, and the singing will silence. The heart will still be burdened with worry and longing and fear. But the eyelids and soul will rest under the heavy blanket of faith and acceptance.

Then that blasted alarm clock will blare some music, reminding you that tomorrow is court day for The Boy. The same boy who set the trash can on fire at school. The same boy, who very much like his father, believes he is smarter than everyone else, the rules don't apply to him and to hell with the consequences, even if it means he or someone else gets hurt.

Moments like these I really miss his father. I miss not being able to say, "he's YOUR son, YOU make him understand!"

And I pray, "Please God, help me through these next few moments. He's YOUR son, allow him the knowledge and strength to do the right thing. Instill in him the grace to be humble and accepting, even if the right thing is hard to do. Allow me the knowledge and strength to do the right thing by him. Please God, help me to know I'm stepping in the right direction to help him along the right path." You replay every step you've already taken, questioning whether each of them has been in the right direction. You incessantly plead forgiveness of every misstep.

You think all these thoughts in a single second. You repeat them every 60 seconds.

For nine months, for 13 years, for his entire life.

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