Thursday, February 18, 2010

Reaching Upward From 'Neath the Shadow of the Elms

If life truly imitated art, then more of us would live it big moment to big moment as opposed to incrementally. You know what I mean. Cinematically, married life is comprised of nothing but tent pole moments: the wedding, childbirth, the child's wedding, etc. In actuality, it is comprised of a multitude of little moments. Little moments that we hope - as we live through them - help us get a bit closer to where we want to be. Wherever that is.

In the millions of little moments that comprise our life, there are countless decisions to be made. Who would have suspected that Robert Frost was onto something with his whole "two roads diverging in a woods" mantra? Except for the fact that when the decision is yours to make - and it is important - it often seems that you staring ahead at more than a simple fork. And it seems to me as I continue to shuffle my way along E Street through ever-advancing middle age that life is front-loaded. We face a lot of very important decisions it seems fairly early on in the game from where we want to go to college to what we want to do for a living to who we want to fall in love with forever.

One of the greatest things that Margaret instilled in Suz and Rob from the time they were little was the "Say Anything" doctrine. Even as kids both of them were confident in their ability to tell us (principally Margaret) anything, be it good stuff, bad stuff or - more often than not - simply day-to-day stuff. Admittedly most of the time that was a three-way conversation. Not that I was aloof as my old man was when I was a kid but simply because I was not home a great deal of the time. The system of communication was developed principally in my absence and rather than allow my ego to get in the way of progress and play the role of the great interloper, I simply would get updates from Margaret as developments warranted. I know not what system of communication you used and/or currently use in your home but ours worked just fine for us thank you very much. Our two learned early on that in our home trust and faith travelled on a two-way street. It is a lesson that I presume each shall carry in their little knapsack of knowledge for their life's remainder and, hopefully, shall pass on to their own children.

I have not so much stuck my nose under the tent flap as time has progressed as much as the three of them have opened the flat to allow me in. And it has enabled me - as my two children have morphed into quite remarkable young adults in the first half of their twenties - to get more involved in their day-to-day than I was when they were half the age each is now. While I am sure that speaks volumes to my own limitations as a parent and as a man, it is what it is. No WABAC machine is at my disposal so we will continue to move forward.

Apparently forgiven for my own limitations by those who I helped raise it is nice from time to time to be invited to respond to a query typically phrased as, "What do you think?" While I think that I am of some assistance in such circumstances time will be the ultimate bellwether. It seems however that being so well-versed in my own limitations permits me to offer guidance or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof to them. I hope so anyway. This is a tough enough ride to make it through without being shackled by poor advice; especially when given by one from whom you have solicited it.

History is scattered with the bones of folks who died waiting for the next best thing. Those who sat paralyzed, violating the Wurgraft Doctrine. Both Suz and Rob are blessed with the appropriate combination of courage and caution. Neither is afraid to fail yet neither is rash in the process of decision-making. Stupidity is indeed courage's "B" side, a lesson that both of them learned from Margaret at an early age, took to heart through adolescence and carried with them into adulthood.

Often, it is something marvelous and incredible that grows from those seeds we sow. And when it is, it is a sight to behold.



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