Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Quiet Revolution: A Portrait

Perfection lays in the understanding that there is always room for change, growth and improvement.

In our playgroup, I have been blessed to meet some truly exceptional parents. In so many ways, they have guided and shaped this journey upon which I have recently recommitted myself. So, today I want to celebrate one couple’s unique and exceptional contribution to the next generation.

There is nothing harder than being away from your child all day, five days a week for eight long and seemingly endless hours. It takes exceptional fortitude to accept that during these eight hours connections are made, developmental leaps abound, steps are taken, words are shaped and uttered. There is nothing more nerve wracking than trying to “fit into” a rhythm and routine designed by someone else. These things supposedly come naturally to men.

There is nothing harder than being at home with your child all day, every day, every hour upon endless hour. It takes exceptional sensitivity to become an almost living video recorder which communicates, documents and shares these eight hours in which magic occurs every minute. There is nothing more tedious than submitting to consistency and honoring the rhythm and routine every child requires. These things supposedly come naturally to women.

In the evenings when she comes home from work or on the weekends when our families come together, I have watched her being fully present in each and every moment she has with her children. She is not recovering from work, spacing out, getting down time or hashing over the day or week. During these same times, I do not watch him running for solace to the football broadcast or the local bar, I watch him like some great Tai Chi master swishing the family energy through the house, the park, the restaurant. He steps back, accepts, lets go, steps in and is available - fully present.

And together - as if their family is a Swiss bank account - they deposit all the extra energy for some fantastic, luxurious future. Oh, yes, they are and will be tremendously wealthy indeed.

They are everything that is awe-some about things which our society says are unnatural. Like the parthenogenic frogs in Texas or an albino deer, they inspire wonder and an acceptance of how quirky delicious the Creator can be. Because she can give her family a roof over her their head and food on their table and clothes on their backs and a trip to the coffee shop or Indian buffet on a Sunday. Because he can nurture the children, be at home (with no num num consolation prize for boo-boos or sad times) and keep the day sweet, full of wonder and delight. Because with peacefulness and joy, they both can cast gender roles into the tornado of our society and culture and laugh in the face of how Man has tried to define nature. Because they are everything natural. They personify how even though things may appear the same, they are intrinsically unique and rare - snowflakes or leaves if you will.

Their lives are a complex challenge about which only their daughter’s tender fierceness will be able to testify. Only they will be able to truly communicate the way in which each of us can define, create and embody that which is our humanity - for they will have practical experience rather than theory. And all of children are the better for it, especially my son who gets to live inside of this visionary world where every human takes care.

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