I should be working on that book, but I’ve got to focus on my job because, let’s face it, that’s what pays the bills. But then, if I want to remain relevant and employable as a writer, I’ve got to pitch some more ideas and be ready to turn them around quickly, and of course, there are the plays I’d like to finish, none of which takes any of the load off of my wife, or addresses her questions about the future …
… or helps my son’s hip subluxation and frequent discomfort, which only serve to limit his ability to move freely, which is due to his high tone, which isn’t going away and makes lifting and maneuvering him increasingly difficult as he grows, a condition that doesn’t help the problem with the headrest on his wheelchair, because my son hasn’t found a piece of equipment he can’t push to the limit.
Now, though, it’s a fever and he’s home from school, which means one of us, his mother or I, must stay tethered to home, because he can’t care for himself, that’s our gig, no matter how old he is or gets, our gig and we’re the bottom line; we are where the buck stops; we’re the first string and the back-up plan.
But in spite of everything, he has the most shining smile — not a dim-witted smile, nor a heroic smile, but a knowing smile, his inner-awareness of a bigger picture, a big joke, THE big joke, the reason we live, toil, and breathe; the reason we laugh and cry, all of the big reason or reasons. It is a contented smile, his grasp of the universe, of the joy umbrella, a smile that you work for, that he give freely, a winning smile, in spite of his challenges, including the hip issue, the high tone, the pain, the hurdles placed in his way by cold and distant elected people in expensive suits.
And if I was any kind of father, I would have invented a solution for all of the bad stuff and leveraged all of the good stuff, devoting more time and undivided attention to his needs and my wife’s needs and my daughter’s needs, and catching up on all of that sleep I’ve lost, or misplaced.
I would have written that wealth-generating bestseller, or invested wisely, or gotten into a different line of work, or played and won the lottery, instead of sitting here stewing over the book that I should be working on and the job I need to do and the anxiety I feel over my own fading ambitions and relevance as a storyteller.
If it feels like one foot is attached to the ground and the other is moving me in circles, it’s only because I don’t have more feet to get tangled up in all of the directions my thoughts are taking me in. But that’s just a feeling, a moment’s reflection, a piece of mind, and not the three-dimensional reality.
The reality is forward. Forward, with and/or without a plan, because the plan usually changes anyway and plans often are interchangeable when your choices are limited. Forward, through the hills and around the bends, because there always are hills and bends, which we may welcome or curse in the same exhalation. Forward, to see what happens next, or to make what happens next, and to be the happening.