Parenting is just a bunch of letting go

Kid Henry
Kid Henry

Tonight Henry fell asleep in my arms, nursing before bed in the rocking chair in his bedroom. There’s nothing unusual about that. It happens most every night. But tonight.

Tonight I looked down at my sleeping baby in my arms and realized how big he was. His body’s bigger than my torso, now. His baby hands are kid hands. His baby butt’s a kid butt. Kid legs. Kid face. He’s not my little newborn Henry Austin-Avon any more. He’s crossing the baby line into kidville.

I’ve been so busy counting milestones, looking into the future. Excited that he’s sitting up. Excited that he can play on his own. Excited that he can hold my hands, stand up and walk across a room. Excited that he can put a carrot in his own mouth and eat it. That’s a good thing, probably.

Because the sadness, pain and loss in looking backward is almost unbearable.

Never again will I have to hold his floppy head to my breast to teach him to nurse. Never again will I cup his tiny little body close to mine to calm him, hoping he remembers the sound of my heartbeat. Never again will I have a six-month-old Henry. Or a five-month-old, four-month-old, three-month-old, two-month-old, one-month-old, three-weeks-old, two-days-old, newborn baby Henry.

Feeding himself.
Feeding himself.

The thought’s occurred to me before that it’s okay that time’s passing, because I want to have another baby. That I’ll be able to do it again; to hold my own little newborn baby, to be the only one to calm them down, to be so close.

But I realized tonight that it won’t be the same. I’ll have a two- or three-year-old son running around as a distraction. I’ll be worn out. And it won’t be Henry. It won’t be the first time; like watching a movie the second time or reading a book the second time. The surprises don’t hit you the same way.

I worry that I’ve missed it. I was on my phone, or talking to someone, and I missed it. Henry will never be seven months, two weeks and five days old again. That was just for today, and I was working, Facebooking, sending a press release, designing a postcard, chatting, hanging laundry, driving, in a meeting. I missed it. I missed him today.

Sleeping on Daddy.
Sleeping on Daddy.

Every day is letting go. Every day he is further from me. No longer a part of me. When he doesn’t want to breastfeed any more, our bond will just be a token. I won’t need a babysitter to bring him to me every two hours. We could go our lifetimes apart and he would probably be okay. Someone else can comfort him, after that’s gone.

It breaks my heart. Seriously makes me well up with tears to think about.

From birth, parenting is just a bunch of letting go. First he’s no longer a part of me. Then as he can hold his own head up, feed himself, eat food other than my milk, no longer needs to be carried around. Parents of teenagers, I don’t envy you.

I’m starting to realize why everyone glows at you when you’re pregnant or carrying a newborn.

It’s the best. It’s all ahead of you.

A fleeting moment.
A fleeting moment.

It’s the very very best. The closest. The part where your child needs you the most. The road into the unknown stretches out ahead, all sunshine and blank canvas.

My baby is growing up. He’s still so new, but no longer a newborn. This is so painful. I miss my newborn Henry so badly. It hurts, makes my chest cave in, to think that I will never hold my newborn Henry again.

He doesn’t exist.

My newborn Henry doesn’t exist any more.

I can’t think of anything more awful than that. I mourn for my son. He’s gone; the little curled frog legs, the long wispy brown hair, the twitchy breathing and high-pitched sleep squeaks. I wish I took more video. But it’s just not the same.

I console myself knowing that newborn Henry has grown into infant Henry, and infant Henry is the most beautiful, bright, happy, funny boy in the history of children. He’s amazing. He’s perfect.┬áHe’s a shining star, radiating joy and love.

And when he doesn’t exist any more, I’ll have toddler Henry to keep me busy. And then little boy Henry, and older boy Henry, preteen Henry, teen Henry, young adult Henry, adult Henry and beyond — all wonderful people I look forward to meeting.

… If I can just try to let go of his past selves.

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We are so far away from where we're supposed to be

I had something like a panic attack in the grocery store just now.

Let me back up. I went to the Glens Falls Farmer’s Market on Saturday for, embarrassingly, the first time in a long while.

My problem is that I can’t get my act together early enough on a Saturday, so most of the time I miss it. From my gut, honestly and truly, I feel the Farmer’s Market is the place we should all do our shopping. But I rarely make it.

Henry and I picked out his first foods, straight from the person who grew them. Butternut squash and sweet potato. I saw so many people I knew there. I had the feeling in the room that it was a really wonderful thing for Glens Falls and it made me glad that it exists here, and that I am a part of it (having done some design for the Farmer’s Market Association).

But also horribly embarrassed for not going regularly.

Then I read this article about spending $20 at farmer’s markets every week. Good thought. Good plan. A better way to think about it. Easier to bite off than all-or-nothing thinking about buying local or organic. Less guilt, more action.

So then today we went to Toys R Us to pick up a purple shirt for Henry for Marchival, the holiday we made up. And then we went to the dollar store for crepe paper. And the dollar store smelled like poison; like PVC gases and plastic. And to Jo-Ann’s for pins for Marchival prizes we’re making. And then to Price Chopper.

And that’s where it hit me, as it sometimes does when I’m in a big box store in Queensbury, how wrong it all feels.

So I’ll freely admit that that I love shopping – it’s something my mom loves and she passed it to me. I’ll go down every aisle and I love finding a deal. I like to browse.

I’ll also admit that I’m not a morning person and would make a shoddy farmer. And that I have a low tolerance for squicky things or scary things and honestly the outdoors kind of freaks me out when we go camping.

But when I see a documentary comparing how babies are raised in Africa versus how they are here, or watching shows about the planet, or when I’d go spend time in the woods by myself as a kid, or reading books about people who live outside, or when I talked to the rastafarian who gave a mini-class on our Jamaican vacation, I get this feeling of how things are supposed to be.

Somewhere in Africa

And it’s jarring to me how far away we are.

Checkout lines bring the point home, especially.

A few weeks ago, Cory and I were in a Babies R Us in Albany, standing in line to buy something I can’t even remember. We both got the feeling. It’s claustrophobic. Cold. Frightening. Like if you’ve ever been in a hospital bed alone.

The music was piped in, this crappy electronic pop echoing. Fluorescent lights overhead cast a numbingly artificial glow. Ahead of us, a mother was buying her kid some plastic crap he was excited about. The teenaged checkout clerk looked sick, and miserable to be there. Beep. Beep. Beep. Nobody needs this shit. A few feet away, three aisles radiated pink. Because if you have a vagina, you’re supposed to buy pink plastic garbage.

Cory and I looked at each other and I knew we were both having that same itch that got worse with every second that passed in the line. It passed when we left the store, but that’s what happened to me today in Price Chopper.

Every single thing I picked up was something I could easily talk myself out of.

Bananas weren’t grown here. How long were they on a ship and then a truck to get here? How many fossil fuels were burned just in their transport? Hummus, I could make myself. I have chickpeas at home, even. But I don’t have time because the chickpeas need to be soaked and then boiled. They come in a plastic tub. Who knows what added ingredients there are. Cereal, who even knows what cereal is? They sell it to us as kids. It’s mashed up nothing with a bunch of vitamins added, shaped into little O’s and baked and put in plastic bags and THEN in a cardboard box. Where’s the farm that cereal comes from?

Then we get into the convenience foods. I’m often working through lunch and don’t have much time to spare. It’s easy to throw an organic Amy’s pot pie in the microwave. At least when I have those in the freezer I actually eat lunch. But they’re not ultra cheap. And they come in packaging, of course. And you microwave them, and who knows about microwaves. Other days I look through the cupboards and end up with crummy bagged pretzel twists for lunch because I don’t have time.

Plastic is everywhere.

Everything in the grocery store is covered in styrofoam and plastic. EVERYTHING! It’s covered in styrofoam, plastic, pesticides, MORE plastic, and also plastic and plastic and plastic. We buy it and we throw it away. And it never rots.

We make it and it never rots! NEVER! There’s plastic everywhere. That slapped me in the face and made me want to buy nothing. The same way, one day in high school, I realized in the grocery store’s meat aisle that I WAS SURROUNDED BY PLASTIC-COVERED BODY PARTS. Shudder. It’s horror movie stuff, if you let your mind realize the truth for a second.

I looked down at my baby and had that boxed-in feeling I had when we went to Babies R Us and were standing in the line. Henry looked back up at me. And even the carseat/stroller, his cute guitar pajamas, it all felt so wrong. We should be sitting on a tree stump somewhere warm, with him swaddled in cotton or just completely naked, breathing in the fresh air. Not bundled up in some plastic contraption, a zipper and flame retardants and seatbelt straps preventing him from playing with his toes.

What am I going to tell him about the way we live?

Ugh. The worst.

We walked by the fish section. What drove it all home was the lobster tank. Those lobsters belong in the ocean. There is no truly justifiable reason to have them crammed together in a dirty little tank in upstate New York. Our one job is to take care of the animals and the planet. We are not doing our job. We are just being absolutely horrible, instead. We’ve taken our gifts and destroyed everything we can.

I’m guilty, too. How do I tell Henry that I know this, but I still choose to live this way?

I know I sound like a crazy. And I am sure that I’m glamorizing life in an African tribe. I don’t want to die before I’m 35, I enjoy the perks of modern medicine and modern technology. I know I have it easy and I should really keep my mouth shut because it’s a convenient first world problem to complain about. I’m lucky.

But I really feel like it’s crazy to live the way we do, in our boxes (houses) eating our pellets (food, cereal, etc.) when we have such big brains and so much knowledge. We trade our time (work) for happiness. We work harder at our jobs to earn vacation time, and we work harder at our jobs to earn enough money to do stuff on our vacations. We’re all miserable, really. We all know there’s something wrong.

But we keep distracted.

I’ll say it: I’m addicted to my iPhone, my email, Facebook, my computer. Like, really badly. I don’t make time to breathe, to meditate, to eat, to live, to maintain eye contact with my own son.

This is beautiful. And so real.

It’s wrong and I know it’s wrong. It’s hard to change.

I don’t know how to fix things. I mean, for a while now I’ve tried to shop greener. But I realize now that the solution isn’t to shop greener, it’s to stop shopping. Stop buying crap you don’t need. Stop working so hard because you don’t need that shit that you think you do.

Time with family and time with nature and time with yourself – real time, offline time – is what’s important.

It’s hard to change, though. It’s really hard to change.

What do you think? How do you cope with the mind-bogglingness of our lifestyle and how it affects the planet and the other creatures on it?

Chasing the train

Parenting feels like a train I just can’t catch. The familiar scene where the hero races up on his horse and stre-e-e-etches out for the railing on the caboose to grab hold and triumphantly board the train. It’s going so fast, cacti whooshing by in the background scenery, hearts pounding, blood rushing, the horse’s hooves pounding as its mane whips in the wind and its muscles strain to go faster, then even faster – but that moment of triumph and relief where you hop on and can breathe for a split-second before saving the day just never comes for me.

Chasing the train

That second I think I’m finally up to speed and am reaching for the train, it speeds up again and eludes my outstretched fingers, again and again. Times I try to swerve and head it off at the pass, it takes a different direction, or just races by before I can grab hold. It’s impossible to stay ahead of, and impossible to catch. I just keep running.

But, you know… I get tired.

Henry will be six months old on Friday.

Suddenly he can sit up on his own, kind of. We should probably start to give him foods to try. He can wriggle around and end up feet away from where you put him down. He reaches for things he wants and grunts and pouts if he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t want to cuddle as often as he wants to stand. He picks things up off the floor. I haven’t seen it for sure yet myself, but babysitters swear he’s mimicking their sounds and facial expressions. He’s getting a tooth. He’s just so much more alert.

I feel like I missed something. Maybe I had my nose glued to my iPhone or sometime during my workday while he was with a sitter, he grew right up. It feels like I’ve missed weeks of development. Months, even. He’s not the same baby I knew.

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Sitting up already

I mean, he is. He smiles when he catches your eye. He loves getting his neck gobbled or legs nibbled (I’ve decided to call it “monstering”). He holds onto my necklaces or my ponytail. He tickles my side while he’s nursing. But there’s something new every day. I was shocked when I went to carefully prop him up in a sitting position on Saturday and he held it for so much longer than I expected. When did he learn that? Where was I? Have I been ignoring him?

He’s growing and learning so quickly. He’s a new baby every day. Before I know it, he’ll be a boy and not a baby. And then a man and not a boy. The train’s going faster and faster and faster. I’m never gonna catch this thing.

While I thought I was doing a good job of cherishing the moment, instead it passed me by. He’s so big already. Not a floppy baby any more. I’m not ready for this.

Not that it matters. The train rushes on.

And here we go. I thought he was down for a nap, but he’s up and noisy. Still haven’t caught my breath.

…But I’ve gotta keep running.

Veganism, the Apocalypse and the Meaning of Life

I had read about how background reading aloud is good for a child’s developing brain in the opposite way that background TV is bad for him, so I picked a wordy book off the shelf to read to Henry today while he played on the floor with Daddy: Catherine Marshall’s Story Bible.

Catherine Marshall’s Story Bible

I had this book as a kid, and a lot of my Bible knowledge stems from it. Of course, it’s way simplified and not all the stories are there, but it has a good synopsis of the main points, and illustrations by kids.

My religious stance is that I made up my own religion, Katethysianism, which is my own plate from the ideological buffet. I like to describe the tenets of Kathethysianism as, “Whatever I feel like believing in at the time.” It’s a mix of this story bible, new-age spirituality, and other things I’ve picked up from books like Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael and the like.

I think the Bible is just fine and dandy, but it needs to be interpreted – run through the translator – and not taken literally. I’m not so into organized religion because I like that I have my own pick-and-choose interpretation that doesn’t quite fit in with the package deal, but sometimes I do like to go to church for the familiar and holy-feeling routine of it, and as a place to remember about your spirituality. The same way sometimes I like to go for a hike, or to sit in a tree. I want to pass that on to Henry; that beliefs don’t have to be a package deal, and that he can opt to compile his own plate from the buffet.

So anyway, I’m reading this story and right in the first few pages there it is: The meaning of life.

Wowza! It ain’t some big secret, folks. I’ll tell you what it is.

The Story Bible says: “Now another kind of creature was needed to enjoy all this beauty and to take care of it.” A little later it also says, “God was making Man so wondrously that he would be able to understand Who had made the animals and the amazing world around him. Understanding that, Man could then know and enjoy his God… Thus God would never again be lonely.”

That’s our job, simple as that. The meaning of life. (Of our lives as people, that is.) To enjoy the world, to take care of it, and to appreciate the mysterious ways it came into existence, and be glad it did happen.

After reading that, a sad thought occurred to me: We are NOT doing our job.

We are not taking care of nature and the world’s animals. We are destroying their natural habitats, mass murdering the world’s amazing creatures for food, clothing and other unnecessary reasons, dumping our trash all over the place, torturing via animal testing and on and on.

And we don’t appreciate it, either.

We whine, complain, are generally mopey and sad. It’s rare that we just look at a sunset or a tiger or the inside of a starfruit and muse on how incredible and unlikely it is that any of it exists, much less how incredible and unlikely it is that we would actually be aware of the incredibility and unlikeliness of it all.

IMG_7655Then, reading the story of Noah, it occurred to me that 2013 isn’t the first time we didn’t do our job.

Climate change is our own self-imposed apocalypse.

Landfill in Poland, from Wikipedia

We screw up and we wipe ourselves out, except for a few who catch on early and escape it. Call it God’s wrath or call it a bed we made and need to lie in, it’s headed this way and it’s dang scary.

I can’t figure out the translation of the rainbow, though, because in the Bible, God says he’ll never do that to us again. And the whole Jesus thing was supposed to be about forgiveness. I suppose we will get there later, though – right now I’m just up to Noah.

Anyway, I do think there are lessons to be learned from reading the Bible. Not literal lessons about avoiding women on their periods and hating on gays, but lessons about being nice to each other and caring for animals and the environment.

Part of me wants to toss the book aside and get back to Facebooking on my iPhone, watching videos of cats doing cute things and buying mozzarella sticks to eat during the super bowl… and part of me wants to sell the house, donate the money to charity and live in the African outback in a hut, away from plastics and factory farms, living a vegan lifestyle and preaching my own interpretation of the end times and how we should all just get along.

I guess I’ll have to find an acceptable compromise.

But I want to do my job, and to help others — especially Henry — to do theirs.

I think we’d all be happier.

Bringing the sunshine to Florida

Yesterday we had Henry’s Gram and Grampa over for dinner, along with Uncle Andrew and Aunt Mindy and Great-Aunt Sandy. Gram and Grampa are heading to Florida for two months. I kept so busy with dinner and visiting that the bitterness of the occasion didn’t set in until it was time to say good-bye. It was hard, and caught me off-guard.

The good-bye kiss
The good-bye kiss

I’d known they were going, of course. Maybe I doubted that they actually would pack up and hit the road, knowing how attached they are to Henry (and he to them, of course).

They planned to leave on Tuesday, in the wee hours of the morning, and then because of weather that changed to early Monday morning, which changed to midnight on Sunday, which changed to 9 p.m. on Sunday. They actually left at 7 p.m. on Sunday night to avoid the freezing rain and anxiety of waiting. Maybe part of the surprising unprepared feeling I had last night was because I thought I had more time with them; and that Henry had more time with them.

They’ve seen him almost every day since he was born. The longest span of time they’ve gone without snuggling him, calling him Boober/Bizbee/Squisby/Doobie, waving toys at him, wrapping him in blankets… is maybe three days. Four, tops. They are natural-born grandparents.

Countless times, Cory and I have run over there to drop Henry off because we had to do something or go somewhere without him, or had forgotten that our busy lives now require foresight enough to line up childcare. Countless times they’ve watched Henry for an extra ten minutes, half hour, two hours, full day, when I thought I could get something done for work in a quick moment but it drew out longer than expected or I found myself unable to work around Henry. Always graciously taking on more Henry time than they signed on for. As they left, I felt sad that Henry didn’t know they were going. I wish I could explain what’s going on and why his routine will be changing. Cory said it made him feel homesick, knowing they aren’t just next door. It’s comforting to have them there, especially when my own parents are an hour and a half away.

Yesterday's dinner outfit
Yesterday’s dinner outfit

So it was hard to say good-bye yesterday.

The training wheels are off. We are parents now, like other parents out there. We have to think ahead and plan our daycare options out, take Henry with us when we go places, look to our friends for company and conversation. We’ll still video chat with them, and visit their house with Henry, but it will be different.They deserve this vacation, and it’s good for all of us to take a break and reevaluate what’s really fair to dump on them. They are more than willing to be there for us, but sometimes I don’t feel like I’m balanced when I lean on them so hard.

I am already missing them a lot, but I look forward to the challenge of a more independent motherhood.

Here goes. Let’s see how we do flying solo.

Down on Skid Row

As I read yet another post on Facebook about abortion laws, the thought occurs to me again. I try to enjoy the moment. Live in right now, where everything is lovely, people he knows are bursting with love for him and the only pain he feels is from gas bubbles. But with every news story, there’s that thought.

How do I tell my son about war? About hunger? Rape? How do I tell him about school shootings, about horrible deaths, about people forced to do unspeakable things? And never mind that… How do I tell him about heartbreak, and bullies, and disappointment? What about climate change, landfills and extinct species?

I don’t want to. Myself, at the ripe age of 30 – Even I don’t want to know about it. I stick my head in the sand more often than not. I avoid the news, most of the time. I don’t like to acknowledge that these things exist.

My theory is that if I allow myself to truly realize how awful things are, I’ll probably sink into a depression I’d never get out of, crawling into bed and never getting up ever again. So I just refocus. I narrow my scope and look at the things that I can change on my own. I try to live greener and strive toward a cruelty-free and ethical lifestyle. I try to be active in my community, to feel connected and to create and encourage positivism. With Advokate, I feel like I’m helping the little guy by facilitating success for small business. It’s what I can do, and it makes me able to deal with living in a world alongside the bad stuff.

Feed me, Seymour…

I remember being very young, under the age of five because my memory of this contemplation takes place in the living room of my old house – and thinking, no. Awful sicknesses and death can’t happen. It can’t exist. It’s not real. Monsters under the bed aren’t real… so this can’t be, either. My parents wouldn’t let that happen. God wouldn’t let that happen.

Not to good people.

I have never seen the end of Little Shop of Horrors because I am so upset by the fact that the plant eats an innocent person. Another memory from before I was five, and I’ve tried to watch the movie several times since, each with the same refusal to finish it after that point.

I don’t like thinking that bad things happen for no good reason.

And I don’t know how to tell my son that.

Luckily, I don’t have to, for now. I can just look in his eyes and enjoy his innocence. And take some solace in knowing that I will raise him to be one of the good guys.

Climbing through the branches of the family tree

this is for the grandmother who walked a thousand miles on broken glass
to find that single patch of grass to plant a family tree
where the fruit would grow to laugh
– Andrea Gibson, Say Yes

This weekend I am going to Alfred, New York, with my grandfather Poppy. Mimi and probably my Dad are also coming to help with the driving. Poppy’s going to show me the Homestead; a house built by his great (great?) grandfather Nathaniel Austin and where he spent his summers as a boy. It’s still in the family, but in another branch. We’ll meet cousin Eloise, visit some family graves and see Poppy’s old school.

A few of my family members have expressed their disinterest in all this genealogy stuff. I thought I’d write about why I care.

Mom and Dad uncovering their 25-year-old love letter written in cement at the West Bridgewater house
Mom and Dad uncovering their 25-year-old love letter written in cement at the West Bridgewater house

To start at the beginning, I’ll tell you that I wrote my name on the inside of my closet doors at my parents’ house when I was a kid. It didn’t occur to me at the time that closet doors can be replaced. I didn’t want whoever lived in the house after me to never know that I existed and that I had lived there. It was something I did very young, and wished I did in our old house before we moved when I was five. My parents wrote their names on a cement block out in the backyard of that old house, though, and maybe I thought that was enough. We went and uncovered it from beneath overgrown bushes before they finally sold it in 2008.

“But what does that mean–‘ephemeral’?” repeated the little prince, who never in his life had let go of a question, once he had asked it.
“It means, ‘which is in danger of speedy disappearance.'”
“Is my flower in danger of speedy disappearance?”
“Certainly it is.”
“My flower is ephemeral,” the little prince said to himself, “and she has only four thorns to defend herself against the world. And I have left her on my planet, all alone!”
– Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I remember thinking as an elementary school-age kid I wanted to carve my name into rocks; to send time capsules out into space; to do something extremely horrible or extremely great to go down in history books.

Le Petit Prince and his flower
Le Petit Prince and his flower

My point is that I was never okay with the fact that life is ephemeral and that I might be forgotten about in a few generations’ time. In high school I bought aephemera.netand still own it (and the username “aephemera” in a million different places) to this day, more than 10 years later.

It’s always been something that bothers me. So it has been a long time that I’ve been aware that life is fleeting.

Certainly your friends and family will remember you after you’re gone. But likely only for a generation or maybe two or three if you’re lucky. Then you might just be a photo that’s found somewhere; maybe a recipe or a jumbled version of a funny story – a name on a genealogy project at your great-grandchild’s elementary school, and nothing more. Your whole life, just reduced to that. What I actually remember about my great-grandparents or even my grandparents’ childhood is limited and blurry. When I try to retell the stories, they swim together in my brain and it comes out like “My grandfather’s parents owned some kind of… well, a… It wasn’t like an inn, but it was a place where people stayed. I think the people who stayed there were ex-alcoholics and it had something to do with their religion why they were there. And his dad was really into the garden and helping these people out.” I’ve got crummy recall. This was a person’s whole life, and that’s all that’s left to pass to future generations!?

It doesn’t sit well with me.

So I’ve been trying to iron it out and nail it down and to get my parents and grandparents and Cory’s parents to write this all down so it’s not completely fudgy for my kids and great-grandkids and great-great-grandkids and so on. So it’s not just completely lost or garbled.

Excerpt from Lois Wyse's "Funny, You Don't Look Like A Grandmother"
Excerpt from Lois Wyse's "Funny, You Don't Look Like A Grandmother"

There are generations upon generations of my ancestors that lived their lives so that they could offer something better to their children, as in the Andrea Gibson poem I quoted at the top of this post. I want to honor them with more than just that better life for myself. I want to pass along some recognition of them. Not only their legacy and sacrifices made flesh, but their story as well. Not because I’m so into old stories, necessarily. But because it’s my duty if I want my children and my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren to make sure I’m not forgotten, either. There’s more to pass along than just my own generation’s story.

This is bigger than me, too. There is so much to be learned about the past (and not just the boring stuff you cram in your brain in high school) that has already been done, studied and recorded. I think that my generation and the future generations sometimes reinvent the wheel. I realize that there’s some of that to be done anyway; that we need to learn from our own experiences. But how much further along would we be if our children and grandchildren could instantly upload our entire lives of learning into their brains and start from that launching pad into a whole new lifetime of learning rather than starting from square one?

Internet meme that's been bouncing around
Internet meme that's been bouncing around

Of course, when my mom tried to show me her poems from the tough times she went through in her teens and early twenties I wanted nothing to do with it, saying I’m sorry she had a rough go of it but it was nothing like my own personal misery. Which is and isn’t true. So why am I saving mine for my children? I guess I have hopes that my kids will somehow realize that we have gone through all this before, and hopefully so they won’t have to. That they can take the things that their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on have already gone through and avoid that path on their way to even more glorious things.

And I know that the success I have is a result of my ancestors caring about their offspring and the future generations. Why else did they come to America, in some cases alone and young and at great risks with only $15 in their pocket? Why else did they work so hard at their many jobs? Why else did they raise families? Why do I work hard at my jobs? Why do I care about the future and try to make the world a better place?

I can only think that it was to offer their children and future generations a better life than they had. I owe them for that. I can at the very least learn about who they were as a thanks for the upper-middle-class upbringing and great childhood I had, and try to pass that to my children too. Nobody else is going to do it.