Everything I Need is in Front of Me

He sends his arms high and crashes them down against his thighs over and over. He hasn’t learned the pain of bruised legs or swollen fists, making his motions more fearless. He’d start to fly in a different life; if his biology took a slightly different evolutionary path. But he’s just a plain ol human being.

He’s taught himself how to sit up and is quickly learning how much more interactive the world becomes when you are vertical. His massive blue eyes, the glaring objects of affection for all passers by. They take in the world like two gallons of water emptied onto a thirsty sponge. Pupils dilate from the flashing lights of toddler toys. His mouth drops open when he’s particularly amazed at the daily monotony we’ve spent a lifetime dulling down and drowning out.

We’ve been here for an hour. Maybe more. Maybe less. I’ve found that he’s the only way I am truly present in a given moment. I can’t watch TV and I can’t fuck around aimlessly on my phone with casual obsession. He knows when I’m looking away. He knows when my mind has left the room. He sometimes prevents me from being able to go into the basement to put dirty laundry into the washer, or straighten up the dining room. He is not needy.

He wants to share his world with me. He forces me to be selfless–in the end for my own benefit. He doesn’t care about my poor eating choices this week, or that I skipped the gym today, or that I’m not challenged in my career. His greatest ambition is to fit his entire hand into his mouth, and catch Xuni’s attention by screaming at him because he doesn’t have defined degrees of excitement. He’s always at eleven or like a two.

He cares about eventually eating, eventually pooping, and eventually sleeping.

He is my escape from the distraction the 21st century creates.

via Daily Prompt: Glaring

Sleeping With Both Eyes Open

She stares vacantly as I repeat her name. “Rae. Rae. RAE, she’s asking if you need anything else!” That one caught her attention, and my impatient disciplinary tone caught the restaurant’s attention. I feel stupid. “I swear I love my wife and we’re equals,” I mutter loud enough for some patrons to hear me. I have the same desperate frustration in my tone that I heard from my father so often growing up. It still catches me off guard.

I hear him in my own voice more often over the past five months. My patience has shriveled, my fuse has shortened. In the 5 months since becoming a parent, I’ve learned more about the psyche of my father than I had in the previous 30 years of knowing him. I’m not free from maternal influence. I become my mother when I panic about my son being too close to the edge of a bed, even if he’s in the dead center of a queen sized mattress. Every time he sniffles I think it’s pneumonia. I am on high alert and am convinced that  everything bad that could happen is happening, and happening right now.

Not that I could, or would ever want to experience it, but I still struggle seeing how I would’ve handled parenthood ten or even, five years ago. I still barely feel like I know what I am doing and I am light years ahead of where I was in my mid-twenties…(okay I was in my late twenties five years ago. Piss off.) My wife isn’t immune to it either. Remember that catatonic hot mama in paragraph one? She’s adjusting as well. Exhaustion hits her and hits her hard. I can’t remember the last time I saw her get a full night’s sleep. She has definitely sacrificed more of herself since our son arrived. She is now back to work full-time and a full-time mother. She is still waking up more often than I am at night, even if it’s to pump. She’s gracefully transitioning from pregnant woman to post-partum working mother, while recovering physically and professionally.

We’re five months into it now, folks. And now, we’re becoming the stereotypes we fought so hard against. Two full-time employed working parents, forgetting to change cat litter for a week and falling asleep at 8:00 pm. Zombie-like moans and grunting exchanges in the bathroom to brush our teeth at 5 am. We take care of each other just enough to get to tomorrow, but we are forgetting what a moment alone together feels like. Friends who’ve already gone through parenting look at us and smile because they recognize all the familiar symptoms. Their favorite part of seeing us like this is knowing that it will pass soon enough, and these motions are all part of the process.