Here, near the home of our then growing family, I am just yards away from that house we all loved. 5 children arrived to join us there, one was already born when we moved in. Today’s birthday boy was born in the evening and his brothers were lodged in the house where I now sit musing on time passing. A fourth boy!!! I had given up thinking of girls and shelved the large pink sleeping bag I had knitted and kitted out with a flowery lining for No 3 boy. When Grandpa (I didn’t call him that then!) walked round in the morning to collect the 3 to come and meet no 4, a lady whose house looked out at the back of ours, threw up her window and shouted out to him “What’s she had then?” “A boy” said Grandpa, “What a shame!” she said and banged down her window. When a girl finally did join us a few years on, she was overjoyed and presented me with pink carnations.
I see that this birthday boy now 37 and living in a busy city has been given a scooter and it looks terrific. When that boy was about 3, his brothers and his mother (me) took him to a large toy shop where he sat on a battery driven train which you turned on and it went forwards carrying him round the shop to his great joy. We bought it! Home it came, was wrapped up and on Christmas Day out it came. That boy, now 37, then 3 sat on it, put it into reverse and pushed it forwards. It broke and that was that. We are all hoping that the new and shiny scooter which is now sitting in his house doesn’t get the same treatment!
What is so interesting from the perspective of years passing is how convinced by nature you are and indeed how convinced you have to be to do the job, that the baby is yours! If you didn’t take on that role fully, how would you manage the childcare. What each child comes with tucked within itself is a measure of love that will mean you will wash it and feed it and snuggle it and take it out and teach it to swim and ride a bicycle and play tennis or play whatever is your particular sport. You are programmed to give that child the very best you can find, the best friends, the best food and you will find it the best school you can to give it the best education according to your view of what that child will turn out to be. You may want it to be an academic and if it has the capability, you may succeed; you may want it to be a lawyer or a doctor or a businessman or woman and you may or may not be right; above all you will aim to pass on the values you treasure and if being smart is one of the values you will send it to a smart making school. You may want it to be politically aware in which case you will also choose your school with that in mind or you may want to give it the chance to think deeply about who it is and what its relationship with the world will be. You may want more than anything to equip it to deal with all that life will bring to its feet with a degree of equanimity. You will do your best anyway as that birthday boy and his brothers and sisters will do according to their own lights for their own children. Once you have done your best, it is best to then step to the side and watch what happens and establish a degree of equanimity yourself as your once very own babies grow up, leave home, get married, have children, move to other countries and leave you and Grandpa to make your own next steps together. I can say for certain that the latter bit of life is where you really have to discover who you and he really are. It is the culmination of a great adventure and well worth the effort it may seem to be. At this point he really is yours and you are his for the purposes of the adventure, nature has planted enough love to see you through and you sometimes have to tap into it.
This post was originally posted on the You can meditate too blog.