Fake Futures

I wanted to blog tonight but I have no idea what I’ll be blogging. You’ve been warned.

I’m listening to She and Him (A Very She And Him Christmas) and drinking a Ben Marco Malbec, which is satisfactory.  I like Malbec because it’s good, but not as sweet as Pinot Noir. It’s complicated, and momentarily bitter, and that reminds me of life.

Last night Kate invented a game which involved her hiding herself by pushing her face into the couchcushion, waiting for us to say “Where’s Katie?” and then popping out and giggling.  I use the word “hiding” loosely, as you can see.

While she was playing this game, the most extraordinary thing happened.  I asked Abby about her day, and she told me about it. Not in the uncertain language of a toddler or the imperfect recall of a preschooler. She recounted the highs and the lows, finishing with “Then NanaNancy had to leave, she needed to get Popaul from the airport.”

It was matter of fact, it was succinct and it was so very adult. I felt the weight of the future.  I’m not eager for them to grow at all, but having that conversation, and taking moments to continue playing with Katie while we spoke to each other, gave me a taste of what the future holds.  I can’t wait to know my daughters. I can’t wait to teach them what I know about knowing themselves.

This morning after breakfast, Abigail said “Daddy, I want to do the dishes!” I laughed, and acquiesced, and watched her drag a chair from the dining room table to the kitchen sink, then climb up on it and turn the water on.  I handed her bowls and plates and she cleaned them with the scrub brush.

I remember growing up, thinking (Sorry mom and dad) that my parents only had a kid to do chores. It wasn’t charitable and I knew then that it wasn’t true, but seeing the joy she had in playing at work reminded me of the bitterness the future holds. Well, it also made me laugh and smile and play with her, as we worked through the sink the way I work through my inbox at the office.

I feel like I’ve talked about the future a lot on this blog. I think about the future a lot. I think about the past a lot, too.  There’s a song Abby loves, from Tangled, which she hasn’t seen. We just youtube all the disney songs and sing them in the car. Listen, don’t judge me, she’s persistent.  In any event, I think the song is right at the beginning of the movie, and in the song, Rapunzel (Who Abby calls “Tangled”) opines, “And I’ll keep wonderin’, when will my life begin?”.

The future, and the past, are impostors. We worry over the future, we agonize over the past, and the simple truth is this: your life is only this very moment. Worry is the misuse of imagination, agonizing over the past is the inability or refusal to forgive yourself, but neither the past nor the future actually exist right now. We have histories which have shaped us, we have futures which may challenge us, but the only thing that really exists is the thing that exists right now. The children sleeping in the other room, the loved ones going to bed across town, the friends that won’t stop emailing you star trek clips on youtube.

In some ways, I fear the future. I fear what will become of the good opinion my daughters possess of me, now. Their love is so pure and innocent, and it’s bound to change. But it hasn’t changed, it isn’t tomorrow yet.

Tonight, they adore me. Tonight, they fell asleep laying on the couch with me and only pushed their faces closer when I lifted them to carry to their beds. Tonight, I am everything they know to want in a father.

I will breathe in this moment. I will breathe in this only true life, and let it suffuse me.


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