monarchs © 2012 Brooke Stevens
My kids love without conditions. They care about people and animals. Water, dirt and sand, rocks and trees. They care about many things. They have not yet been spoiled by their surroundings. They want to help others. Pick up trash. Recycle. Give.
Not only to those less fortunate but to everyone.
Sometimes, I wonder if they’re mine. They are better than me. Purer. More observant. More in tune with the place they came from than I am or will ever be. I think it’s because they’re closer to it. Younger. Not that far removed from the magic. Like an egg to a caterpillar to a chrysalis to a Monarch. A winged insect flying a drunken pattern to Mexico. Only to love, live a short while, and die.
It’s hard raising kids when you know time is not on your side. That anything can happen. That our efforts at raising them increase the chance they’ll be messed up. They’ll learn our quirks. Adopt our mannerisms. Make the same mistakes we have. Again and again.
Giving up on gods. Disbelieving ghosts. Drinking or eating or doing whatever it takes to numb the pain. Another adult doing what it takes to make ends meet instead of doing what it is they are meant to do. Instead of that which they love.
I sent pictures of my kids—all smiles and ready for the first day of school—to my parents today. I said that it was strange how they were growing so fast. And then I thought of how stupid it was to say that. I was stating the obvious. Something they have known for years.
Life is incredible and sad and happy and inspirational. It is the hardest thing a spirit will ever encounter, especially when you choose to be a good parent and continue the cycle.
I’ve said a lot of things to them over the years that didn’t make sense. That were self-centered and steeped in ignorance. But it hasn’t seemed to change how they feel about me.
My parents…they love without conditions. They give. They listen, they watch and believe. They have not given up.
Not on people, animals, dirt, sand, rocks and trees. They have never given up on me.
And so, I am here. Four minutes after ten o’clock in the evening. Hearing crickets out the window. Seeing stars vibrate in the sky. Quieted by the realization that I too am running out of time.