Holden loves kids. He loves their innocence, their lack of adult worries and cares. All he wants to do with his life is protect kids from reaching the edge of childhood and falling into the abyss. Holden realizes that adulthood isn't all it's cracked up to be. In fact, adulthood is something to dread, fear, avoid at all costs. Of course, Catcher is all about Holden's fall into this abyss of adulthood. The abyss is a place where a young person can die of leukemia, where something that unfathomable can happen.
Tonight, I'm sitting in my living room. It's a wreck. My kids were home from school today, still recovering from our weekend in the Wisconsin Dells. Tomorrow, they go back to school, and life returns to normal. My daughter will complain and whine in the morning. My son will go to school and stick crayons in his ears or try to lick some other kid on the playground.
They're normal children with normal problems. I wish life for them could remain as simple as a page of math problems to complete. Hot lunch or cold lunch. Green behavior versus red behavior. But his world is designed to become increasingly more complicated the longer you're here. I don't want my son and daughter to remain children forever, but I wish they could somehow maintain their child-like joy in normal, everyday things.
Right now, I can hear my daughter giggling in her bedroom, talking with my wife. I can't make out what they're discussing, but, every once in a while, there's a burst of laughter. Tonight, my son went to dance class, and he had a great time moving and acting silly. Adults worry way too much about looking foolish. We worry about the opinions of other adults. Job evaluations. Parent/teacher conferences. Pageviews on blogs. We use these things to measure our self worth as workers, parents, writers. We don't do anything purely for joy or happiness.
That's the attitude I'd like to save my children from.
Dear God of joy,
Yeah, it's me again. I know I'm writing late. Sorry about that. I hope I didn't wake You up. Although, it would kind of worry me if You were actually sleeping. I kind of picture You as not needing a whole lot of sleep. Like a college student during finals week, except You don't need the pizza or caffeine pills or espresso.
Anyway, I want to ask You to help my son and daughter hold on to their joy. I see it every day in them. In the way my son laughs when I read him a book that he's already heard 548 times. In the way my daughter whispers and giggles in her bed at night.
I know they will both experience sadness, disappointment, heartbreak. That's inevitable. But, in the midst (that's right, I just used the word "midst") of all that pain, let them have light. Let them stick crayons in their ears. Let them explore the playground with their tongues.
Let them always know how much I love them, how I want to give them the world. How they'll always be my babies.
Your loving child,
|Sometimes, you just gotta dance|