Sunday, January 8, 2017

January 8: Being a Parent, "Rogue One," Classic Saint Marty

Without going into too much detail, I have to say that, sometimes, being a parent sucks.  It makes you say and do things that are difficult and stressful.  And, afterwards, you feel horrible about yourself, even though you've done the right thing.  Plus, your kid(s) won't speak to you, treat you like a gay Muslim Syrian immigrant at a Donald Trump campaign rally.

I am trying to be circumspect.  Don't want to go into much detail.  Let's just say that it's very quiet and chilly in my house at the moment, and that cold front is emanating from my daughter's bedroom.  She has spoken about ten words to me today, and I even took her to see Rogue One, which was fantastic.

I am a Star Wars freak, and, sitting in the theater, I could sort of forget that I am about five times older than the first time I saw Luke Skywalker and Han Solo and Princess Leia on the silver screen.  Could forget that I am married, a father of two, and a semi-responsible adult.  I felt like a ten-year-old again, if just for a little while.

I love my kids, would do anything to keep them safe and happy.  I think my daughter knows that.  Somewhere, in the back of her mind, she knows that everything that I do for her comes from a place of deep, selfless love.

A couple of years ago on this day, I was thinking about love, as well . . .

January 8, 2015:  Put It Behind You, Strength of Love, Marriage

[Ives and his wife] moved downtown from Claremont Avenue some ten years before, in '84, after their apartment had been burglarized and because Annie though the change would do her husband good.  His stubborn inability to stop mourning their son, to keep his sorrow hidden from others but to let it flourish around her, had tempted Annie to leave him several times over the years.  But she loved him too much.  Again and again, she told him, "You have to put it behind you, my love," but as the years passed, nearly thirty of them, with their thousands of days and hundreds of thousands of hours, he still could not get a certain image out of his head:  his righteous and good son, stretched out on the sidewalk, eyes glazed and looking upward, suddenly aware and saddened that his physical life was ending, that image coming to Ives again and again.

Edward and Annie's marriage is tested in Mr. Ives' Christmas.  Ives simply cannot stop mourning.  For three decades, he keeps reliving the loss of his son.  Every day.  Every hour.  Ives is angry and sad and confused.  He does a good job of hiding these feelings from everybody but his wife, who bears the heavy burden of her husband's profound sorrow.  She contemplates leaving him, but she can't.  She loves him too much.

Many aspects of this novel move me.  However, the depth of love between Ives and Annie moves me the most deeply.  It's a love that has to endure great loss (the death of a child).  Yet it endures.  Because that's the power of love, full of sacrifice and struggle and hope.

Yes, I'm going to get a little sentimental in this post.  My marriage has endured a lot of hardships.  At one point, it even seemed as though it simply wasn't going to survive.  My wife was living in another town, a hundred miles distant.  I was raising our daughter by myself, with a lot of help from my family and my wife's family.  It was one of the darkest times of my life.  Some days, I would drag myself out of bed in the morning, drag myself through my work day, and then drag myself home.  It was like moving in slow motion every second.  And every second was a little painful.

But I didn't give up.  I took care of my daughter, and I tried to act with love and understanding toward my spouse (I didn't always succeed).  It wasn't easy.  But marriage isn't always easy.  It takes work and compassion and compromise.  This coming October, my wife and I will celebrate our twentieth anniversary.  Twenty years.  We have two beautiful children who know that they are loved and cherished.  We have a home.  And we have each other.  That's love.  Through the darkness and the light.  Annie Ives knows this.

Saint Marty knows it, too.

Someone who knew a great deal about love

No comments:

Post a Comment