Tuesday, April 15, 2008

First they break your body, then they break your heart

Shell-shocked by life, currently, how painful and downright difficult and unmanageable it all can be, and how poorly one seems to manage the things that matter, and also wondering how much blame is it reasonable to apportion oneself, and how much of it all is just in the luck of the draw, chance, whatever.

I'm talking about children, of course, one's offspring, how they grow and change and become people in their own right, if you like, and sometimes it is not all a bed of roses, no. It may turn out so one can't say oh yas, my son, you know, he studies and plays football and the violin, or something, sometimes some of us have to say well you know, I am going to have to turn him to professionals, because what I have been able to do is now done, for better and worse, surely there are things that could still be done, avenues as yet unexplored blah, but as it is, I - me - I cannot do it, because my sleeve (as they say in Finnish) is empty, what I - me - could do has been done, and this is where it's got us.

(I'm here reminded of the Hollywood flick of some years ago, As Good as It Gets, it was really quite a good flick, I thought, and Jack Nicholson's character says something like "Yes well life is all yachts and sandwiches for some people but we aren't those people". Wish I could remember exactly how that line went. I bet I'll go and look for it on YouTube before I know it, and then I'll miss sauna because nipping into YouTube always seems to take hours of my life. But yes. Yachts and sandwiches and studies and interests and achievements and stuff it may be, only we aren't those people.)

I wish I could remember (something else that's coming up in my mind via some associative process) what book it was in and by whom, but there was a thing I read (years ago) where the writer posed a question, a "what if" - what if life moved backwards, and we disappeared, in the end, into the mental abyss of infancy and ultimately, back into the womb, would the final separation, the final parting, the final good-bye to those we love be any less painful. I am thinking about that now, playing with it in my mind (never really known whether I thought very highly of this particular "what if", but it has stuck on the mind, at least the skeletal framework of it), in a "yes, just think, we would live backwards, we'd come together from the various dust particles and ashes and what not, to, to - what is the opposite of the verb "to age"? Enyoungen? To enyoungen and enyoungen until finally we'd disappear up our mothers' birth canals no, better not write that, someone is bound to feel quite sick reading it, and then slowly disintegrate into cells which would become particles of her body, and all told it doesn't sound much different from the disintegration and disappearance into the ground.

The magpies have been coming in ones and twos so far this spring. Fine-looking birds they are, actually, magpies, shiny and handsome and graphically stylish. I wouldn't mind having one, and then I'd know where Sorrow would be, it would be waiting for me at home.


Navas said...

Offspring...oh yes, I know all about them! Of course you are to blame if it all goes wrong. If they don't inherit their traits from their parents, then it's all down to bad parenting.

Of course you must know I don't really mean that, and the best I've ever hoped for is that I've been a "good enough" parent. "Perfection" or even "great" is not a parenting level that I've ever tried to achieve.

What I can tell you for sure, as the parent of three twenty-something offspring, is that, a) you never stop being a parent (as much as you might try!),
and b) you never stop worrying about them and trying to encourage them to make the right decisions about life (should that have been a c?). In other words, your job is never done. It's a bit like housework; just when you think you've finished, you notice a cobweb in the corner.

My offspring keep bouncing back to me. They go off to uni and you think, hurray, I've got the house to myself! Then they keep coming back. My eldest was like a yoyo for a while - but maybe she really has gone properly now. My youngest I can't get rid of, no matter how hard I try (only joking as I love having him at home, but I do wish he'd get a "proper job"!

Life moving backwards? Far too scary a proposition! I really wouldn't want to go through those traumatic adolescent years again!

Anna, you are a real poet. Your last paragraph is truly magical!

(Crikey, that was a long comment!)

Kahless said...

Hei Anna,
I am thinking of you.

Reading the Signs said...

If you had one, I'd send you another and then you'd know where Joy would be, waiting for you at home.

Luck of the draw - do not underestimate this.

And you write well in extremis, sees. Maybe out of it too, but yes, you write well. For your words strike home - the heartland, that is.

This notion of Enyoungening has touched something in me - what? That this may be something I have been doing, but sideways, as it were, enyoungening into an alternative erstwhile, which is a kind of excarnating.

Blessings on your house


Anna MR said...

Hei Navas. Oh oh. You are making me blush violently with your overly-complimentary words towards the end there. Of course it is total nonsense and I am no such thing but thank you all the same, laced with furious blushings, as I said.

But ha. Welcome to the Land of Long Comments, because you see, I am (in)famous here and there for leaving comments which are as long as my arm (literally, not figuratively) and so am pleased to receive a long(ish) one from you, and you need never worry about being overlong around here. I like it when people come over and talk. I find that's what this thing is all about, for me - meeting up, talking, getting to know people glimpse by glimpse.

And children, well. Knowing, as I do, a Certain Singer, I can vouch for the successful parenting of some bloggers more than others (whose offspring are unknown to me), you catch my drift? But yes. I am coming to the realisation which you hint at - that the worry cetra only gets worse with time and them growing, and that this trend is something that will keep on keeping on till I (finally) die (and can have myself some peace). Oh joy. They never really tell you that beforehand when you still have a choice in the matter as to whether to have them at all or not, or if they do, they somehow fail to do so convincingly.

A dog, by contrast, is a very rewarding thing. Just saying. Yes.

Alright, okay, I'm waffling now. Thank you for visiting and your kind words and everything, Navas. (And no, I would die of horror if I woke up one morning to find myself fourteen again or something.)

Anna MR said...

Kahless - hei and thank you. Appreciated.

Anna was close, but no cigar said...

Ah, sweet sees. I will say this, both in and out of extremis (apart from humbly thank-you curtseying with a face the colour of fire-engines) - "excarnating as a sideways enyoungening into an alternative erstwhile" is something that not many folks could have thought of saying, let alone be capable of doing. You are one in a million, siskin.

(Because I know you like these things, and because I like you, I've left you Jack's quote as it should be, under my name. Blessings to you, and noodle salad too.)


Reading the Signs said...

Yes, for some people that's their story: good times - noodle salad. But for me, dear Cigarless of the Frozen North, it is not the case. No, because firstly I am trying to be on a low carb diet at present, feels better that way (and, just between you and me, the delectable personage of Signs could do with losing a few pounds); and secondly I would never take such a thing with me on a picnic. It has to be chicken drumsticks and crudites (the vegetable kind) or a french baguette stuffed with cheese or ham - or chocolate. Oh Chocolate. But I gratefully accept the noodle salad given by you - indeed it is the only noodle salad I am likely to accept. Please tell me to shut up. That you have the face of a fire-engine is good. You are, if I'm not mistaken quite partial to a bit of shame-tolerance workout, methinks. Well this will do nicely, if there is such a thing as feeling shame because YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE WRITTEN SOMETHING BEAUTIFULLY. Har, that should do the trick.

Did you know an interesting fact about blushing, btw? Well the psychoanalytic society of somewhere or other claim that it is closely related to what happens to the male member when it is, you know, aroused. Now you may say this is a load of codswallop, my dear, and you'd be entitled.

Thank you for making my extreme frailty in the face of life and the realities thereof seem like a kind of talent. I will keep exercising it in the hope of finding myself one day reborn.

As for the children, ours: one carries them in the heart, and this does give them more than we can measure or know. I believe this, and sometimes it is all we can do.

nmj said...

Honey, I don't know much about offspring - only nephews (and mine are too young to be causing pain yet), and I am sorry for your pain, I am, really - but I *do* know about magpies. I LOVE your description.

"Fine-looking birds they are, actually, magpies, shiny and handsome and graphically stylish".

Quite lovely.

I think they are sleekit (Scotish for sly) even if graphically stylish. I saw one such shiny brat today, and I was cursing him for being alone, so I will send him to you and you can have two for JOY, or you can send me one and vice versa, neither of us should have one for sorrow.

And I don't recall the sandwiches quote, but I love it too, and I did enjoy that movie. x

Sometimes a fire engine is just a fire engine said...

Ahem. Hello sees, and thank you. No, I did not know this about blushing, and it will of course now plague my mind whenever I do ("oh my GOD, and now I'm having a facial erection too, how embarrassing"). I'm obviously pleased if you liked my words. I find it a mite tricky currently to not go down the vortex way where whatever I say/do (and don't) branch out in my mind into myriads of squirm-horror inducingnesses. It is interesting I won't shut up now, though, and in particular that I won't shut up about it happening. This is either a sign of a healing process, or of a drastic turn for the worse. We (royal) shall wait and see.

Frailty in the face of life and the realities thereof is something I find not unattractive in people. It would probably be more healthy if we were all really robust, but some delicate beauty of the pain of experiencing would surely be lost in the process.

I am talking bollocks, again, it seems. It happens, particularly when I'm trying to say something. Offspring, yes - we can't help but carry them in our hearts, but by God does it wear one out (not to mention the feelings of not being big enough for the task, cetra). And as for noodle salad (actual, not the good times stuff) - it sounds strange. I like noodles, and in particular I sometimes have strong secret desires for the cheapo naffo variety that come complete with wee sachets of spices and oils and things. I think they probably put crack cocaine in the spice mixtures. But noodle salad...I'd have to research that one really.

(I wanted to link to a cigar thing for you, but there's a surprising amount of kink out there and I believe you're in the other camp now with the ciggies, so this will mayhap interest you too.)

Onwards and onwards, sweet sees. Be seeing you, hoping you are well this Sunday. Real life awaits me soon, with dishes and cleaning and things. And offspring.

Mwahs in the meantime, though.

Anna MR said...

Hei honey Ms Legsy Cyberfriend - I seem to recall your wee nephew was causing a lot of pain with his ill health not so long ago, so I think you do know a fair amount - it's just I'm more given to dramatic self-indulgent wailing than most people (self-flagellation rules okay). Glad you dug the magpie thing, though - I was wondering whether what I said was a bit poo-literary, although it really was a thought that came to me when I thought of magpies and the ones (in ones) I'd seen this spring.

I'm sending you my singleton, bearing a basket of pineapples. And hey, you won't remember the sandwich quote because it was so far removed from What Jack Actually Said. What he says is closer to "A lot of people have great stories, pretty stories, stories with boats and friends and noodle salad. It's just that no-one in this car has those. But that's what their story is for a lot of people - good times, noodle salad." If you want the real thing, I linked to it for Signs in my reply, under the name "Anna is close but no cigar"...

There was something nice about that film, wasn't there.

Hope you are well, sweetheart. Thinking about you and your wee auntie. It's sad beyond words with her.