Being a parent is an unceasing attack on your vulnerabilities. I did start writing a book about the motional impacts of parenting, but it stalled. I suppose the reasons are manifold. I’m not sure I can do non-fiction. I still have a lot of parenting to do. I still have a lot to learn about parenting. I think I am a bad parent. I can’t afford to think I am a good parent. Real life. Unreal lives in those worlds of mine I’ve talked about before, where I seem marooned a lot of the time. Parenting is firefighting, no matter how old your children might be. That’s why it’s never done.
When we went to bed last night, told M that I seemed to be losing words daily, just not being able to think of vocabulary that should be within my grasp. And how thinking of a word three or four words ahead of when I’m going to use it is often suddenly a search for something forgotten by the time I get to the place where that perfect word I’ve thought of needs to be. She suggest I write it down when I think of it, but I said that would interrupt the flow. I wake this morning to realise I’ve come downstairs without the note I scribbled onto a notebook in M’s office just before I went to bed. Are the missing words holes in my brain, or just the continuous film in my head moving too quickly for me to keep up?
I clamber back and forth over the narrative of these posts, the cursor flicking from one line to the other as I add one thought or another. Or that elusive forgotten word comes back to me. Right now, the words seem like wreckage and rubble to my eyes, a depiction of fallen cities and ruined lives. There are wars everywhere. Ruin everywhere in all sense of the world. That reminds me of the words on the notebook upstairs, and it’s now almost as if I know them off by heart although I shall no doubt no paraphrase them (and I haven’t cheated and gone back upstairs to get the scribble). I was going to start today by writing what’s in italics.
Call me paranoid, but it seems to me that humankind is basically evil, that goodness is only a minor part of the soul. That goodness is only achieved through willpower, and that any kindnesses we see are due to the will of the individual to be good rather than due to any innate goodness there is in the soul. And I’m not just talking about the war in Ukraine or war in general. I’m thinking about everyday life, everyday banal cruelties, everyday complex plans to lie and cheat and deceive, to manipulate others’ lives in directions they weren’t supposed to go in. And I don’t just mean small lies, I mean elaborate deeply organised schemes laid by one individual and intended to emotionally hurt one other person. This is another thing I mentioned to M last night, and she questioned that anyone would go to such great lengths to deceive another person. Perhaps it’s my writer’s brain that makes me think it’s normal for normal people to think up intricate plots to hurt other people, people they say they love. That’s where my line of thought was last night and when I woke up. Or maybe I am just paranoid. But it would explain why some people go on to be murderous tyrants and despots.
And, just to bring me full circle, I blame the parents.
Edit – here’s the note I wrote last night. M brought it down to me while I was having breakfast. I obviously did paraphrase it, and missed out a phrase, but I got the gist of it, I think.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 19
Ren Powell3rd March 2022 at 08:30
I think the only people qualified to write parenting books are those who don’t believe they are good parents. Everyone else is deluded.
I get the struggling for words. And also the struggle against believing humans are basically evil. I bristle every single time I see a video or image of the “goodness of children” and think – geeze, seriously? You’ve never seen a kid stop on a worm and delight in the muck? That is childhood, too. Who is as cruel as a child can be to another child? Parents of two or more kids should absolutely know the truth of that! I am all into “this, too” today though. Evil and goodness. We’re so messy. Sending hugs.
Richard Pierce3rd March 2022 at 17:47
I agree with you on the parenting book front. We are messy, we are complex, we are irrational. That’s one of the biggest discussion points I have with at least 2 of the children all the time – that sometimes, often, my advice is totally incompatible with their lives and problems, because my advice always comes from my totally and utterly irrational (and deeply romantic) nature, and that this is something I can’t change (or cure) however hard I try. Sending hugs back.