Saturday, May 9, 2009
Pablo loves Michael's house. Pablo loves the desert. Pablo loves being a kid. Pablo's smiles are bigger here, his laughs deeper. I'll tell you another thing: P really loves being a kid 100 miles from CHLA. I haven't asked him, but I'd bet he is highly aware there's no hospital for kids out here. No place for him to get whisked off to in the middle of the night, or in the middle of his fave TV show. No monolithic building filled with sadness and seriousness—the two main ingredients in the Weekend Ruiners' Guide. Bottom line: Pablo just loves his life today. His love and freedom and smiles and joy at the simplest things are contagious. In many of Pablo's mind-losing moments of joy this weekend, Jo Ann and I have looked at one another and smiled deep smiles at one another. Without a word, we both know that the moment happening right in front of us is the only moment in the world that matters.
All we have is this moment. That's the truth for everyone, everywhere. For us, it's the only item on the menu. We don't have the option to push off the tough stuff for later...for next month...until someone else does something to make us feel OK...until some unattainable X factor coincides with our wishes. We do not get a break from the questions that stand sternly in front of us. We do not get a break from the search for answers. We do not dare take a break from the search for focus and serenity within ourselves. This is not a time to risk losing rhythm. Recovery time is wasted time. And we do not have any time to waste. I mean, all we wish for is time in excess, in abundance, in infinity. That is all we pray for. But we do not touch that central question with our hearts or our minds. We are in the place that poets and lyricists try to describe in their best works. We are in the place that all artists try to transport people to. It's a bit like Mars. At least I can answer Bowie's great question: Yes, there is life on Mars. At least enough people to read a blog about a family's journey from Silverlake to the captivating home of Martians.
When I'm with Pablo, the idea of wasting time is nowhere to be found. When I'm alone, or in my head, I try to focus on balance. If I let me head rev up, the darkness is right there, waiting. And those heavy thoughts are not gonna do me any good. So sometimes I have to stop, literally shake my head, or run my hand over my chest like I'm brushing a dozen giant cockroaches off my solar plexus. De-energize. The s**t we are going through right now is very powerful. It has an amplitude that is far greater than anything I've ever experienced. And you know I have already experienced my older brother's journey through cancer treatment. For me to say that this phase of my life has a greater charge is no exaggeration.
A while back, I may have mentioned a lesson from one of my teachers, Bob Timmins. I can't recall. Bob used to say to me, 'What if this is as good as it gets?' He'd throw that line at me all the time. In good moments, and in moments of extreme challenge in my life. When Bob passed away last March, that teaching rang in my head for some time. I had no idea that it hung in my head for a reason—that would reveal itself on my birthday in May.
Today, as I live life with my little boy, I remember Bob's smile. Every time he asked that question, he'd sort of grin the question mark at the end of the sentence. His smile, like Pablo's, reminds me that IF this is as good as it gets, my conscious contact with the moment IS the goal of my life. Pablo will be six in six weeks. His verbal and analytical and conversational skills are ramping up at an incredible speed. He says the coolest things. He tells stories ferociously. He tells jokes authoritatively. He is a raconteur.
We were in the pool an hour ago. Jo Ann was filming us working on Pablo's swimming skills. He's able to swim laps with the aid of two noodles under his arms. When we got here Thursday, Pablo was terrified to be in the water. Now, his confidence is through the roof. After his third lap today, he stood up on the steps in the pool and proclaimed, 'I was so awesome that time! I did it all by myself!' The toothless smile on his face was brighter than the late afternoon desert sun. A few minutes later we transferred our aqua activities to the oft-rapped-about hot tub. P had an idea to practice swimming to me—without noodles—from his side of the circle tub into my arms. He did the first jump. He hurled himself straight into my arms. A second attempt was the same—no fear, no problems. The third time, he got back to his starting position and paused. 'OK, Papa, here's my goal: I want to make it all the way to you without going under water.'
Good thing I was already smiling at him.
at 9:11:00 AM