Yesterday, I met with my priest. To talk about my father.
I wanted to make sure I wasn't breaking that Commandment; the "so your days may be long upon the land" one.
He was great. Not so much in what he said, but just his presence. Just talking to him, I felt compelled to approach the matter prayerfully. There's no urgency here. Today was a good day. Tomorrow will probably be a good day. February was a good month. March will be a good month. 2007 will be a good year. Get me? I can bloom where I'm planted.
But, the Padre also made me feel trusted. And that allowed me to trust myself. Something that doesn't come easy to me.
He offered an interesting observation. Old age has been referred to as "second childhood." All men have a little boy inside them. (I swear I'm not going in the direction of a "getting in touch with your inner child" thing here.) When you don't get what you want, and there you are bellowing "It's so unfair!!!"... That's all about regression.
And so is my dad. That's why he takes it for granted that the Universe conspires to make sure that dinner shows up on the table, that his laundry gets done, that his bathroom stays clean. And if'n you think about it, that's not an adult take on reality.
But that Little Boy Dad aspect is important to remember. Little boys, if I remember correctly, having been one, so I'm told, need reassurance that all is right with the world, that whatever happens, they're loved and will be taken care of. When they're in bed, the nightlight burning means that the monsters will stay underneath the bed.
And I have a good idea what some of those monsters might be. Hospitals and doctors. Poverty and want. But the big one is Being Left Alone. We're talking about a man who has buried his parents, his younger brothers, three wives, and his only daughter.
So I can work with that. Whatever goes down, that little boy who raised me will be acknowledged.
Although of course the tricky thing is this is my dad we're talking about. And if you want to see a forty-two year old man turn into a little boy, put him in a room with his father.