“Running with the Kaleidoscope”

Excerpts from “Running with the Kaleidoscope”

A Single Parent’s Adventure in a Single Child’s World

running in…

I remember as a young child opening that big box of “Cracker Jacks” and shoveling in that over-sweet caramel concoction, but not before emptying half of the box on the front step to find that ever elusive treasure which ranged from mini-tractors , army men and superballs to small Comic books, Stickers and horrifying whistles. One of the most memorable however was a Little Kaleidoscope which you had to hold delicately up to the eye, being careful not to end up with an accompanying spanish peanut up your nose. By turning the small front cover you could come up with about 3 different patterns. It lasted about a day and then never functioned again. I certainly didn’t give a hoot because I was already fishing out that last sugary kernel of Popcorn from that box that smelled of joy.

Running after my child, seeing her evolve from day one, reminded me oh so dear of that Little Kaleidoscope, ever changing, never the same color, yet having all the Colors from the previous turn of the scope.

A rather vile Publisher once chastised me for my writings which included the day in and day out of observing the wonder of my own offspring. He actually called it “kiddy porn” which I found so very horrifying and almost caused me never to write another word. What a great waste that would have been for my child. I presume his absurdities were due to the fact that I was open about my experiences and feelings just being this fresh dad. Awe and Wonderment are not shared with everyone, sadly enough. If my kid had been deformed and I was a drug user or convicted criminal he could have forgiven me, but talking unabated about love and determination about my child must have been absolutely terrifying to him! I can only guess that he was probably too busy to notice those things in his own family and certainly didn’t want to write about it because it puts your own fears in the forefront and you have to see it every day. Maybe he was plain jealous and certainly very afraid of his own feelings that deal with the preciousness of it all. Some guys are jaded from the beginning and Freud certainly hasn’t helped them find what they are looking for. It means they will stay uninformed and detached.

I guess starting so late in life made me more so aware of my duty to learn as quickly as I could to be a capable dad, not just someone who clothed her and put Food on her table, but someone who would stay at her side to try to nudge in the right direction without getting in the way. A parent is a responsibility of every sense. To understand and be respected by your child, I suppose the best way is to be a involved in every aspect of their every day and trying not to be noticed. I know the time will come when she says “you don’t have to pick me up from School” or “don’t let my friends see you”. Those moments are like the etappes of some race. You just have to take stock of where you stand in the race and where you have to make up time to win. I don’t have that luxury of time, and I’ve never run this race…so I’ll just have to drive as fast as I can and hope like hell I can catch up!

Being a single parent has its moments of doom and gloom as well as incredible bolts of sunlight and joy. Being a single Father has its stigmas, its social challenges, and certainly processes which can age or…maybe even youth-i-fy. Being an older and single father is a pure learning experience as well as a lesson in patience, fortitude, and constancy in one’s priorities. Biologically speaking you are on a mission of impetuosity based on grit and the gift of love with no borders. It simply comes down to how far you are willing to stretch your energies and life-accumulated experience in order to provide for your one proof of existence; your only child. If with every hurdle one can seek and find the humor, especially being able to laugh at yourself, your child will flourish and certainly accept the fact that “My Daddy is older than yours”. I don’t really believe in handbooks when seeking advice on how to deal with aspects of parenting because of the ever changing personalities and outside influences. I do, however, enjoy reading from other adults and their experiences in unchartered territory. Point a kaleidoscope to the light and turn its cylinder allowing its internal mirrors to dance a series of multiple reflections. With every turn, there seems to be endless colors and shapes, simple turns yielding complex shapes and hues. Pointed to the dark there is nothing to see no changing to observe, no colors to describe, only a grinding of glass. Finding the light with my child not only enhances her abilities but solidifies her trust in her single parent. Laughing in the face of adversity is much easier if your child is in your ballpark. Running through life with her, fleeting as is bound to be, is the most colorful enlightenment of my life.KaleidEva

I have yet to find a way to „properly“ prepare my little daughter for her life’s adventures in a set form. It seems that every day she changes and decides for herself what that moment’s priority is and if I am allowed to be involved in helping achieve a means. Why can’t she just sit still and tell me exactly what to do? All of a sudden I am the pupil here! What is fair about that…I’m an old guy and have already taken on the hard knocks and challenges based on what I learned in life. Now I am being directed by a half-pint, tyrannical girl-child with an agenda of adventure! She is colorful, I’ll give that to her. She is not really tyrannical…but certainly headstrong. At the end of the day I guess that is exactly what I want. I want her to be tough and consequent in her actions. I want her to sponge in all matter of learning material. I want….here lies the problem. Actually the problem can be wanting and not listening to needs of that most precious to you. Perhaps changing the way we go about “what we want” in our children “to what we would hope for” will give us that benefit of a doubt in ourselves. In the event you are an older parent and you have this inner fear of your child “noticing”, forget it! It is the truth! As an older parent, there are rainbows of opportunities that evolve into real success that may not have been possible were you in your early 20’s. Being one of the only parents not brandishing a new tattoo or piercing when picking her up from Kindergarten I am in a constant “non-conforming” mode of self preservation and as soon as I didn’t care what they said behind my back, I became a better parent. Younger parents noticed the non-conforming and started asking questions. Sometimes it depends on the flexibility of the child, but most times it is dependent on your own willingness to put aside every day social observations by people who are not your peers. There are 54 years of difference between Eva-Sophie and myself. That is a generation skipped. That is also a generation of extra experience and energy to provide her. The Ego is not in the way and there seems to be an intense connection and understanding that we are developing as friends as well as Parent and Child. The short time however, is often a long road but very doable. My own father told me very young “don’t be afraid to make a mistake…for is only extra experience. If you decide on the same mistake three times you have accepted the fact that you will have to go around it…and that is not acceptable”. Be good to yourself and enjoy your mistakes. Your child will love you for it to the end of their days.