Sunday, April 15, 2007

I'm no expert...

Those are words you don't expect me to use. Those of you who know me, anyway. I'll pretty much debate anything. I actually don't bother engaging in discussions that are fact-based because googling the topic settles it quickly. When I am wrong (rarely), I admit it quickly and using a phrase I picked up from Adam I acknowledge the other person as correct. The reason I am not wrong a lot of the time is that I try not to bother with the stuff I know nothing about. I would not touch history, sports, geography, business, spelling, punctuation trivia (by that I mean the annoying comma), outer space, or a myriad of other topics. I am pretty good at rationalizing my ignorance on these and other topics and in general am not too embarassed by my lack of knowledge. The stuff I know is another story. I am pretty arrogant about all that.

The other kinds of discussions, my interpretations of events are much trickier to extract myself from. I am learning or at least trying to learn not to use intimidation tactics to make myself seem more right. Actually, I learned some of this from a friend at work. Getting into a disagreement with her used to make my blood boil. Talking more clearly, loudly, articulately, etc. do not make you right. It might make the other person back down but that is not really so satisfying anymore. She and I admitted to each other earlier this year that we had both, simultaneously and independently, resolved to choose our battles more carefully this year. At least in a professional arena. I guess those of you who work with us may not have noticed a significant difference but change takes time.

Anyway, the real reason I brought up this topic is Sachi. As a parent, it is natural to want to spare your child from any pain. My instinct is to let my experience be a tool for her use as a way to pave her way. I know there is a lot that you can only learn by going through it yourself. It is hard to let go and allow your child to get hurt, when you think you could have prevented it. I watched a friend with her three year old yesterday. He wanted to take the plastic off his own cheese and he was determined. She knew he was going to drop it, or get frustrated so she held onto the cheese and let his hold part of the plastic while she instructed him and did most of it herself. I know that feeling. People ask me if I taught Sachi to cook. To do that, I would have actually allowed her to do part of it. I remember her screaming at me when I offered to put in her contacts, "I will never learn how to do it if you keep doing it for me!" It was a revelation. The goal is not "get it done, quickly, efficiently, painlessly." There are always going to be problems to solve. And there are so many, many ways to solve them.

In my dream I said to Sachi, if I knew how much significance you were going to attach to my words, I would not speak. I have spent so much time trying to get her to listen to me and now that she really does, it scares me. I don't have all the answers. There are so many different ways events can play out. I don't know what makes success or love or happiness. I guess as I have matured all of this has seemed more natural but it's not because I have the answers. The dream was so vivid. We were in this big brass bed (her bed) and it was outside and we were surrounded by peaches or peach trees. I said to Sachi, "Look at all this around you. You are so lucky. It is so beautiful." I reached out and took a peach. I cut off a few slices and tried them and gave them to her to try. "It's not perfect but almost." The feeling was that with a little more time to ripen, the peaches were going to be delicious. There were giant peaches under us too. We were way up off the ground, elevated by enormous Roald Dahl sized peaches. It was a great dream. In my heart, I know that Sachi is going to have everything she needs right there, close to her, just waiting to be picked. I was confident that she is going to find great satisfaction just by reaching out a little. Sometimes it is not exactly what you want right away but with patience, it will be amazing.

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