June has come, thundering down the river at me.
Have you ever gone white water rafting? You sit in a rubber boat and are hurtled downstream by the river. That’s it. You’re given a paddle in the same way pedestrians in London are given buttons to push; it’s for the illusion of control, not control itself. Nothing you are going to do with that thing is going to stop you from going downstream as fast as the river wants you to. With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work you’ll get to choose whether you go down on the boat or under the boat.
I’ve spent the last six months gurgling for air with my nose stuck to the underside of the boat. If I step back for a moment having realized that, I’m amazed at how good I am at tricking myself into slogging on. In the process I have gotten fatter, sadder, less effective and less productive.
I am utterly and hopelessly lost, at this point. I don’t have a plan for getting better. I don’t even know what getting better would be; I spent a lot of effort learning what it meant to be a good parent and a good husband, and I have no idea how to be the former without being the latter. I have no tangible, day-to-day, practical role model for being a divorced dad (in the same way that I didn’t have one for being a dad either), and in the last six months I haven’t done a thing about it.
Fortunately for me, while I don’t know these things, I have learned how to build up to knowing these kinds of things. Some of what I’m going to build up are things I’ve lost in the last six months; oh well.
It’s all in the little things. They aren’t little, at all.
Today, I went to the park with the boys. I rode my bike, they went on scooters. 2.4 kilometers away, so quite close, but Joaquín especially was dead tired. I was able to go out, help them when they fell off their scooters (Pedro fell off four times; Joaquín, a couple), wait for them when they got tired (Joaquín had to stop three times on the way, and wanted to turn back just after the half way mark; they both gave up on their scooters and went on walking the last 200 meters so I ended up carrying them and the bike). I was able to be there for them, not just with them. I didn’t get angry, I didn’t get impatient, I didn’t expect something from them other than what they could give me.
Tomorrow? We’ll see. One thing at a time, one day at a time. I make plans, but they are little plans, and they’re not spelled out as you might expect.
Tomorrow the office is having a get-together to watch the jubilee pageant on the Thames. Tomorrow I’m going to be a divorced dad, in public, for the first time. Objectives are: be my adult self. That’s it.
That’s a lot.