Thursday, May 12, 2005

Karma goes to sleep

Last night as my wife Barbara was putting our three-year-old daughter
Karma to bed I was reading a stack of emails that had piled up in my
inbox. My computer is just on the other side of the wall from my
daughter's room. I could hear the frustration in my wife's voice
building and the anguish in my daughter's voice increasing as the one,
knowing her daughter was exhausted, and the other, knowing sleep was
not coming, battled in one of the oldest conflicts known to humankind.

I rolled my eyes as I left the computer and go help out. I entered the
fray as a neutral observer and soon found myself comforting an upset
Karma as Barbara set about the tasks that were demanding her time at
the same time as our child was also demanding her attention.

After Karma's breathless explanation that she was just not tired and
could not go to sleep we began to exchange various ideas about such
wonderful things as princesses and handsome princes, monsters and evil
stepmothers and such things as three-year-old girls build obsessions
around. .She began to calm down. Soon our exchanges became quieter
until they faded
into a silent reverie. Hers, I am sure, was of fairy godmothers and
fancy balls . . . mine was of the wonders of a-three-year old mind.

Then I felt it . . . the death grip on the lapel of my samue jacket.
The desperate grip of a three-year-old on a storm-tossed bed. Denied
the usual comfort of her mother, here was the other familiar thing,
the other rock, she could hold onto and hold on she did. I sat there -
who knows how long? - until her breathing smoothed and her fingers
could be gently peeled off. I moved off the pile of sharp-edged toys
I'd not noticed were under me.

As I slowly backed out of my daughter's now quiet room I finally
understood. This was what it was all about. Just to be there in
everyday life, even with something that was not what I thought I
wanted to be doing. There is where true treasures are found.. I
remembered the roll of my eyes as I left my computer. Silly me. .
.resistance to receiving the greatest treasure of all. One I could
have missed for a discussion of copyright issues or someone's
expressions of their opinions on oneness.

I cannot even imagine the number of moments like these I missed with
our first daughter for things I was convinced were more important.
Tonight, if I had given in to my own desires, the opportunity would
have gone in an instant. Vanished in a flash. And I would have gone on
secure in my rightness, focused on my issues, never having the least
idea of what I had missed.