When Loneliness Must Not Be Shared With Children |

-- V. Inglis

My children’s father watches them this weekend. I’d like to not be bored and lonely. I go to CraigsList and head to the Men Looking for Women section. One post pops out: En busca del verso desnudo de tu alma. Translation: Looking for the naked verse of your soul. Naked? Verse? My soul? This one deserves a look. Click. I will translate a bit:

From where I lay, nestled between your tender thighs, I see stretching out before me the spectacular landscape of your beautiful body. My nose is surrounded by the untrimmed…

I really don’t know for sure what I look for in a future mate. Is it someone who is willing to pay all my bills and insists that I dedicate my free time to writing? Yeah, right. For now, I am going to have to be an adult and learn how to make lots of money for my children so that they can take lessons and learn the variety and bounty of endeavors in human life. This realization makes me a bit melancholy. That’s why I was drawn Señor Desnudo’s post, I discovered someone else who likes the ephemeral, abstract and sensual.

I’ll translate another bit:

Whether you are a virgin, or have had 200 children, you live on as a virgin for all your life, darling. You should know the only thing you have to give me that one kiss that makes me your man forever. I want to stretch you out between my arms and sketch a bouquet of kisses in every naked crevice of your being.

Sounds like fun.

When I redirect my thoughts to money, lessons for the children and vacuuming, I do so wistfully, because I really do want to think and write, and then think and write some more. How do I reconcile a yearning for thoughtful silence with the headlong lunge for joy of my children? The two year old follows the 11 year old; they thunder past me in the kitchen hollering at the top of their lungs. Finally, I burst out, Basta ya! Callense! That’s enough, quiet down.

If I love thoughtful silence so much, why on earth did I have children?

Let’s suppose for a moment that I had any say over the matter. By the way, the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, would say that I had little to do with it, perhaps nothing at all, but rather the much more powerful will to live had everything to do with it. He explains logically why opposites attract, how the next generation benefits by their union, and how the couple invariably ends up disappointed and frustrated, and in many cases such as mine, divorced.

Well, it’s the post feminist era. I did have a little something to say about the matter. During my twenties, I chose to forgo material comforts, opting instead to make just enough money to support my habits of studying and thinking. Always, I yearned to share my discoveries, so I wrote a lot. The idea that art must be relevant, or it’s a waste of time, drove my efforts. I began to consider after a while, what better way to discover relevance than by having a child? I decided that I would like to have children precisely because they would tether me to the here and now.

I know that I am not the only ambivalent parent. Invariably, when I fixate on my ambivalence, my thoughts turn dark. I contemplate the ultimate result of all my effort – departure from the physical plane and far worse, total obscurity.

Schopenhauer in his book Essays and Aphorisms writes:

What a difference there is between our beginning and our end. We begin in the madness of carnal desire and the transport of voluptuousness, we end in the dissolution of all our parts. We shall do best to think of life as a desengaño, as a process of dis- illusionment: since this is, clearly enough, what everything that happens to us is calculated to produce. “

My son is in his “happily dreaming childhood” and my daughter is somewhere between the “happily dreaming childhood” and the “exultant youth” stages of life. I thoroughly enjoy watching my two kids wrestle on the floor, the older one offering the younger one a hug, and asking for one when she knows that he will enjoy giving a hug. I marvel at their health. I marvel at their smooth plump skin.

These days, I try not to be a wet blanket weighing down on them, hard to do given the break up of my marriage. Sometimes, when I really want to torture myself, I think about what awaits my children. I feel guilty about being the one to have brought them into this world, and being the one to set them up for the “toil-filled years” of adulthood and beyond. I know what’s waiting for them, and they don’t.

The cure for almost anything is to Be Here Now, according to wise persons. I do take time to smell the nasturtiums with my children. I draw their attention to bumblebees, helicopters, the enormous red cranes used to build a new span of the Bay Bridge, and other way cool stuff. I like to make them laugh. I weary quickly these days, however. Sometimes I drift away from the “maximum toil” of this adulthood to a fantasyland. It’s out there. Señor Desnudo is proof.*

V. Inglis has worked as calendar editor and freelance writer for Bay Area Parent for six years. She has blogged with writingmamassalon.blogspot.com for the last year.