Turn on your favorite rap artist’s latest album and you’ll probably hear at least a line or two reminiscing about being an angry little boy whose dad ran out on him and his mother. I grew up around a lot of these broken kids. One kid I knew, who was only 14 at the time and already openly gay and sexually active was one of these fatherless victims, his father gone, his mom in her own drug induced world. That kid didn’t have a kitchen floor. Literally, the floor in the kitchen of his double wide trailer had rotted away.
Other kids I knew had dads who beat the shit out of them. I guess getting the shit beat out of you might be better than abandonment though. Perhaps something is better than nothing at all, contemplating the grand mystery of why you weren’t good enough to stick around for, for an entire lifetime.
I look at my own children today and they break my heart with love. They cause me to well up with such emotion that it almost incites rage in my soul when I hear about kids whose fathers have abused or ran away from them.
Last night I went in my girl’s room and laid with each of them as they slept. I rubbed their backs, buried my nose into their little head of hair and just breathed it in… then kissed each on the cheek and snuck off before I woke them up.
While I laid beside my girls, I thought about something I remembered the economist Steve Levitt, from the Freakanomics podcast, say while discussing the loss of his one year old son many years ago. He said that losing a child never gets easier, it never stops hurting, it continues to hurt every single day. You just learn to cope with it and keep living.
I feel Steve’s pain. I couldn’t stand it. It’s the one challenge I imagine not being able to overcome. It is the one thing that would drive me to the brink- losing one of my children.
So then how does a man walk away from one willfully? How does a father ever willfully harm his child?
It really takes a fucking pathetic puddle of puke to do so.
Having children and loving them deeply and oh so selfishly that it shakes you to the core is to feel the essence of life.
Maybe it’s biological, maybe it’s spiritual. I don’t care. I’m just glad I had the opportunity to feel it.