|L: my family, C: My dad with Devon, R: Rob and Devon|
I woke up this morning dragged from a dream I was having about fatherhood. Yes, an odd dream at that. I was talking in the dream and it was summer and sunny and yet, still cool as it is in the early morning. I was speaking about what being a father means--how I learned some of this by watching Rob with Devon, some of it by being the daughter of another Robert, my dad.
Fathering isn't a simple act for it defies the boundaries of time. It continues on even after our fathers die.
Years from now, Rob's actions, more than his words, will inform my son's life. His actions will take on new meaning as Devon matures. Like I recall doing when Devon entered out lives, my thoughts about my mom changed, deepened as I could see her love in new ways that only motherhood could allow. I wish that for Dev.
Later in the morning I am reading a recent letter by Bonnie and she is relaying a time when she and her beloved husband, Tuvia, were visiting a friend's new farm. Tuvia thought they were lost and Bonnie writes--more for the present moment than the past I suspect--"We were never lost."
I stop reading as I let the last line sink in. The words pull me back hard to earth and I realize what it means to feel my feet beneath me, feel the hardness of the ground, feel the here and now.
We were never lost.
And isn't that the center space of love--to hold in the moment the profound understanding that love anchors us? It anchors all of us and does so without effort.
I never felt lost on this planet when I was alongside Rob. Even when the road we were on literally was one we did not know, had trouble navigating, we were anchored to this earth by love. I felt this as a child. I can recall being in Manhattan and holding on to my dad's hand as we walked down a midtown street on the West side and the towering buildings, the shuffle of people alongside us, coming at us, and the pails and pails of garbage some spilling into the street (yes, this was Manhattan in the late 1960s) could have overwhelmed a child, but it didn't. I was anchored to the earth, learning from my dad how to trust.
The world is mostly good his hand holding mine taught. I learned early that fear is more the absence of love than anything else. A father's love is a grand gift that we carry across the steps we make.
And isn't that sense of centeredness at the heart of what my son carries with him now? He has been truly loved by his dad and perhaps that is what Devon was telling me a month ago when he said that we carry Rob with us--that Rob formed us.
At first I thought that last statement was more true for him than me. For did I not come to this marriage a whole person? But love is no mathematical proposition. It negates the logic of equivalency. There is no equivalency in the love a father has for his child or a husband's profound love for his wife.
Rob did form us and that presence continues on. There was a consistency about my husband who had his moral compass aimed true north, much like my own dad.
Do no harm.
Love best what is other.
Be kind to yourself, too.
Live brilliantly. Don't hide.
No, even after Rob's death, Devon and I are never lost.
But lost? No.