Unique and beautifully unexplained 

Snow fell, straight down; huge, marshmellow-sized flakes as soft as his baby’s bottom and as silently, and as quietly as she slept in her crib next to him.  It was a well-earned sleep.  The poor kid had been fighting colic for the last few days.  The doctor couldn’t quite explain it since she hadn’t had colic right away.  As near as he could tell, she’d developed some intolerance, to what they weren’t sure, and it was dealing her fits.  They’d figure it out in time but for now his heart broke when she cried.  They hadn’t had this specific experience as parents yet but he knew the feeling of being unable to help, unable to fix it and watching his child suffer.  He’d never experienced the level of heartache, the hurt or the unease, and around the holidays no less.  Watching the snow fall his mind wandered.

Years ago he’d struggled during the holidays through another situation where he was overmatched, seemingly unable to remedy it.  Her name was Tricia.  They were 15 and the Winter Ball was their class’s first experience with a big date event.  Every December the special dance, just for ninth-graders, freshmen, was held on the second Saturday.  He noticed her months before at a football game.  Something about her, her mannerisms, her laugh or the way she carried herself; did something to him.

He found himself searching for her at assemblies, games and at dances.  She rarely came to those; her parents weren’t big fans of the scene (he’d asked).  One of the few times he summoned the courage to speak to her was to ask why he’d missed her there.  They didn’t talk much, so later, he realized this probably seemed really forward.  It was just… he felt he knew her.  He really didn’t.  He knew who her best friend was and even though he liked Chris he was determined not to do the punk thing and ask Chris to ask Tricia if she would go with him to the dance.  No, this was something that, as hard as it was for him and as much as it twisted his gut into knots; he would have to do himself.

When he finally mustered the courage to ask her between classes he could tell in her eyes he was home free.  Her answer wasn’t yes, though.  She would have to ask her folks.

Once she saw him the next day between the same classes and delivered the a-okay, he was on cloud nine.  Tonight, watching his daughter sleep, the little girl who was not the product of that relationship so many years ago, he wondered if and how they would ever get “home free” in this situation.  Like the colic, he hadn’t been able to fix that either.  To this day he wasn’t quite sure why.

Perhaps he had tried to steer it in an unnatural direction.  Perhaps she and he weren’t as perfect a match as he’d once thought they were.  Maybe… maybe, it just wasn’t meant to be.  With the same success he had been experiencing in vanquishing the colic, his young man’s psyche had turned and turned that question around in his skull until it hurt with the process.  He was only beginning to acquiesce to the possibility of its inevitability.  Still, as a man, he was a fixer, programmed to make things better and to beat his brains out when that didn’t seem like even a remote possibility.  So, he watched the snow fall and his daughter sleep.  And he thought.

He thought things he hadn’t considered in months, perhaps years.  He revisited decisions along a life strewn with wreckage, carnage so far removed from the beauty of a snowflake and yet seemingly as random.  He couldn’t explain it, why these things happened, hell, most days he almost couldn’t remember why he’d done the things he’d done.  Perhaps, probably hopefully, he thought a different way back then.  He knew his motivations had changed, whether for better or worse, he couldn’t be sure.  These days sometimes the not knowing, whether it was the colic or the new career or the nearly new marriage, was enough to drive him to madness or the brink or toward something else dark and unknown.

Safety and security seemed as foreign a state of mind as the solution for colic or a high school romance gone bad.  Tonight, like so many others, he would just have to sleep on it.  He’d gone the other way only to throw in the towel at three-whatever in the morning, bleary-eyed, weary, with his mind in knots like the ones so long ago after a particularly grueling game.  This was no game.

This was a question of life, of lives now, and had no end.  The gun would not sound, the klaxon would not blare and he would never really break the tape until the game, the entire game, was over.  For good or bad, this was the struggle he, they all, were locked in for now.  He couldn’t fathom the way things might or would change through the years.

He hoped that somehow he’d grow to a level of mastery of the game.  Perhaps resolve the old questions or at least shelve them permanently in favor of more current, pressing and important ones in their current lives.  For now however, in this moment of peace, with the snow falling quietly as seconds and minutes clicked by while she slept, he would cherish her simplicity and the elemental truths he knew.  Love, family (in all its aggregations) and some higher power he had only just begun to consider, would be enough and as undeniable and inarguable as the flakes falling easily around them.

Life is a pretty big thing to try and figure out, especially when you can’t figure out the little things inside it and no amount of thinking nor brain power seems to do the trick.  And sometimes, we just have to be all right with that.

Every week I muse on another, sometimes tortuous part of life.  Rarely do I ever sort of figure it out but I keep trying.  If you would like to read more about my attempts, click here to go to my blog’s home page.  Hopefully my efforts help with whatever you’re struggling with and you’ll decide you would like to read regularly.  You can do that by subscribing for free.  All it really means is you’ll receive an email on Sunday with links to the week’s posts.  I promise no salesy stuff and I never share your email.  Click this to subscribe or you can do so at the blog.