Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lessons for Someday Silas

Right now you don’t require lessons. You require gentle persuasion and thoughtful protection. Gated stairs and softened edges. Fresh foods, frequent naps and a lot of freedom. You are learning without a teacher because every new smell and sound is a mystery to decipher. But someday I’ll be teaching you lessons, both purposely and incidental. You already know how to smile that ridiculous squinty way to get what you want, which is usually just love and words and touch. I feel afraid for when the real lessons start. When I have to fight against the world so that you will never believe that hate is ok and women are weak and asking questions is useless because “it’s always been this way.” I’m afraid that I am not strong enough to teach you that strength has more to do with your mind than your muscles and that weakness is just a trait and you should never be ashamed, whichever the case. I’ll have to teach you that racism is more than a distaste for someone with different skin, it’s a system that’s been in place since humans first came out of their caves and were overcome with fear of the strange. What if I can’t? What if I fail? Can I really fight a culture of ignorance and rage with nothing but love and the stubborn insistence that we can change? I’m going to start making notes on what is beautiful about living so that when the painful lessons become too much for the both of us I can open a book and read to you about doctors that actually save and religious that don’t preach hate, about generosity without limitations and the special smells after rain and how you have a magic capacity to forget past pain. I tend to focus on the parts of life that seem too terrible and if there is lesson that you will learn it’s that it will hurt but you will rise all the same.