he knows now how to read.
he won’t pass through kindergarten again.

he won’t bring home another packet of sight words,
tape them to the wall
over his largely-unmade bed,
lie in the darkness,
read them by flashlight.

that moment,
that emerging,
that world,
that lifetime,

that he-and-I
is gone —

and I want it back.

Buddhism might one day free me from suffering, but not from being human. If anything, I feel my joy, my sadness, anguish, loneliness and contentment more acutely. Buddhism promises the possibility of welcoming each one. It has taught me, even, to welcome my attachments, to not run away from even my clinging.

My relief from suffering, when it arises, comes not from stoicism. Instead, it arrives when I allow the joy and dukkha that are the essence of fatherhood to be together. It comes when I turn and face them both and say, Yes, all of this. This is now. This is fatherhood. The wanting and the letting go. This is love. This is it. All of this. This is it.

10 thoughts on “Six

  1. Arti

    You said those words when your son turmed six and I read them with the same ‘I want it back’ lump in my throat as my little one gets ready to enter university and fly the nest. You write so beautifully. I have taken the liberty of sharing this gem on my fb…for my friends to get a glimpse of the wisdom of your words. Thank you.

    1. tac [bussokuseki] Post author

      We can so easily think we have some unique experience…only to find how universal it really is… So glad this one resonated with you, and thanks for sharing. Be well~

  2. Bill

    Your last line really grabbed me. I want it back too. I’d pay a lot more attention to those moments if I could have it back. Sigh.

    1. bussokuseki Post author

      Thank you Bill. It’s a strong feeling, and one I had resisted expressing.

      As for your sigh? So now you can pay more attention to that feeling, to that sigh or regret. It’s all life, it’s all ‘it’.

      Be well~

  3. Jason

    This is so relevant in my life right now. I have a son who is about to turn six and I have had many of the same thoughts and emotions. It’s so hard to see him grow up, but I’m so proud of his life. He’s very precious to me, as are his siblings, and I try to cherish every moment with them all. Your post has opened a new gate to enter. Thank you.

    1. bussokuseki Post author

      So glad you found some resonance, Jason. It really is the most amazing experience, this fatherhood. It teaches me something every day… Be well~

  4. seeingm

    No freedom ever comes from not fully feeling, it is from letting go of attaching meaning to the feeling…we know the words, but they do not ever limit us in any way we currently be.

    Present parenting. What a beautiful father to be. What a powerful father you be.

    Precious, precious share. -x.M

    1. bussokuseki Post author

      So happy to have you stop by again – my pace has been so slow, and yet when I manage to return, the community is there. Thank you, as always, for sharing your thoughts and reactions. Be well~


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