Last night I was out with friends. Went for dinner, a coffee after, that kind of thing. One of my friends remarked: “You’re in a really good mood” and I just kind of smiled.
See, you do something to me. You specifically, even if we’ve never talked. You make me feel as if maybe, just maybe, people in the world really want a bit of attention and care once you strip away all the careers and cynicism, the mistakes and the grinding things that make up life.
Now, I’ve been through some stuff in life that put me in a place where I was grateful to begin with. Or, to be honest, MOSTLY grateful. I still have my bad days, my frustrations, and all those adult thoughts that start with “if only”. And I’ve been really lucky to see my work flourish, my relationships deepen with friends and family. So I’m in a pretty good mood to start.
But I started this blog for a reason: to tap back in to those feelings of joy I had when I was caring for someone. There was always something about it that I couldn’t replicate anywhere else.
On the one hand, it’s a feeling of being needed, loved and trusted. On the other hand something happens when I see a little guy with his paci snuggling on the couch with his favorite stuffed toy.
I think that something has to do with our capacity for joy, a sense of play, and being able to arrive at a space where right NOW is all that matters.
What a gift an AB/DL gives to a dad. We’re able to look at a little guy and we’re given a specific visual reference for those feelings of presence and the bright clear spaces that only come when we can leave our egos and our sense of obligation to society behind, and live instead in something vulnerable and warm.
There are lots of other ways to get that sense of joy. Meditation, art, listening to music. (And imagine a life where you’re able to express both your little side AND all those things!)
You’re very lucky though to have some specific, tangible things that let you tap into those feelings. Your diapers give you security and are a gesture of your willingness to be cared for. Your sleeper signals your willingness to be hugged and loved. Your paci gives you a sense of focus within the childlike sense of play.
Do you see how wonderful and lucky you are?
I know that adult babies can feel scared as well. Guilty, broken, strange or unaccepted. Artists often feel the same way – and you are artists exploring the edges of the canvas where feelings live.
When I was out last night I saw a guy in a red hooded sweater. He reminded me of an AB I know. And I looked at that guy, a perfect stranger, and thought: “He too has his small voice inside.”
I looked around the room at the other people and thought: “And so do all of them.”
I felt somehow connected to the broader world around me and was reminded that the gentle things you show me, the vulnerability, the openness to joy, and the inner child within, those things which are accessible to you through very special and cherished means, are the capacity of the wider world as well.
Thank you for being you.