I’m on a compassion jag and I can’t stop it.
I have been gathering up Sami’s baby gear to donate to a local thrift store, but then as I was looking at those two bags of stuff sitting there in the front hallway this evening, it hit me that I know someone who can really use it.
Have I gone completely, totally, nuts?
Tonight when he came to visit Sami, I waited until he had brought him back and was about to leave before timidly offering him the gear. ”It’s tough economic times right now, and I thought you could use it…whatever you don’t want, you can just give away…I mean, I don’t even know if you want it.”
I thought for sure he was going to turn down my offer.
“Sure, I’ll take it,” said my ex. He seemed glad to take the stuff. He walked away with some of Sami’s 3-6 month sleepers, a play gym, my Boppy pillow, and some random toys that Sami has outgrown.
“I have way more stuff,” I added, which is true. I haven’t begun to go through it all.
It surprised me how good I felt when he walked out the door with Sami’s things. I made space in my house and also seemed to open up some kind of corresponding space in my heart.
This odd experience got me thinking about how giving is such an important concept in spiritual practice. I don’t feel like I get enough of a chance to practice it. Perhaps I do in the sense of the time and energy I give to raising Sami, or to being a friend to others. But that is sort of expected: to take care of your kids and listen to your friends. You’re not supposed to give things to your ex.
The whole experience also got me thinking more about impermanence. Last week at this time I was a basket case about the pregnancy, having just found out about it. This week, I am giving the happy couple Sami’s old baby gear, and feeling terrific about it. In some odd, weird, totally incomprehensible way, I am excited for them. It’s as if I’ve burned up my reserves of judgment and self-righteousness and now I don’t know what to do.
While my ex was out with Sami this evening, I actually had some quiet writing time to myself. To be able to write at 7:30 pm, when I still have a semi-coherent thought in my head! How delicious. Tonight I wrote a bit about finding out about my own pregnancy, about Sami’s newborn days, remembering the peculiar mix of extreme wonder and extreme anxiety which characterized that time.
In my writing, I am working through the events of the past three years on a deeper level and it feels like there is real healing there, in this sifting through the layers. It feels so strangely ironic, to be writing about Sami’s babyhood and then giving his baby things to my ex for a child he’s having with another woman, all in the same night.
Perhaps that’s why I write nonfiction and memoir - I cannot make this shit up!
Certainly, the greatest gift in H’s return is for Sami, who gets to experience having a father in his life again. The man who loved him so much in infancy. How his face lights up when he sees him! It brings tears to my eyes when I think about that.
As for me, I am cautiously accepting the gift of H’s return: the gift of time.
For now, a bit more time to explore my love of writing, and perhaps time to explore love, period. Perhaps.
Welcome to this blog - my chronicle of the illuminating, character-building path of single parenthood. I'm making this up as I go along. My life is my practice, and my five year-old son is my greatest teacher.