Sunday, 14 December 2014

All We Want For Christmas Is You

Ná u nó ke koho hopena. E koho pono 'oe. 
You are who you are by the choices you make. Be thoughtful in what you choose.
~ Hawaiian proverb

Dear Boy,

We were there when you were born; a squalling, giganti-lump of baby weighing in so little under ten pounds for the record that it didn't matter. You were wondrous. Miraculous. Alive. Danny laid his wonder bare to the world while I hid mine, as I always do, behind the safety of my camera lens.

As you grew we embraced you wholly into our lives, giving you every material (and immaterial) thing possible to ensure that you had a great start in life. We saw you every week, our very own sleepover. At our place you had your own room, your own toys, and your very own place in our hearts. You were our whole lives.

I tried so hard not to love you. Love means surrender and anyone who knows me knows I don't like to surrender; I go down with the ship. Love means vulnerability and inevitably pain, so sometimes it is simply easier not to love, to compartmentalise that part of us that opens us to hurt. I tried to focus on anything about you that annoyed me: standing on your blocks hiding in plain sight around the house, waking up yet again in the night to explain over to you the delights of sleep and why you should enjoy it while you could, the endless wiping of pooey bottoms or sticky hands or trails of something off my really bloody expensive couches. But it was impossible; you only had to look at me and I was lost. So I surrendered.

When you are an adult you have to make choices. You don't always get to have what you want, or the easiest thing, or the most fun thing in life. Or the thing that puts you and your needs first. Making the right choices is usually hard and requires sacrifices, but is the best thing for the situation as a whole and the best thing for a long term positive outcome for everyone.

I'm the first to admit through my life I've made some really dumb choices that have had dumb consequences I've had to work through and fix with the help of my friends and family. But the reason we make mistakes is to learn something, then the next time we make a choice we can choose something slightly less dumbass and make slightly less of a balls-up of a situation. I'm on my second marriage, as is my husband. I can tell you the lessons we learned from our first marriages are helping to make our marriage to each other stronger, and lifelong. We both made bad choices the first time round that held us back for quite a few years, but learning from those mistakes has made for a much richer experience for us second time round. We have learned that a lot of being married is a choice: you choose to work through problems and grow with your partner. Happiness likewise is a choice.

I'm also the first to say that in my life I've made some great choices that have been the right choice for the situation. At the time they may have been frightening, controversial, difficult to work through and sometimes painful to myself and others, but they have been the right thing to do in the situation, so I've done them. I left a fantastic and well-paying career in 2001 when my employer made changes to my job to force me to choose between continuing to study my bachelor degree and my career. To my employer's surprise I chose to leave, and I remember the feeling of falling into the complete unknown and the fear of what the hell would happen now? I can tell you what happened: I found another job, I made some lifelong new friends at uni, I finished my studies, and I became a photographer, a career that has fulfilled me in ways I never thought possible. In that sliding doors moment I could have made the easy choice, to keep working, but I would have missed out on so much. I remember sitting around a campfire with friends in the Anza Borrego Desert in 2001; the young kids were talking about what they wanted to be when they grew up. The thought that popped straight into my head was: 'I will be a great photographer, and the whole world will know my name'. If my blog stats are any indication, that has come true.

The other thing about choices is you can't make them for someone else. No matter how many times you help someone, show them something, give them something, show them options or explain consequences, sometimes people are still going to make poor choices, and there is nothing you can do. People will make choices that have less than ideal consequences and there will be nothing you can do except hang on for dear life and hope the ride ends soon. So in times like this in response we have to make the best choices we can, not for others, not for us, but for the situation as a whole. Even if it rips out our hearts.

So Boy, back to you. I want you to know that we have always made, and will continue to make, the best choices for your situation that we believe possible. It may not be the choice that others want or approve of, and it certainly may not be the choice we think best for us, but it will always be the choice we thought best for you, and for your situation. The choice that we hope produces the best long term outcome for you. Because it's always been for you.

Merry Christmas our darling Boy. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, we want you to know that we think of you always. So when you're older, and can choose for yourself, we hope you make the right choice. We look forward to that day.

1 comment:

David St Pierre said...

Nanna Anna, you have stepped out from behind your Lens to lay your heart open. And one day your love and devotion will be rewarded as it so deserves.