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Our daughter is seventeen today.
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Just like the day of her birth, we spent many hours last night in agony. Red-faced, shouting, screaming. 
There was gnashing of teeth.
There was rending of garments.
There was blood, sweat, and tears.
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the agony of birth, redux.




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I guess it makes a kind of sense. 
Some new thing is aborning.
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You’ve got to expect a roller-coaster, a convulsive train-wreck, carpet-bombing and torching villages with Zippo lighters and crying girls with their clothes burned off running down the street.
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Right?
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So this morning finds us much like the morning seventeen years ago. Exhausted, red-eyed and bleary. Astounded by the force of life that has announced itself, and more than a little frightened. 
No fucking clue as to how to proceed.
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At least then we had a bag of diapers and a little bassinet and Dr. Spock and onesies and pale, terry-cloth animals to hold up and shake and show her to get her to stop crying.
And breast milk.
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It feels like she has to utterly destroy us in order to claim her prize of autonomy. She seems to think that’s the only way.
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We’re ready to head for the hills.
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The worst is not being able to soothe her, comfort her, give her a measure of peace. 
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Not looking forward to a sad and sullen birthday cake, begrudging present-opening, insincere thanks. 
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Is there a goddamn book of instructions around here somewhere?
I mean, what the fuck?
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We struggle to engage this suffering without resistance. We struggle to engage it without resistance. Hmmm. Okay, I’m not going to struggle. I’m just going to suffer. Suffer mindfully, if not gladly. She is of us, but she is not us. We are strong illusions that she must shatter if she is to see the world clearly, through her own eyes. We are the enemy. We are. 
Despite, or because of, our love for her. Our desires blind her and bind her. Our thoughts and opinions choke and oppress her. The dipperful of cold, clear water we hold out to her to slake her thirst is full of salt. It does naught but make her thirst greater. 
She is in the bad wilderness and we think we are helpful guides but we are dark and scary monsters who will set upon her and devour her. 
She must flee our noises and the frantic waving of our suckered tendrils. 
The horrible cries of our beseeching.
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“But we love you!!”
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This parenting gig really brings me face to face with my worst self. I get to see a man who is selfish and self-centered. Bitter and enraged. A fool and a lout. Not always, not all the time, but often enough. More than often enough. 
My heart is in the right place, it’s just not very good at its job. 
There is a great deal of learning left to do. 
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Perhaps I can do some of it.
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Happy Birthday, kid. 
We love you super bad.
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Namaste. Ohm mani padme hum. Shalom. Ah salam malakim. Peace be upon you. 


Move along. Move along. There’s nothing to see here, folks.


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