Memories From the Balcony – A Bedtime Story

Timing is interesting to me because in light of all that’s going on around me, trouble and turmoil, thoughts and feelings; yet, in the moment, I came across an old note of mine that was written as a divorced father of a girl who I knew was going off in a different direction
This is part me, part “this” and part confusion and part apropos because like I said, timing is everything. Excluding a few edits and corrections, all of what I am about to share below is unchanged since a long, long time ago.

I don’t know if I am right or wrong on much. I don’t know if anything is right or wrong. All I know is that I am a man with faults and flaws; that is, if I am a man at all.
All I know is that I do feel. I do think. I have ups and downs.
I have misspoken.
I have misused my time.
I have shown up too late.
I’ve done my best – yet, as best as we try; some challenges are whatever difficulties we face, I am as imperfect as anyone else, which makes me perfectly real and sometimes lost.
This sentiment is true.
Life is not an easy thing. Love is not simple.
Neither am I.
Neither are you.
Yet, love and life is the simplest thing of all.
It’s only us that make things difficult.

This was a bedtime story from a Dad to his little girl –

You once asked me what love feels like.
I answered, “You’ll learn more as you get older.”
Then again, I realize this doesn’t say much.
Besides, the look on your face showed that my answer wasn’t enough.

Either way, how does someone explain love?
Can anyone explain love?
Is love the same? Do we love the same?
Do I?
Do you?
How does one teach love
or share their thoughts on love?
How do you explain love, at least for love’s sake?

How does one explain the different levels?
Or, can this be shown by different levels of association?
For example, love is like a smile that runs through your heart
And even though things go wrong,
Love is the thing that nothing could ever be so wrong – not ever
But that’s not true either.

Love does break
So do hearts.
(Trust me)
But love is good –
because while the world can be a strange place:
Love is a home
Love is a light,
Love is a means of protection and in the face of love
Love is the bravest action
it is the bravest emotion
and more than anything –
Love is the most daring act in the world

How do I explain the different levels of emotion to a child?
How does anybody explain loss or the truth?
The truth is this:
Love is not pain free.
She would know this because look at us – in pain,
misunderstood, estranged, growing distant
growing further and farther apart.
Age clicks the clock and time adds layers of dust.

Love free by any means –
It’s costly
Love comes with bumps and bruises
Love comes with cuts and scrapes
Love comes with arguments
Love comes with bills and worries
But there’s more.
Love comes with fear and yet love itself is actually fearless.

Still, there’s so much more.
There’s a lot more but how do you explain this to a child
especially when being a child is confusing enough.
Life is confusing enough

I can say this –
Love is alive 

Just like you and me.
Love breathes and grows.
It changes and adapts.
Love takes on its own shape and size.
If it isn’t fed, love will go hungry
and eventually love can starve
and we can lose it
or lose our way.

If you need a picture,
I can describe it like this –
Ever notice how it’s never really dark when there’s snow on the ground?
Though it’s cold outside,
something warm holds you together.
That’s how love feels.
It’s as if someone’s left the light on for you;
it’s like I’m always there and you’ll never feel alone.

But sometimes, I admit it –
Love can be lonely and sometimes
something might seem missing
Love does not come without flaws
And neither do we . . .

You once asked me if Daddy’s cry when they’re sad.
I told you, “All the time.”
Then you asked, “But not as much as me, right?”
Sure, I cry.

I probably cry more.
However, crying changes with age
because crying is more than tears.
Crying is when the sadness swells up inside.

The tears are only a symptom.
I cry in different ways
Or in ways, such as regret, or in missed moments
Closing windows of time
Wrong turns
Misspoken chaos
I cry. Sure I do.

I can feel this in my chest and in my stomach.
I can feel it like a vacant hole and so,
my heart is like a tub of water losing
as it spins down the drain.

I suppose love is this:

You’re going to hold someone’s hand.
Love will take on a new shape.
You will meet someone special.
Your eyes will open in a way you could never imagine.
You’ll see them differently
And yourself too.

Someday, someone will sweep you off your feet.
Your life will spread its wings and, at last,
it’s like you can fly.

There will be moments when smiles come easy
And times when tears come easier.
It’s true
Love is tougher than anything; yet,
like breathing or the need for air,
love is this – Essential.

Same as there will be times when the sadness is overwhelming
and sadly, there will come a time
when I can no longer wipe the tears from your face –
I admit it
I might not do or say the right thing
But no matter what,
there will always be days with snow on the ground
Which means there will always be light.
So long as these things exist,
my love will always be with you.

I suppose this was more than a bedtime story.
Maybe this was a confession or an honest moment
or something about the state of affairs
or of the mass confusion which is life, which is love,
which is the cosmic nature of things.

This is the ebb and flow of the times – because sometimes,
the tides are high and sometimes the tides are low,
sometimes the sun is strong and the sky is blue
Other times, the clouds are thick
and the darkness can be deceiving.
Either way, I know there’s light for me
for you
and someday, we’ll know more
But for now –
Love is this thing that keeps me going,
even if I feel like I can’t take another step
(like now)
Love is very real.

Maybe I don’t know what love is
Maybe I’m a bad teacher – or afraid to be wrong

I know this:
I have love
I might not always know what to do with it –

But believe me . . .I’m learning
(or should I say)
At least I want to.

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