the zen of paternity leave

I see that many parents get bored on parental leave.  All that talking to toddlers.  All the simple play, wiping food off faces, changing diapers.

I get that.  I get bored.

But it also quiets my mind.  I go a little Zen – or Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid, if you want.

Wax on, wax off.

I wrote about this last year, about the sandbox, but that was a summer thing.  This is an everyday thing.

All that repetitive motion – rolling the ball, closing and opening the pop up toy, lifting the baby off the dining room table, singing the same Swedish nursery rhymes over and over and over at open preschool.

And, again, the sandbox, new in spring, with wet sand just below the surface cluttered with the leaves and twigs of fall and winter.  The rake.  The shovel.  The immediate smashing of every sand castle you build.


I just finished a book called Myth and Ritual in Christianity by Alan Watts (yes, I read almost oddly serious books in Daddyland – that is probably to balance all that baby time that I am in the middle of romanticizing.  The thought of reading, say, Dan Brown right now is unthinkable, and I cannot watch bad TV either.)  He was a Buddhist writing about myth in Christianity, so don’t draw any conclusions one way or another.

I am tired so I lost the exact quote, but he writes about imagery of God as a hand writing across space and time with the words erased immediately, or a spark on a similar path.

And I see that in my life with my kids, every giggle and “Ta Da!” from the top of the dining room table.  I feel that spark because I am home and with them and life has slowed down, and it does not matter that the spark moves on.

OK, it does matter.  I am not a Buddhist.  But, still, I get the point, and it is a beautiful one.


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