Originally posted Sunday, November 25, 2007
A note of thanks. I have recently exercised good judgment in my personal, life-planning affairs, and I’m thankful for it. I’m also thankful for Kaiser and their Urology Department and the amazing wonders of that miracle of modern medicine known as: The Vasectomy.
Lo it was a pleasant, if darkish night Monday, November 12, 2007 that I did make my way out to the Walnut Creek Kaiser Permenente Facility after work to have this amazing “walk-in/walk-out” procedure done for a co-pay cost of only $15! Oddly I could not find anyone to give me a lift home (they advised that the, ummm, pain and discomfort can be a little much and one ideally would like a ride.) Well it all seemed poetically apt, if ya ask me, so I accepted that I would face every angle of the dangle alone, as we are of course in our decisions — ultimately.
I took with my rod and my staff….whoa, wrong blog! I’ll start again: I took with me a borrowed copy of Joseph Campbell’s “Hero With a Thousand Faces” and in my recent, highly intentional, vibrationally in-tune reading of that perfect, essential book, happened to be on the part of the hero’s atonement with the father (as part of the hero’s journey to universal mastery, ie, SELF mastery.) It was not really a huge coincidence, as I knew the book would hold some nice thoughts, which I needed badly to help me stop the increasingly painful and steady throb coming from my ole boys down south, my family jewels, the guys, the two berries, my balls!
Guys, you know how it is. Well they knew what time it was, I can tell ya. And I was gettin’ angry, red faces, raised fists, and a totally unpleasant psycho-somatic pain there which was basically the ole testes saying “What the fuck do you think you’re about to do? WE’RE in charge, here, MISTER! Or have you forgotten?” throb throb
Well I would not allow any turning back.
Atonement with the father…..
Joseph Campbell slyly points out that the word “atonement”, in this case, holds a simple way to decode the mythic truth he was elucidating. I.e., at one-ment with the father. Typical of his works, he meticulously skips through so many myths from hither and yon describing the intense meetings of protagonist heroes with their always-estranged and usually fairly beastly daddies (father as ogre). The son stumbles into the same dilemmas, the same conflicts, the same choices as the father. It (only) ends heroically when the hero-son truly realizes he IS the father; the fathers’ dilemmas are his own.
It’s then that our hero has arrived and can move forward.
Well, for those who know the details of my personal daddy story….this was Ride-to-the-Vasectomy GOLD!
backstory re: my dad vs. getting on with the story
If you already know the deal with my dad, skip to part two by (clicking here.
If you don’t know, and want to find out right now, read on, then go to part two. But hell, we both know you can skip to part two, anyway, if you want! ;-)
(short backgrounder on the deal with my dad: As a dear friend from high school always addressed me after hearing my birth story, I am a “looove child”: my parents were not married, and I was conceived the one night they spent together in 1970. They’d met in the summer of love, mom a recent college grad, dad a 40-something artist and art professor from England. She hadn’t known until earlier that night in 1970 that he was married with two daughters; he didn’t know until 9 months afterwards that she’d been impregnated and had a son. Snap! Snap!
When, in February 2005, as relations with my wife had reached a point of contention both intolerable and undeniable, our fantastic daughter a year and a half old, and both of us (former high-income earners) dealt with unemployment, my wife announced that she was pregnant and absolutely had ruled out any choice other than taking it to term (despite her exercising such choice at other times lucidly deemed unwise for introducing a new life into her own) I suddenly for the first time saw a pretty clear facsimile of what my dad had 34 years previously. A choice made by someone else as to his having a child. This is no small matter. It is the least pleasant state of mind and being I’ve ever experienced because the weight of the responsibility is so real. In other words, parenting consciously, mindfully, imparting to a baby or child unwavering faith in them, speaking to them in a way to foment confidence, watching their process in order to avoid smothering them in projections, to say nothing of the financial resources necessary to merely function…is the only way to parent as far as I’m concerned, and operating to the level of my own high standard is made orders of magnitude more challenging when both parents have no job, and are already using all their resources to focus on one child. I have no idea if that’s what my dad felt and thought about having a child he hadn’t expected or wanted, but that shape of the situation (decision minus his input) was identical.
It took little time for me to realize how to never have that happen again. But it was a while until I had health insurance. And ya know what, as soon as I did and called about vasectomies, I found out this hilarious and utterly comforting fact: I am not alone. In fact, I was at the end of a many-month waiting list for men who want to get fixed! It cracked me up.
I hope it’s needless to say, but will anyway, that I made the opposite choice that my dad did faced with the same situation. But facing that selfsame dilemma was the warmest moment I’d had in my head w/ my old man in my life. I would never again be able to hold on to any anger at his turning away from me (after the few times I’d seen him as a kid). I suppose it’s called forgiveness. And it was palpable. That darkest of emotional and mental periods in my life was of course the first part of the peace (sic) of coming to fatherhood a second time, and that second time to a son. If that’s not straightforward, in your face life lessons, as if written by Sophocles, Carl Jung, and Joseph Campbell, themselves, then I’m sure I don’t know what is; what could be more plain.
The words I had myself written for my friend’s impending, daunting fatherhood in 1994 rung across the years back to me: “Only he can say to himself / ‘it’s your job and your do’ / and be heard.” Fatherhood poetic indeed.
And in case it’s not yet crystal clear, my children are everything to me. Each a marvel of existence with their own unique spots carved in my being. My daughter is Athena, as far as I’m concerned: my firstborn, and thus sharer of a bond totally on its own among all. And my son…well, shit, he’s my check-in spot, he’s The Land to my King Arthur; being his Daddy — their Daddy — is the gravity of my inner solar system and in some beautiful way a deserved redemption of the sins of the fathers preceding us.
In settling on naming that baby boy the name I had picked years earlier IF I were ever to father a son, I began the steps that enabled me at his birth to see him extracted from my wife’s uterus (C-section) and then take him in my hands with no less love than any of you can imagine a parent having for a child as if saved from a fire, carry him to the room where they clean ’em and all that, and bond with him for a blessed hour alone before my wife and his mother joined us after being stitched back up.
I meant for this to be shorter, but the point is this: because of the choice my own father made in the face of a decision in which he had less input than he may have wanted, I could never in a trillion zillion years choose anything with regard to a child of mine than to be a fully engaged, enraptured and exultant parent. Aaaand, that very marrow-born sense of duty also dictates very distinctly that watering down resources does not for optimum conditions of child-rearing make. I also know that the pleasure principle can get the better of us. The dilemmas of the father are the son’s. But I digress…time for that goddamn vasectomy! ;-))