I want him to know there is a line of people who came before him. They made his body with their own bodies. Many of them broke their bodies to make him, in the fields, in factories, in workshops, in valleys older than Rome. And none of that is a weight he has to shoulder, but a gift, a reminder that he is protected, anointed, willed into this life by the force of a spirit that wanted to live, first inside of me, second beside me, for which I will always be indebted to God, a starburst of gratitude. And this spirit is like a wind, its strength gathered across oceans, across generations.
I want him to know these people gave him a story. It’s the same story I share with them, and his father shares, and they gave us a culture, full of mores and rituals and traditions and Elementals that teach how to be and how not to be. He doesn’t have to figure it out from scratch. He doesn’t have to run around, searching, when so much is already within him. There are some people in this world who would view that as a burden, because they think they are individual. They believe they are singular. Like a boat, cut from the fleet, they drift perilously toward the horizon, and then wonder why everything feels upside down, empty, a malaise with no name, a phantom with no face. But we are not those people. And among the many things I will ask of him, I’ll ask him to remember that.
I want him to know it’s his turn, now, to add to the story. His life is the next surface this wind will travel across. The onward and outward. And he gets to write it with his own body, his own will, and I just want him to know that when he does, when he goes out into the world and becomes the man his grandfathers and great grandfathers always knew he would be, I want him to know—he doesn’t go alone.
Were you taught you belong to something? Are you teaching your children that they do, or plan to teach them when you have them? I’d love to hear how. I could use tips and pointers! 👇🏻