behind the curtain

The tl;dr version of this is that I’m pretty sure I discovered the secret to life.

However, since I’ve never been brief in my entire life, let me get to that point through a story.

In the past 10+ months, I’ve learned (humbly, I might add) that all parenting clichés are true. Yes, every one. It’s true that you forget how to just be alone and what your life looked like prior to every thought and conversation being driven by your tiny human; yes, you do have your physical heart scooting/crawling/walking around outside your chest; yes, it does change your marriage/sense of self/friendships/everything.

It feels as though my life has split into two distinct halves: the blissful ignorance and black and white of pre-parenthood, and the all-knowing, man-behind-the-curtain, all-sorts-of-new-colors post-parenthood. As I look around through these new eyes, everything seems different. Here’s where we get to the good part. I was talking to my sister a few weeks ago when this idea just popped out of my mouth: two feelings that should be completely opposite of one another can exist in the same space at the same time. In any given moment, you can be both exhausted and elated; you can be struggling and still get one foot in front of the other; you can be heartbroken and hopeful.

It’s the most surprising lesson I’ve learned so far. I’m just now realizing there might be half of you thinking “duh Ryan. Welcome to parenthood.” I’m gonna bring it all together now (I’m a little rusty – I haven’t written for myself in quite some time). There’s a light and a dark and a rainbow of colors and they all make up a life. There’s the happiness and the heartbreak and the love (so much love) and the disappointment and the anger and the struggle and so many more. It all can coexist at once. Once I realized there’s this next level to my emotional understanding and I learned to respect it, life became so much sweeter for me. I can watch my son pull himself up and feel so proud and I can also understand that he’ll keep growing and learning and everything will always change forever and ever, the end. It’s heavy but it’s okay. That moment isn’t marked by a one-dimensional feeling. I’m feeling in three dimensions now.