When all is said and done, the act of being a parent involves a set of radically unselfish and often incomprehensibly inconvenient activities. Two adults who could otherwise employ their time and resources in pleasurable activities of various kinds elect to seek housing and provide food and other facilities for completely dependent organisms whose personal schedules, furthermore, could not be at greater variance with adult ones, and who will involve their parents literally for decades in a compromise between a program of work or pleasure and the requirements of their offspring. It is not altogether remarkable that parents may have one child, if only in error or because of confused expectations of bliss. What is truly remarkable is that most parents have more than one child.
I'm in love with this country called "America." I'm a huge fan of America. I'm one of those annoying fans — you know, the ones that read the cd notes and follow you into bathrooms and ask you all kinds of annoying questions about why you didn't live up to that. I'm that kind of fan. I've read the Declaration of Independence, and I've read the Constitution of the United States, and they are some liner notes, dude.
I'm the kind of person who would rather get my hopes up really high and watch them get dashed to pieces than wisely keep my expectations at bay and hope they are exceeded. This quality has made me a needy and theatrical friend, but has given me a spectacularly dramatic emotional life.
There is a time in life when you expect the world to be always full of new things. And then comes a day when you realize that is not how it will be at all. You see that life will become a thing made of holes. Absences. Losses. Things that were there and are no longer. And you realize, too, that you have to grow around and between the gaps, though you can put your hand out to where things were and feel that tense, shining dullness of the space where the memories are.
The thing about surviving something truly tragic is that it changes your expectations forever. You make do with very little. You're grateful for crumbs. You make the best of small mercies. You endure large trials. You understand that life owes you nothing. You expect nothing, and when something wonderful happens, you don't trust it.