Planets, part 1: An astronomical metaphor
For the last 10 days, Delilah and Lilyana have been visiting Delilah’s family in Minnesota. As much as I miss them, the distance gives me time and space to contemplate and feel in different ways than I get to during our busy busy days:
When Delilah and I were first together, before Lilyana came, we were two planets who had come into each other’s orbit. As we became closer, the dance grew richer and more complex, then we chose to commit to one another and our orbits were permanently intertwined.
As Lilyana – or Emby as we called her then – grew in Delilah’s belly, we could feel our child-to-be’s energetic and physical presence, but she wasn’t totally “real”, she was still theoretical in a way because we couldn’t see her, smell her, nibble on her toes, hear her, or any of those things.
That all changed the day – no, the moment – she was born.
It was as if a new planet had spontaneously appeared in our constellation, one that instantly and forever changed Delilah, me, and us. A part of my heart, my brain, my awareness, my soul, something with a solid presence inside of me became permanently attuned to this new child, paying attention to where she was, her safety, her state of being.
Whatever else happened in my life, I would – and will always be – Lilyana’s father.
And there’s more: I got to and get to rejoice in the simple fact of her existence, to love her for simply being there, and to a degree, by connection and extension, rejoice in the existence of and have compassion for all beings, for aren’t we all infants at one time?
Even as I write this, my heart and chest are lighter, my belly has settled and I’m spontaneously sitting up straighter. My breathing has slowed and deepened. These are all signs of relaxation of the sympathetic nervous system, and the affective labels I’d use would be at peace, at rest, having more awareness, more aliveness and vitality. This is the state of being that deep down, I was desperately trying for all that time I was sitting alone and meditating. Who knew all (all??) I had to do was become a dad?
I’m looking forward to having them home, to finding out what’s changed in the time Delilah and Lilyana have been gone, maybe get freaked out a bit (Lilyana learned how to do forward flips on the trampoline?!?), and be part of our spinning, swirling dance.