Tennessee will be six months old next week. That fact is just unbelievably hard to believe, and I say that not in astonishment about time moving quickly or anything like that but rather in astonishment that we are all still alive six months later.
There have been times when I wanted to chuck Ten off the nearest cliff, leave her on the front stoop for the birds to eat or send her off to live with strangers in a strange place. But those thoughts are just momentary, caused by the unraveling of the knots of sanity in the dark hours of night or the squinting light of some dawn we weren’t looking forward to seeing.
Being a parent to an infant is by far the most challenging thing you will ever see me write about. Breaking up with circle acres? Lame and tame in comparison.
There are no short days anymore, no time to relax or even read a book. If I’m not working I’m with Ten or helping with Ten or doing the things that support Ten and support Kristin. If there is a spare minute I’m taking a few pictures or getting around to fermenting some green beans or fetching a ham out of the freezer or rubbing Kristin’s shoulders.
I can see the relationship between myself and Ten starting to take shape, imaging what we will be doing together when she is nine months old, a year old, five years old. I can see her personality foaming and melting and scattering from little fragments of her parents’ own strong wills, desires and work ethic.
Ten has no choice but to become whatever she wants to be, outside of all the cultural baggage and white privilege that she also had no choice about. We can explain to Ten the uselessness of Santa, gender norms and authority while instilling the usefulness of respect, community and DIY. But it will be a constant battle with other parents and society to explain to them that Tennessee is not theirs to mold and shape into a consumer of mediocrity like the rest of us.