Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Illusion of Control

Pretty Lady was rather saddened by yesterday's Cary Tennis column; both by the question and by the Public Response to it. She was thrilled with Cary, of course. Her sadness was largely triggered by the fact that so few people appeared to agree with him.

I fear that this is a land mine in our relationship; one day we'll step on it and it will destroy our marriage. If I have the baby, I fear I would resent my husband and the child. I keep thinking about the 32 years of my life that would go to rearing children. I also fear that following through with the abortion would hurt the man I love, to whom I would give almost anything ... just not a child.

This is a different what if: What if two people could be imaginative enough, and flexible, disciplined and thoughtful enough, to create a plan that would make the wishes of all three participants come true -- and at this point I am indeed including this potential third being in the equation, for it is difficult to escape a feeling of awe at the miracle of pregnancy. A new life is beginning. It's nothing to sneeze at. It's worth giving some consideration to the possibilities.
...
And, again, not to be too mystical about it, but when life comes knocking, isn't it possible that it means something?
Pretty Lady, as I am certain you know, does believe that when life comes knocking, it means something. Moreover she believes that Love and Faith not only mean something, but are necessary tools with which to negotiate the uncontrollable chaos of this thing we call Life.

For it is clear to her that there are very few things in life which are under our control. This is a Fact. Pursuant to this fact, it has become clear to her that when we attempt to control our circumstances, our future, our relationships, particularly out of Fear, we tend to muck things up in far more mucky ways than Life can do all on its own.

And this letter points up the obvious fact that when we think that Life is under our control, it becomes Death. In our own bodies, this Life to Death by Control process is usually mysterious and alchemical; when expressed upon the bodies of others, it becomes all too drearily mechanical.

3 comments:

mitzibel said...

Sigh. *This* is why when I become Benevolent Dictator I'm going to put birth control in the water supply and make people pass an exam to get an antidote.

prettylady said...

That notion had occurred to me, too, Mitzibel. But the particularly tragic thing about this one is that the couple is in a happy marriage, financially stable, with a proven track-record in being able to raise children. There is no earthly reason that the Fear Factor need be so high.

Pretty Lady thinks that life is sometimes easier when we have fewer choices.

k said...

I think the stay-at-home dad suggestion is superb, myself. Everyone's a winner.

If it comes true, that is.

Perhaps part of her fear is that the actual example set by such men is not always what they agreed to. I just spent some time reading a post and comments about a man who resented the perhaps 1/10 of the total *single parenting* time he had to spend with his kids - and it was called babysitting, rather than parenting.

Babysitting.

Comments had it that it's quite common for dads to call their participation in child care *babysitting.*

That man is better about it now. How much? I don't know. But all along, everyone around him has freely considered him one of the Good Single Dads.

That's a terrible shame.

Everyone's a loser. And to the wife, and also the child/ren? True injustice.

I think of how men were as fathers when I was a child, and how very much they missed out on.

It looked to me that that was by choice on the part of the majority of them. Still, I could easily see how societal pressures acted very strongly against their taking a true active part in child-rearing.

Why I always said, way back then, when someone asked me if I was *for women's liberation?,* my stock answer was always, --Sure. Men's too. I'm for PEOPLE's liberation. Most men have no idea how much of life they're really missing, playing those stereotype roles of breadwinning, then after work hours, ignoring wife and family for the golf course and/or the bar, with the possible exception of tossing balls (base, basket, foot) with a Son.

Now, I read what a guy like Chris Rywalt writes and I think, Oh. Finally. Finally.

That's in today's world.

Clearly, we're not done yet.

If that was part of that wife's fear, that in the end the child-rearing would fall back on her - like a parent ends up taking care of that puppy the kid swore they'd faithfully feed and water and walk -

If that was, then it seems to me her fears aren't unjustified.

She sees the evidence all around her.