I’m the proud Nana to another baby boy. Kaison was born almost two weeks ago and like all babies has already tucked into our hearts just like that.
With the exception of his older and slower to adjust big-brother Dorian.
Now Dorian is a mere 15 months old, and has been the sole benefactor of his sweet mamma’s attention. Until now.
Day One found Dorian taking in this wee bundle with sidelong glances. That evening he sat on his Mamma’s lap touching Kaison’s ear and hair as baby nursed. All was appearing to be well.
Until the next morning.
Upon waking, and seeing that baby was still there and nursing as before, Day Two found Dorian in a well of tears and meltdown and despair. He spent the rest of that morning refusing to have anything to do with Mamma. He wouldn’t look at her, wouldn’t hug her, was simply angry.
Each morning thereafter, Days Three to Eight, was a repeat. Each morning Dorian woke to find Kaison was still there and broke down into tears.
On Day Ten I babysat the boys and was amazed. Dorian is a changed little boy. Where before he was high-maintenance, demanding, needy, is now a matured little man.
I’ve never had so easy an afternoon babysitting. I hear this is the same at home. Both his Mom and Dad are exclaiming at how easier their life has become now that another boy had joined the family.
Watching this maturity in Dorian unfold I am reminded of the power of futility. Years back I learned about the necessity within us to have the ability to go from mad to sad. That only as we can go from mad to sad are we made resilient and able to emotionally mature.
When Dorian was born, he was mad. The moment he was laid on his Mamma’s tummy his expression and cry was one of anger. And he’s been mad ever since really. Now he has learned futility – ‘No the baby is not going away. Yes the baby is here to stay.’
And in that futility he has matured years so it seems. He’s only 15 months old, but carries himself like he is much older.
This gift of futility, the ability to go from mad to sad, is there for all of us to enter into.
My own failed marriage was this gift of futility for me, a car accident years back was the same, failures, pain, loss, you name it, all of it helps to mature us. No matter what it is we have the choice of staying mad, or of allowing futility.
I am convinced that at the core of humility is this ability to enter into futility. When our best laid plans, the ideals by which we live, the rose-colored glasses that come with narrowed vision, are all laid down and we realize that we just can’t make everything work out the way we like, this is when we really begin to live.
Pushing hard against reality, demanding things go a certain way, simply leaves us fragile.
Anti-fragile, on the other hand, is about strength from the inside out, it is about humility that cannot be humiliated, it is about a deep knowing that no matter how bad things might get, we are okay.
Pride laid down, always reaps harvest of life. Dorian matured ten times last week. He is more settled with himself, less demanding of others (and life in general), and seems to understand that there are others besides himself.
Something we might all be grateful to learn.