Baby poop at one with the universe
It's impossible. You, my son, are two-years-old today. Happy birthday, Cannoli. Since you have little or no conception of what this means, I'll attempt to explain, though you must forgive me if it comes in fits and starts, seeing as you kept your mother and I up all night cutting teeth that will just fall out in a few years anyway. Enjoy them and the solid food you're supposed to use them on and hopefully the radius around your highchair will look less like a blast test area.
Being two means you've traveled twice around the sun, though from your perspective it's revolved twice around you, as has the rest of the universe of which you are the center. This is not just the perception of your mother and I due to our emotional, genetic and legal relationship to you. This is clearly how you feel too. To you, "yin and yang" is "solipsism and narcissism." The mere thought of an existence prior to yours is impossible for your wee mind to comprehend. It's nearly as impossible for your mother and I to recall the years before you as well, though I seem to remember something called a "date" and sleeping and something else that just slipped my mind, which has magically turned into a sieve since you showed up. And did I mention sleeping?
Like most children, you are a time machine. In your presence, we perceive time as either whizzing by or grinding to a halt depending on your mood swings and the status of your diaper. I've literally experienced time standing still in the men's room of a restaurant, juggling you, your beloved stuffed cheetah and a massive heap of poop, while rifling the diaper bag only to realize it was empty. Despite the caterwauling, the stink, my aching muscles and profound sense of parental failure, there was also a sudden, inexplicable calm. I had crossed the event horizon. I was matter and energy, everything and nothing, everywhere and nowhere. For a fleeting moment I could've talked shop with the Buddha and held my own. Mind you, I wasn't experiencing an inner-peace or some half-ass nirvana - I was simply no longer part of the equation. My very sense of self, on which I've labored and refined within inches of becoming a cartoon, had evaporated. I was one with the universe - a universe of stuffed cheetahs and poop.
When I came to, I firmly believed that there were far worse places to be. And I was grateful. Until I found myself in the exact same position three months later, except this time the poop was bigger. That's when I realized I wasn't bonding with the space-time continuum so much as experiencing parts of my brain permanently shutting themselves down because they could no longer cope. I'm totally stupid now.
Physicists need only spend a few hours with a toddler like you, my son, to gain a whole new appreciation for their trade. Relativity, shmelativity. First off, you and your ilk are the center of the universe. Your gravitational pull is so strong that time itself is sucked into it - whole years of my life have vanished and not just those I've spent in your presence. No, I'm quite sure you've siphoned off at least a decade from stress alone. This is not your fault and I won't hold it against you when I'm wondering why the hell it seems like it's over so quickly. But still, I'll attribute it to you or the smoking, which, of course, I quit years ago. Legally, however, I can't quit you for another 16 years. Apparently, I'll never quit working either. Like some cosmic punchline, you didn't show up until I was deep in my 30s when my financial plan was little more than "get rich and famous." At this point, it seems that your college tuition is going to preempt my retirement. Well played, my boy. Well played.
When I am a very old man and you are - well, my age - there might come a time when you too will wonder aloud about the nature of fatherhood and why it is you have apple sauce rubbed into the lapel of your coat. Please forgive me as I mumble some greeting card crap about the cycle of life, for there is no meaningful way to describe the unfathomable joy and heartbreak children bring us: the depth of the experience is infinite and the love - in our case, just two years in - is but a prelude to the eternal.
Then change my diaper.
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Daedalus Howell is FMRL.com.