Joseph Scialabba is a single father from the Chicago area who unexpectedly lost the mother of his child to drug addiction. This blog post chronicles his experience with raising a female child alone in the 21st century.
Watching my daughter grow and evolve is truly a blessing to me. For a guy that didn't think he would live past 25 years old, and sometimes is still surprised each sharp chest pain isn't the end, it’s something I truly relish. I adore watching her interact with other children, fearlessly walking up to new friends in waiting, or expressing her creativity through painting. The innocence of a child's heart is truly a amazing thing to watch in action.
Children are what we all were before the world changed us, made us cold, made us hate, or ground us down into a nub. They love without fear, they explore without reserve, and express without restriction. Growing up is a trap, we lose ourselves in a mountain of bills, stress, and often times lose direction and touch on who we really are. We scurry about in a rat race to get ahead and spend our best years tucked away in a cubicle crunching numbers and tps reports (if you get that reference you haven't grown up all the way).
When confronted with the loss of the love of my life and mother of my child, I found myself asking, would I be pleased with my life, if i died tonight. Would I have done all the things I wanted to do, achieved all the goals I had set for myself, would I be happy with it all? After some deep soul searching I realized that I couldn't say I would be. I don't want to enter the golden years of my life, if I make it that far, with any sort of regret that I didn't do the things I wanted to do, see the places I wanted to see, loved the people I wanted to love. I wanted more than wishing I bought the plane ticket or asked out the woman of my dreams; I wanted to seize those things.
To rediscover your hunger and love as an adult can be a challenge, let’s face it, free time is often a luxury most of us don't have much of, especially if you're a parent. I went many years without writing a word, but once I started again I couldn't ever remember why I stopped in the first place. Writing is cheaper than a therapist and I can do it anywhere. To rediscover those things that you love can touch something within you, a piece of what made you real and great, it can reignite the fire of what made you want to change the world, before the world changed you.
We won't ever be the wide eyed children we once were, baited breath on each new experience, that much is true. We can teach our children about our passions though, our hobbies, and not only rediscover something we loved, but pass on that love and admiration for an experience to our next of kin. Sometimes as adults it’s hard to see the forest through the trees, so when it gets blinding, when the pressure gets to be too much, take a min, and watch your child play, remind yourself that life is only as difficult as we accept, and that while we may not be able to change THE world, we can still change theirs, and ours for the better. It's easier then you think.
That little part of your soul that still likes to play in the mud, jump your bike or paint is still there, waiting to be fed. Don't ignore it. We all get caught up trying to earn, get ahead, and make the best life we can. If you're worked to the point that you don't even feel alive anymore is it truly worth it though. Your job will replace you before your obituaries posted. Feed your soul, nourish your creative spark, and don't grow up. The day you stop learning is the day you start dying.
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