by David Dewitt
A day or two ago I found myself in a bit of a funk worrying about something and Finn picked up on it.
“What’s wrong Daddoo?” “Nothing,” I said, lying through my teeth. “Ok. Well come over here. This will help you feel better. Come play with me.”
And of course he was right. Co-building a Lego pyramid did seem to offer some relief.
I had noticed recently how quickly things can go from being a major disaster to being simply fine again with him. No emotion holds on for too long at this age except perhaps enthusiasm. That is the one thing that is in no short supply.
I would love it if worry was delayed from becoming part of his consciousness for as long as humanly possible. I wonder at what age it takes hold and when it becomes more difficult for one to flip the switch.
Erin and Finn run up a hill by their house. Photo by David
There’s that quote about worry attributed to Mark Twain, the wording of which seems to change each time it’s reprinted. My favorite version is, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”
I know worry is a waste of time. But it’s hard to give up something when you do it so well.
When Erin came home as chipper as could be, I jumped in the car to run some errands taking my preoccupation with me.
It was dark, raining and windy. The perfect backdrop for my mood. Then a mile or two down the road, the rain suddenly lessened and the most magnificent double rainbow stood out from the dark sky forming an archway right over the road. I had to pull over to take it in and call Erin. I resisted the urge to snap a picture. (It never really captures it anyway.) The wind was blowing hard and I knew it would be gone in a flash.
I thought of the guy on Youtube that videoed a double rainbow asking “What does it mean?” Then my grumpy inner voice interrupted: It’s just sunlight shining through the rain. It doesn’t mean anything. But it is beautiful, I thought. In fact one of the most beautiful complete rainbows I have ever seen.
And then it was gone just like that. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture! What was I thinking?!
I finished my errands and by the time I got back home the rain had nearly stopped completely.
It was almost dark and Finn was outside with Erin running up and down the hill in the drizzling rain.
“We saw it Daddoo! We saw the rainbow!” he yelled. “And look, there’s the moon!”
What was left of my funk was knocked out of the park at that point.
I hadn’t actively done anything to get rid of the worry. In fact I was trying to hold onto it for dear life.
But things kept chipping away at it.
Worrying is no fun when the world around you doesn’t cooperate.
David DeWitt is a painter, writer, and dad. He lives in Ulster County with his wife Erin and three year old son, Finn. To read David’s blog on art and fatherhood, visit daviddewitt.com.