Circles, Cycles, and Spirals: Musings of a Sleep-Deprived New Father

by ParentCo. January 08, 2017

father feeding cute little baby daughter with milk bottle

If this reads in any way disjointedly, please know it was not done for artistic reasons. I have had very, very little sleep.

Strange things happen when you’ve only slept for three-hour blocks at a time for a month straight. Wait… No… three-hour blocks is a successful night. It used to be worse. So much worse.

My daughter has opened a new world to me in ways that on some level I expected, and others I could never imagine.

One unexpected treat is where my mind goes around midnight as I walk in circles singing to my new little one. I live in a condo that has a living room with two entrances, one leads to the door of my home and a hallway. The other to my dining room and another hallway that connects to the previously mentioned hall. A bird looking down would see an L shaped wall separating all of these spaces. I walk around that L over and over again. My daughter, Erica, loves the feeling of bouncing to the rhythm of my steps, it comforts her and eventually leads to her slumber. Following this loop means I never need to break cadence.

Despite the L shape of the walls I follow, I feel as though I am walking in a circle. Circling around and around and around. As I pace and bounce (and sometimes skip) my way through this infinite loop, my mind sees a standing stereo speaker as my father. I am reminded of his late nights at work. I missed him then, and recognize now how he became more financially successful so that we were able to live without scarcity.

I pass an Alex Grey poster of a person in prayer, and I see my mother chanting at the gohonzon. I remember how, as I grew up, her religious explorations created an ever expanding divide between us.

I look down at my feet and see my toes as a small child dangling just above the floor. I’m a child again, sitting on a toilet. I’m constipated, hurting, and my mother sits lovingly, patiently next to me. She rubs my back, doing all she can to help me through a difficult time.

My daughter and I are two bodies hurtling through space, creating this circle with an unrelenting repetition.

Each night I walk this circle, and more connections are made between my childhood, the choices my parents made, how they influenced me, and who I have become. I’m too tired to judge with emotion. Instead, I look at my memories as I pass them, sometimes looking down at them, sometimes tilting my head for a different angle, a new perspective.

I witness my connection with my parents, and realize that we, too, have walked these circles before. Late nights of calming me, stepping through their waking dreams and witnessing their own childhoods. Their parents did this as well. These circles become cycles.

Through all the love, selfishness, and misguided actions of our ancestors, we arrive here, the continuation of another cycle. My family has been creating circles and cycles for as long as life has existed.

How will I behave? What will I add to this circle? How will those choices influence the next seemingly infinite cycle? If the questions actually arrive in my brain with the same clarity as the words on this page, the answers certainly never do. Instead, a cross between a feeling, a thought, and a mission shoot out from my body.

When a body travels in a circle, it tends to stir up the material it’s circling through. This material spirals outward. Every person I speak to. Every person I don’t make eye contact with. Every choice I make spirals outward into the universe. Every day I continue walking the circle my past has left in my hands. Every day I walk this circle and know now that I influence the next one.

My daughter in my arms, I walk and dream of the spirals we will make together, reaching out into this universe with our hearts, our minds, and our actions.



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