When I was younger, I invested some amount of time going to parties and getting drunk and getting high. Not anything dangerous. Just a dosed sweet tart once, some marijuana at one point, and the rest was the really good high you get off of hunch punch. This intake was about the experience at first, but later it was also about finding that certain moment of stillness where everything makes sense.
I know that sounds counterproductive-losing control to find certainty. However, I have experienced it once or twice at about 4 am while walking home or while dancing in someone’s living room. It is a strange sort of certainty that right at that moment you actually know who you are. Some thing that is so important you have to stop what you are doing and contemplate it for a moment.
When I got married I pretty much quit the occasional drug use-both legal and illegal, aside from the occasional cocktail on my birthday. Not because the hubby minded-he thought having a drunk, uninhibited wife every once in a while was rather nice. I gradually stopped because I was outgrowing the people who did that sort of thing in my circle of friends. Eventually I outgrew that circle of friends almost entirely.
And as thing have a way of happening when you throw out the condoms and the pill, I got pregnant. I found out many things in the next nine months that no one prepared me for. One of which is that elusive feeling I had chased through all those parties could almost be found feeling another being move inside of you. I say almost because there is no certainty at that time. Everything is uncertain because of the waiting and the stress. Of course, that feeling comes to a screaming end, and there is a baby.
In the beginning, a baby cries, eats, urinates, and defecates. It does eventually learn to smile at you and everyone else in the room. A baby is probably the biggest investment people make. It is usually the investment that most people never research before committing themselves too.
At first, the exhaustion that permeates your life seems to suck all the joy out of it. Intellectually, you know you are really happy, but physically you can’t show it because the energy isn’t there. As time goes on, the baby comes to have a name, a gender, and a personality. Then suddenly, I am playing with this little person, and she laughs. I laugh with her, and because I am laughing, she laughs some more. Then it hits me.
My child’s laughter is what I was searching for. Hearing her laugh is that feeling of certainty that I knew exactly what was going on that I chased for ten years. I’ve found that making her laugh makes everything all right in my world. Some say this comes from my own maturity. Others might comment that what I’m looking for doesn’t exist, because certainty doesn’t exist in the real world. I have only one thing to say to both arguments. Love, when nurtured, is constant between parent and child. And I think this is where that certainty in our places in the universe comes from. As much as I love my husband and my parents, I still didn’t find that certainty until I had my first child.