Back in the 1990’s, I was busy playing guppy with all the girls and wide eyed with lots of fake promises to myself about the future. I barely knew where I was at the time, and could only imagine where I might go. I read lots of books that peddled to inquisitive natures like, “The Tao of Pooh, “The Doors of Perception”, “Where’s Waldo?”. Stuff I could talk to girls about. Wide ideas and a narrow experience. I knew I was lost, but I wanted to be there. I thought Ben Wa Balls were something to spin in your hand for meditation for crissake

I was young and alone and the only thing I had going for me was I was a boisterous extrovert. Fast to make friends and shake hands. I was absurd and small and obnoxious. I would strip my clothes off on a whim. I slapped people in the face. It was an awful part of my life that was only a manifestation of the loneliness of wanting to be alone. When I was alone, I worried. I tried to avoid that place even though I wanted it. I wept for the sunken feeling we all have experienced when we aren’t quite the person we want to be.

It was an awful cycle of, “growing up”. Most people never realize they aren’t ready for life. Some people absorb life and it ruins them. I embraced life, but not then. Not until later. Giving life a hug was a wonderful and humbling experience, but it is the most difficult thing for me to do.

Hugging life is like trying to carry a 50 lb canvas bag of beans across a football field. You don’t know why you are doing it, and if it breaks, you leave a trail.

That bag did have a hole and I carried it very far. I carried it until it was empty. And I still carry it now. I carry it in worry, under a cloud of substance abuse. Behind a curtain of happiness. Hiding in the sunlight of a window that often shines on my hope and despair.

I have two children now. I am older and almost wise. These children are toddlers, aged 3 and 2. They are wonderful people. I love them. I am working on the basement of our wonderful abode in South Minneapolis. I am emptying boxes of that life I made before them, a life of ideas and books and small treasures. One of the treasures was two pine box containers of Guatemalan worry dolls.

The two year old found them. Then she opened them. Little dolls spilled all over the stained plush carpet of the basement like sequins. Colors everywhere. Woven string wrapped around wood in the form of tiny 1 inch figurines. She uttered an, “uh oh”. Followed by my three year old exclaiming, “DOLLS!”

I had acquired the dolls years ago in my bibliophile hunting days at a thrift store tucked away behind some books. They were Guatemalan worry dolls. Children whisper their worries to the dolls and put them under their pillow at night and the dolls take away their worry. It’s a fantastic concept.

The two year old proceeded to line them all up and the three year old took them away and there was lots of crying and then we split them up and it was all good. Except for me. Because I realized what they might worry about.

I imagined that they might worry about me. About my problems and hopes and sacrificed dreams. That they might worry if I would be around much longer.

Dinner time came and I got them to pick up the dolls and put the dolls back in the oval pine boxes. They were meticulous in the process. The both used nimble fingers and hiccupped dexterity until the last of the dolls were left. That’s when the little person grabbed a doll and ran up and put it in my jeans pocket and then the bigger little person did the same.

They stood there in my wonder, my past, my hope and my future in them and me. They looked at me and I them into their glass blue green eyes of love. I will put those dolls under my pillow tonight to take my worries away.

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