Building a Fortress



Fortress by Queens of the Stone Age 2017


Before I officially became one, back when I only imagined being a parent, I had all kinds of ideas about how it would go and how my kids would respond to my wonderful parenting. Then reality hit. I constantly screwed up, said the wrong things, got upset at stupid bullshit and just generally disappointed myself regularly. I looked forward to other chances and opportunities. I measured the time left until my kids moved on as adults or, much sooner, stopped listening as teenagers. That time used to seem so far away! "I have 12 years to make up for saying/doing ______" has been replaying continuously in my head during my time as a parent.

I've had a feeling since we moved back from the Philippines that time was slipping away. I grasp at it, but it's like trying to catch smoke. The 12 years to make up for everything is down to a number that I can easily count on one hand. It kills me. I try to motivate myself to be a better person and parent, but Kronos just sits by laughing as I cry about lost time. 

It isn't about my time slipping by. I'm way past the amount of time that I deserved or earned on this earth, and I'm pretty OK with that. The feeling of discomfort is always about my kids' childhoods slipping by me. I started being a parent with unrealistic expectations for myself and my kids; this feeling is inevitable when you start from the wrong place. All hope is not lost. The two I have are pretty great kids, and I think I have it in me to get better at the job.  

Josh Homme captured the essence of my struggle with parenting in Fortress, which he wrote with Queens of the Stone Age. Instead of imagining how everything should turn out, I began to realize that all that I could do was to provide a fortress for whenever they needed it. But just because I simplified the concept, it didn't make the job, or the feeling of failing at it, any easier.

We're trying to remodel our fortress for the baby. I have one cobbled together with tape and found materials, but it feels like I should know a lot more about fortress building by now. 

Fortress

Your heart is like a fortress

You keep your feelings locked away

Is it easier?

Does it make you feel safe?


You wander through the darkness

Of wilderness behind your eyes

I know you're afraid

But you gotta move on


Every fortress falls

It is not the end

It ain't if you fall

But how you rise that says

Who you really are

So get up and go through

If ever your fortress caves

You're always safe


I believe I know you

Yet I don't truly know myself

I pray you won't feel as alone

As I have felt


I don't want to fail you so

I tell you the awful truth

Everyone faces darkness on their own

As I have done, so will you


Every fortress falls

It is not the end

It ain't if you fall

But how you rise that says 

Who you really are

So get up and go through

If ever your fortress caves

You're always safe in mine


The Earth spins 'round the sun

And behind everything happens

Every night that falls breaks

To sunrise


If your fortress is under siege

You can always run to me

If your fortress is under siege

You can always run


Every fortress falls

It is not the end

It ain't if you fall

But how you rise that says

Who you really are

So get up and go through

If ever your fortress caves

You're always safe in mine


If ever your fortress caves

You're always safe in mine

If ever your fortress caves

You're always safe in mine

Come on through

Come on through


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Hey, Dude! Advice for life from an old dad, No 1--Don't be a dick.

Here it comes!