When I look at my sons, I feel as if the complexities of my soul have been sundered into two separate facets and placed within each one of them. The following is a gross oversimplification of their as-yet undeveloped characters, but it’s what I think about, so I am going to let loose.
My older son dreams a lot. When he wakes up in the morning, he likes to chill out and let the tendrils of sleep ooze off of him slowly. When he is confronted with something new, he sits and observes. I can see the thoughts collecting into patterns in his eyes and when he has a picture he understands, a smile of comprehension lights up his face. He is a sensitive boy. He likes to watch things go down and silently process them. He loves to be around people and be the center of attention. I believe he thinks deep about things, as deep as one can for a two year old – which in my opinion is deeper than we can ever really know.
My younger son is boisterous, hot blooded and physical. He acts first and thinks later. When he wants something, he dives off in hot pursuit and won’t stop until he gets his hands on it. Usually it’s a toy my older son is playing with. He can take a beating from an older boy stoically and on more than one occasion he just blinks it off and strikes back. He is fearless and when he gets angry, his little body shakes with the fury of a one year old and he screams a challenge out. His little fists ball up and I can see the energy build up and explode out.
When my wife sent me pictures of him with Aiweiwei, I immediately went to plotting. I am more like my older boy, I think, but I have the inner heat of my younger one, no doubt. I want them to be themselves, but of course I can’t help but look for parallels in my own life because my true and unrelenting desire is to help them. I want to make sure my sons do not make the same mistakes their father made (and still makes on a daily basis).
I want them to have the best of me. I want to be able to see the worst in me before it takes a hold of their characters, and help them eradicate, accept, temper, utilize it all.
I want the dreamer to have the iron will of a warrior and the rebel to have the depth of perception of the dreamer. Looking at them, I learn more about myself as well. I need the iron will of a warrior to temper my tendency to dream life out, rather than live it. And I need to process my dreams quick, so when I do act, those acts are decisive yet calculating. We are a work in progress.