The Koan Which Stumped Me

“What is the sound of one hand clapping?”  That’s one koan which has stuck to me since college.  A koan is defined as a paradox which Buddhist monks are trained to meditate upon, in order to train them to abandon all reason as they gain enlightenment.

But that’s not even half as cerebrally-challenging as what my daughter just recently said to me.   From out of the blue, she told me this- with a tear or two trickling down her cheeks- “I want a family…

I was dumbfounded.  For the life of me, I didn’t know what to say to her.  Although my heart doesn’t have vocal chords, it was wailing and screaming from the pain it felt.  My insides were all knotty, as I searched the recesses of my brain for an answer.

“Even if your papa doesn’t live with us, we’re still a family”, was the best I can come up with.  I further explained through choked tears, “There are all kinds of families.  Some are made up of mom, dad and the kids, while some are just mom and the kid.  What’s important is everyone in the family- big or small- loves each other.”

I was hoping she bought it.  She was just quiet as I hugged her with all my supermommy strength.

The following day, I brought home a book from the library: Todd Parr’s The Family Book.


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It’s a colorful picture book which shows the different types of families, and conveys the message that each family is unique and special in its own way.

My dear friends, how would you handle it if you were put on the spot like that?  Help me… please hold my hand as I tread along this path to enlightenment…