marathon…

Nobody likes to be the parents of those bratty kids you see in public, at least we don’t like being the parent while they act that way. As a parent of one (or more) of those kids you see (and/or hear) whining and stomping and saying rude things I can assure you that we are in fact just as fed up as you are. We’re more fed up than you are, so there.

I’ve read every book about “spirited” or “strong willed” children I can put my hands on and I come away with a couple of things from all my research on the subject.
1) My strong willed children are either highly intelligent and capable of doing amazing, mind numbing things who will go on to rule the known universe or are solid miscreants who will end up in prison
and
2)both scenarios are a direct result of my parenting.

Ok, maybe there’s a happy middle in there. I’m willing to entertain that idea. I think I actually NEED to believe there is a happy middle in there somewhere.

It gets me to thinking though about how much my children are little reflections of me. I’m not sure that’s wise or healthy, I’m just saying that’s how it is right now. I might be going through a stage.

I heard a woman once say that “our children are not our fruits but our gifts…” meaning that our children are really not the “fruit of our labor” but rather that we have them for a time, for safekeeping, for nurturing…they were a gift and a gift, in my estimation that we have to release at some point as well.

Maybe it’s not all about me, after all. Maybe I’m not to blame, maybe I’m not to honor. Crap, I have a lot of work to do yet.

And now, right now…honestly, as I sit here and write about how hard it is to raise these little people I’m watching my youngest sitting on a chair at the table quietly eating blueberries one after another, he looks over to smile at me and it’s poetry. I can’t explain it in mere prose. I might be able to write a poem about the feeling that comes in this quiet moment between storms, perhaps.

The best metaphor I have is that this moment is a glass of water given to a marathon runner in the middle of the race. I didn’t know how thirsty I was until just now.

sacred…

Growing up I’d spend a lot of time at my cousin’s house. We were the same age although she was the youngest of 6 and most of her siblings were grown and gone from the house while I was sandwiched into the middle of the 4 children in our house.

My aunt’s house was quiet. It was soothing to me. Sometimes I’m unsure whether it was being with my cousin that was the draw or whether it was more being at her house. I loved her house. It was a smallish, ranch style home with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, livingroom, diningroom and familyroom. The flow of the house was meandering and mystifying while the style was modern (well, 1970’s style modern, that is) and clean. What struck me the most though was the formal livingroom.

There was an odd reverence for the room. All of the furniture was white. White couches, white tables, white carpet. With it’s picture window overlooking the peaceful yard it had the best “view” in the whole place, hands down. It may as well have been behind glass because NO ONE entered the room. Even during large family gatherings NO ONE went into the room. I thought it was amazing and confusing. WHY would anyone want an entire room that was untouched? I puzzled this for years as a child. I wanted to be in that room SO badly. I wanted to sit on that couch and stare out the window but I never did that. The unspoken sacredness of the formal diningroom was an invisible fence and I was a rule follower. I think I mourned the loss of that room because I remember vowing that I would never have a room in my house that no one could enter.

Today as I sit in my own livingroom with a picture window that looks out over our yard and I watch the bluebirds play on my porch I am reminded of that vow. Toys scattered on the floor in front of me, children screaming and running through, furniture sticky with jam and god knows what. I am suddenly struck with great love for my aunt…and great envy. I envy her room. Damn it, I want that room. I want that sacredness. I hear myself using that mom phrase “Why can’t I have anything NICE in this house??” as my children beat up my room.

In my quest to be the laid back, bohemian dictator parent I find more and more that I yearn for the quiet, white room at my aunt’s house and I understand now her thinking. I understand too why I wanted to be in there so much. My house growing up was loud, crowded, not dirty but not immaculate like the white room. We had no dedicated sacred space in our house. I don’t think that it even occurred to us, we were so emotionally strung out at that time, to create that space.

My aunt, for whatever reason, maybe it was cultural, maybe it was selfish, maybe it was accidental…she created a sacred place in their home and I was drawn to it. I understand it now. I wish I had understood it then.

I wonder how it would have consoled me? I wonder if it would have instilled in me a better sense of that sacredness as I set up my own home.
I wonder now if it’s too late. I hope not.

words fail…

I’m glad I’m not a comedian, I mean, for a living.

There’s this huge drawback to the whole “heart on her sleeve” personality. I just can’t fake “happy.” I don’t HAVE to fake sad because to be honest I’m in constant touch with “sad.” Sometimes I think that “sad” owns this building and the rest of my emotions just rent space here. So, when “happy” is on vacation somewhere tropical I just can’t summon her. She’s out of range.

I guess there’s good in this. When you see me in person and ask how I am I’ll tell you, hopefully without emotionally vomiting all over your shoes but mostly I’ll answer honestly. I’m easy to read. I have always liked that about me, except when the sad is so strong I can’t speak. I hate that part…because I’m all words.

Anyone who knows me in person knows how I love to speak. I love words, I love inflection, I love the reaction. I love to listen, don’t get me wrong, words when I’m alone are not nearly as satisfying as words shared. I REMEMBER words more readily when they are spoken in communion with another person. That’s important.

It’s interesting to me that what leaves me when I get in touch with the deep sad is my words. I’m a warrior without a blade. I wonder what is in that. I wonder what lesson that has for me? Perhaps instead of just hating that part of me I ought to consider what strength that has, consider what gift it brings.

I have said before that in the face of grief that words fail. Maybe that is the lesson the deep sad has to teach me:
“Be here now. Feel this.”

That will take some practice but heaven knows I have opportunity to practice.

can’t hurry love…

It’s an odd time right now. Waiting to find out if we can move into Nashville, waiting for some new projects to hit so we can afford said move, waiting for the other shoe to drop on a number of fronts…but what is most present for me today is that I’m waiting on some injured relationships to come into healing.

Nothing is stand alone. Everything is connected. It all hinges so delicately on the piece that comes before and after. And so I’m waiting. I hate to wait. I’d much rather just order each piece according to my whim, tell everyone what to do to resolve all difficulties and damn the torpedos, full speed ahead. Sadly, damning torpedos is going to most likely just going to lead to an explosion that causes more casualties.

So, I’m treading carefully around those torpedos and I’m waiting. Idling slowly forward through troubled waters.

I do so in the name of love. It’s loving to wait for time to apply some salve and work it’s particular brand of magic. It’s honorable…
I’m certain…and it’s painful. I won’t lie. I hate it a lot and I miss my friend, a lot.

In this as in all things, though, I am Mrs Metaphor…I have to find the lesson here, I have to find the meaning or what is the point, really. If I don’t spend time looking at it in the context of big picture while grieving each passing moment then I’m more likely to move out of that place of love and into resentment city and that’s just no damn good.

So I wait and hope and issue tears and hope some more.