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Archive for the ‘honesty’ Category

It is no small thing to talk about the child who made me a mother at age 24.

Isaac’s cries, his coos, his giggles, his feet plumping up, taking one tentative step then another- these were the things that ushered in my adulthood. They were the soundtrack playing while I became more patient, a bit stronger, more selfless and a bit more myself.

These days I am reminded of Isaac’s toddlerhood (not the tantrums or the sobbing, mostly) but the incredible deliciousness of discovering his apartness from me and the novelty getting to see him from a far. I remember noticing his growth- how large he would seem in my mother’s arms, or at the top of a slide. I remembering him returning to me more himself than before with a satisfied grin and sturdier legs – a being who owned his space in the world.

These years will be more of the same. I am proud to be your mother- the one you can leave and return to as more and more of yourself. You are funny, you are kind. You are smart. You have more thoughts at one than most people I know. You are fiercely independent and helpful at the same time. You are a loyal friend, brother and son.

When you were born, the nurses put you on my chest and my first words were struggling ones- words I know now are the very essence of young motherhood trying to integrate the pure body experience of pregnancy with the reality of a needy,wet human in her arms. I said, “Is that you? Is that you? Is that who you are?”

Every day since day that you have told me, “Yes.”

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I’m not holding out hopes for much support here, but I am starting a grudge match against the country of Italy. Anyone want to jump on the bandwagon with me? No? Okay. What if I made an exception and said you could still like the people, the art, the music, the food, the wine, the coffee, the lingerie and the shoes?

That’s better. My best friend is moving to Italy in a matter of months now & I’m not taking it well. I’ve decided to boycott Italy – again, except for when I visit her & except for the people, the art, the music, the food, the wine, the coffee, the lingerie and the shoes….so, really more just the concept of Italy & of Sarah moving there.

Everyone is taking Facebook quizzes, with the result: everyone I know should live in fracking Italy, according to the “What country should you live in?” quiz.

Hey, Facebook, stop ending questions with prepositions & please stop suggesting that people I like leave the country because it is “better” than here – I’m sure Italy is better than suburbia, but I refuse to let something so irrational as reality get in the way of my feelings on the topic!

I’m not saying I won’t go to Italy. I’m just holding a grudge. The truth is that I am going to miss this friend more than I can say, more than I can blog about in any serious manner…I cannot see how my stay at home mommy life in suburbia will not work without this woman, people…. I stumped. I can’t figure out how I am going to make it work. She has henna hair & a nose ring.
If you have a tattoo, body piercings or a broomstick, please move here so I can be friends with you and we can be safe at the playground together. Even if you are Italian, I won’t hold it against you. (Bring wine!) Last night, I had nightmares that the women at the playground cornered me because I was friendless at our upscale park. I a totally pathetic, I know. (Bring chocolate!)

I have other friends here (hey people, love you! let’s have tea and cookies!) but some are working, some live a little further afield, some do not cuss as much as me because they are better Christians, and some have kids not quite the same ages so they are running in different circles – soccer practices & school pick-ups, not play dates & library story time….Sarah, she’s my person.

You suck, Italy. I hope you appreciate the gem you are getting to enjoy for three whole years. When I get over their to visit, you better not be making her cry or I’ll eat all your chocolate & drink all your wine.

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More than anything else my children enjoy water play in the summer time. It is hands on, creative, messy and fun. The only source of stress to visit us on those hot summer days was under the spigot. The water source was a precious commodity. The boys vied for control over it, even while I insisted that I was the only person actually in charge of the spigot. I developed a little system to minimize water usage and yard flooding. I placed an extra large bucket under the flow and emphasized to them that as it filled up, we would turn off the spigot & use the water in the bucket to create our mud pies, sandcastles & lakes, as well as to water the flowers, vegetable and mosquito farm. I had not problem whatsoever with turning the spigot back on if they used the water in the bucket, I just didn’t want it flowing needlessly.

LP, with his need for control and order, had a hard time with the bucket rule. He seemed to misunderstand, or perhaps just had his own issue with the overflow. As the water neared the top, he would begin to wale, to shriek with fear that it would spill. If we turned off the water too soon, there was “not enough.” If I waited too long there was “too, too much.” He had the same issue with the kiddie pool. There was some perfect level for the water at which he felt the pool was full, but not overflowing. The simple sloshing of water over the side unraveled him & he was without the words to explain why it troubled him so much.

This past week LP’s little issue is resonating deep in my heart & soul. I’ve had my fill of losses, disappointments, frustrations & insecurities. The bucket is just too damn full this week. Part of me wants to just tip it over & let it run all over the place, but I’m left with the feeling that the overflow is going to cause some catastrophe that will hide the daylight for a long time to come.

This isn’t my first date with depression or medication. It’s not my first time sitting in the dark & feeling afraid to move. It is the first time my intuition has broken though. My intuition, I’m realizing, is the part of me that I most recognize as me – the part of me that connects my brain and spirit to my body, that keeps me moving one foot in front of the other in times of great joy & times of great pain. Without it, I’m adrift in a boat, tossed by whatever waves push me over. I see no shores & the fog is everywhere.

When I am alone, I sense almost no connection to the people around me. Nothing but their words or their physical presence assures me that I am not in fact, alone in a boat, adrift at sea with little hope of rescue. I cling to them to become anchored, but I am afraid to reach out, afraid by desperate need will drown them, that the overflow of this emotion will leave me that much more alone.

I read the daily office. I say the prayers out loud to bring truth into my body, that I am loved and cared for, that there is some ground under me. I ask for my people to lay their hands on me, to give me their energy and faith freely, so that I won’t need to steal it. I sit on the floor and breath upward the feeling of solidly sitting with the earth & hope the feeling lasts when I get behind the wheel. The vertigo of psychic disorientation overwhelms me. When I awake in the night & early in the morning, the surprise of it, the shock, is still there. I’m never prepared to greet life in this way. I’ve always felt the spiritual presence of those around me. I’ve also had some internal sense that gives meaning, hope and purpose to what is happening in my life at the present moment. Right now, I can’t see past 5 minutes ahead of me. Doing more, trying more brings a panic, a tightness in my chest. The bucket overflows.

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I’ve just been noticing Thinker – nearly 9 – skirting the truth instinctively, unnecessarily, & easily. He covers well, gives that blank what could you possibly mean stare, and generally frustrates my every attempt at getting to the bottom of whatever pickle we find ourselves in. Mostly I feeling like we are part of some sort of sociological parenting experiment. What ought we to do? Let him get away with it to save face occasionally? Confront him each and every time and press for 100 % honesty? Pretend we are stupid? I hate the idea that I know he is not being honest and that we have no way to break the boundary between us like two young children shouting no I didn’t, yes you did, is not, is too. At times, I walk away in frustration.

The art of exacting truth seems like a slippery slope. I hate to be too harsh, shame him or cause him to think he isn’t anything but lovable just as he is. Of course, most of the time he is avoiding truth telling (we are dealing with very many outright lies, if you know what I mean) he is anxious about what will happen next. Will he be in trouble for staying on the computer past time, for being too harsh with a much younger sibling, for not pulling out the troubling homework until very late in the week it is due? Will he? Of course he knows the answer. It is a pain avoidance strategy. I’d like to spare him, but growing up is painful. Doing hard homework is painful, asking for help can be painful when you’ve been very competent with your spelling up til now. Losing computer after dinner can be painful, but if you spent over your time earlier in the day… you see how this works & so does he. He is doing what children doing, pushing up against the boundary.

It isn’t just pain avoidance though. I see him acting in social situations – Julie mentioned this earlier in the week – I sense he is putting this on to feel more loved, more valuable, more important. If we don’t confront it then he will have learned that he should fake it till he makes it, at home and elsewhere. On the other hand, he has to find his way in the world of peers and in the world of other grown ups – our kids own certain grown ups and never, ever are anything but their true real selves with them. These grown ups know who they are and have seen the very, very best and worst of our darling brood – other grown-ups, especially to Thinker, are a challenge. He senses they have an interest in him as belonging to Matt and me. And he hates that feeling. He really hates it. Good thing he is one generation removed from being a clergy offspring. He’d have needed to be paid to speak to people at coffee hour (true story) This same sense may also be why I blog about him less than my littler kids. But that’s a whole other post in defense of the good sense of mommy bloggers. Maybe later in the week?

Lastly, I hate to start compromising about the truth as we head towards adolescence. A very nice friend of mine pointed out that 9 is half of 18. Thanks, I’m not nervous at all. I think of adolescence as a time best survived by all parties with compassion, patience, humor and mutual respect. Honesty is sort of a pre-condition to all of that isn’t it?


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