“back to the sandbox”

one night at work, myself and the student i was mentoring were confronted with one too many lives that had little chance of anything other than where they had arrived at.

she, an amazon of beautiful, kind, and capable super-momma goddess, reflected that it was hard to not want to take these people by the hand, find a way to start over, and give them a different set of outcomes.

now, we do not believe in deterministic theories. we see capacity, we know of resiliency and possibility, we are hopeful. and, in the moment, though it is heart work, we do it with our feet grounded. and, though we have an informed perspective, we do it removed, and we do it this way to be effective.

but… she was right. if you have any awareness it’s difficult, if not impossible, to look in someone’s face, listen to someone’s voice, watch their eyes, or the way they move their limbs, and ignore or deny what it represents. and adults, bless our eff’d up selves, are all just people who once were children…  some, god forbid, who were not afforded what they never should have had to ask for. some who, unjustly, were denied what they unquestionably deserved, just for existing. some who were exposed to harm that no person should know, whether  indirectly or directly, with or without intent. some, who were deprived of security and their born right to protection. some, who were left to navigate the cruel reality of life without an ally and, in fact, with no help from ‘family’-  ‘family’ that would make you question the definition of ‘enemy’. some who had their vulnerability exploited, undeniably and adversely affecting their sense of self worth, deservingness, or sense of future opportunity for their developing selves.

she got me, the woman i was to be mentoring who in fact i learnt a great deal from in our time together, and she appealed to my sense of fairness that resides deeper then professional neutrality, albeit informed by both my personal and trained scope and analysis.

it’s not that i’m insensitive, or ever could become hard to what is hard for others (i hope). it’s not that i don’t operate with compassion. it’s just that i’ve grown as a practitioner and my heart does not lead me, nor should it. thing is though, these individuals, these adults who were once children and who were not dealt good cards, these people who were before us with their history so big that there was little room for question, they didn’t most need a thorough assessment and corresponding strategic or skilled interventions. they didn’t ‘need’ much but, instead, maybe would have most benefited from a little heart first: simple, non-assuming, contained but generous delivery of pure kindness and authentic respect- like they always should have  been given but didn’t necessarily even know was an option.

and maybe, she reminded me, maybe being given just kindness, or just having someone be present in a respectful way could have a retroactive impact. maybe travel back in them to a time where they should have been safe. back to a time when they should have been peaceful and allowed to be innocent. maybe resonate in some supportive, encouraging, or healing way just by not being an interaction that could have been too formal and therefore received as foreign or, despite best intentions, a negative affront on their intrinsic worth.

being on leave now from all that is crazy and dangerous and heart wrenching and sad and, frankly, devastatingly unavoidable, has allowed me the opportunity to have the time to have an extended look at my innocent child’s face more often than not. i’m in the sandbox with him, building little forts and big dreams.

his eyes, his skin, his growing, working, developing, trusting, and vulnerable little brain and being… being off work has given me the opportunity to hear his voice, and all his weird little curious and exploratory thoughts revealed, and be reminded of how beautiful and awesome a privilege it is to be blessed with the responsibility to nurture a dependent.

i hadn’t forgotten his preciousness. it’s just that my emotions matured whilst raising him, out of necessity mostly, for it was not sustainable to remain so raw in feeling and also achieve or maintain functionality. but when he was born, and my heart burst through my throat, i cried for days at how magnificent of a task had been bestowed to me when he entered this world.

his little bird like self: all red, squished, and becoming. more vulnerable than i ever could have anticipated or prepared myself to be ready for… and the realization that the trust that he had to have, without even being conscious of it, and how he had no choice in who he had been born to and how he could not influence who was to be responsible to do right by him. i was so shocked at how easy it would have been to do wrong, just by accident even, and so unfortunately aware that not all children would receive the same level of commitment that we were prepared to make to keep his spirit whole.

my spouse couldn’t believe the thoughts that i was thinking, so often ruminating about the horror that some children, not and never our babe, but that countless others would have to endure and how unfair that was when our son would never know harm at the hand of, or in the environment of, his family. i suppose it was morbid and uncelebratory but i couldn’t deny how much love i felt for him, enough to make me crazy, nor could i deny what that love, along with our circumstance, ability, and support network would provide for him and, alternatively, what other lives, as darling and as sacred as him, would not be afforded, for whatever complex reason.

i am reminded now, as i anticipate that my body will soon begin the epic process of delivering our second child, just how immense of a gift and how large of a responsibility is about to come into this world and be placed against my ravaged body and find home in my arms.

i am reminded now that i will look into this child-to-be’s face and see it’s eyes looking at me for the first time, registering me as it’s mother, and pleading for a good life.

i will deliver. both this child, and the promise that making a new life means.

welcome, future child, to a home and a family that will give you everything we can- just as you, and every other child, deserves.


2 Comments to ““back to the sandbox””

  1. Yes. (you said it all so clearly there is nothing for me to add, a rare event).

  2. Well done my child, Dad.

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