Archive for ‘letters to a you’

July 5, 2013

fire bird

dear you,

i’m not sure what i did to deserve a baby like you but, thank you.

thank you for your sunny disposition. thank you for sharing your generous and genuine affection without any reservation. thank you for lighting up when you catch sight of me. thank you for your powerful, warm, medicinal, smile. thank you for breathing in my face- your delightful apple juice scent, evidence that you really are sweet to the core. thank you for sloppy open-mouthed kisses. thank you for your bright, mischievous, eyes. thank you for your alfalfa mohawk that makes it impossible to take life too seriously. thank you for “talking” with your eyebrows and in so doing bringing your tofino family closer. thank you for being so busy in your body and keeping us all wondering. thank you for being patient with me. thank you for teaching me about unconditional positive regard. thank you for being a ray of light.

you exemplify tolerance and grace, my little man, and i absolutely adore you.

“god help you if you are a phoenix and you dared to rise up from the ash” -ani.

May 17, 2013

listening ears

top ten life lessons that my baby has taught me:

10. poo often, it keeps your body happy.

9. everyone busy? observe the people around you, and delight in them. waiting your turn isn’t so bad.

8. you don’t have to have a big personality to get noticed. just an infectious smile.

7. if you feel cranky, eat more.

6. feeling bored? bang things together. it’ll liven things up, guaranteed.

5. the funniest person in the house is the three-year old. squeal when he is silly, it encourages him to be his best.

4. giggle when people touch you and kiss you. kiss them back.

3. naps are magical and transformative.

2. if you stick your tongue out at things that interest you, you might get lucky.

1. you know what’s awesome? everything.

February 18, 2013

don’t ever grow up

i offered my baby some solids yesterday and, though we celebrated his first meal, it was also fraught for me.

my husband, standing behind me, made the baby nom-nom sounds when i couldn’t. for, though i was smiling and cheering him on too, i was also rushed by tears and, trying to hold them in, the support got caught in my throat.

our preschooler, initially delighted and proud of his brother, began to catch on that i wasn’t quite on page. after looking at us all individually, trying to clarify what emotion we were to be feeling, he, wise on my ways, made his analysis, turned to his brother, and said: “good boy! don’t worry about momma, sometimes her heart breaks when she is happy”.

he was right, and he was wrong: i was also grieving.

i had selfishly debated introducing foods to him because i, emotionally, am not ready for him to be nourished by anything other then me. he is young to start and has no real nutritional need for food. “why rush it?”, i’ve asked myself. “don’t rush him”, i tell myself. but, the truth is, i’m not. he wants it and, despite this hurting my feelings for some irrational reason, i don’t want to get in his way. life is all over him and up in his stuff enough with his brother and my busy both flustering about while we simultaneously try to adjust with some semblance of grace.

in addition, my baby is a gentle and knowing soul and he has few requests of me. those he does have, he makes well known- no drama, just messages in such a way that you hear him. he taught me early who he is and i knew, from lessons raising my first son, that it was my job to hear, respect and honour those cues. i couldn’t deny his interest and, now, i can’t deny his readiness because, in responding to him, he showed me how he could eat it up like a big boy- complete with smiles and squeals of delight to be included in our sunday morning breakfast.

as my dear friend carly has said, we have arrived at the “last of the firsts”. afterall, he is my final baby and this will be the last time i bear witness to what life looks like, one day at a time.

these moments are fleeting.

already, he no longer squeaks- you know, those amazing and surprising newborn noises- and as the days go by i am forgetting what that precious wheeze sounds like. he no longer reaches above his head, closed eyes and fists, in a milky, satisfied, shaky stretch and i had no way to know the last time was upon me, so i was unable to photograph or video or tatoo it to my eyelids before he matured past that simple act of abandon that babies who are aware of the world around them no longer do. he no longer only responds to my voice, he no longer reserves his lovey eyes just for me, and he now delights in his brother and father’s company as much as he delights in mine.

he is becoming himself more and more, really showing up, and, though his unfolding personality is delightful, i wince knowing that this is equally matched by him growing in body and that he will soon be too large to rest comfortably in the crook of my arms, moon face on my breast. his length will soon prevent his cheek from being able to lie against my chest when we are tummy to tummy. his face will soon outgrow the space in between my collarbone and chin, where he nuzzles in at me before sleepy time.

i know he is born to grow and i want him to. i just want to learn him and know him so well as he does this that i can be of service later, and help him find his way back when he gets lost, back to where he came from, and it’s all going by so fast.

October 19, 2012

simple thanks

after a ferocious labor, we found our groove and, with much effort, you entered this world- welcomed by a song of sounds that i didn’t know i was capable of making and the delighted tears of your father and grandmother.

your big brother was at home sleeping safely under the caring watch of your grandfather, them both dreaming, i’m sure, of who you were and when we could meet you and have you join our lives.

you arrived my son and, instantly, our family was complete.

thank you for choosing us, sweet boy, we are so in love with all that you are.

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October 3, 2012

“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.