Posts tagged ‘responsibility’

June 15, 2013

everything but the girl

a number of my eldest son’s friends are turning 5 lately and he, overhearing conversations about kindergarten, observing my friends emote at the significance, and intuiting the maturation around him, is well aware that this birthday is not like the others; that it is distinctive, that milestones abound.

not surprisingly, he has begun to look at his own (one day) 5th birthday with idealized regard and now reconciles everything that he covets but that is out of reach- special events, activities, freedoms, repeat opportunities to go on excursions via plane- by saying, albeit unconvincingly, “maybe when i’m five”.

despite the tentative tone, it works and he has somehow been able to manage his lofty expectations with this simple reminder, however inaccurate. unfortunately (for me) his regular wantedness, his daily basis neediness, continues to know no bounds and he starts many common sentences with a demanding: “i want”.

i was washing dishes this morning, early, already feeling desperate after a week of him sick and our life therefore tabled, multiple days restricted to the four walls of our home, when he started in at me: all the things he wanted, how he wanted them done. his father is away, mourning  the life of a relative, and, therefore, it doesn’t matter that it’s saturday. it’s just me here. here with them; their requests.

i didn’t reply, which had no impact on his behaviour but assisted me to feel somewhat grounded, empowered even- such a subtle act of resistance.

not one to back down, he persisted. baby, teething, made his gentle way in to the kitchen from where he played near by. “mum mum mum” he muttered, approaching where i stood, signaling he too had a desire for me to provide any number of things: milk, attention, comfort, entertainment, reprieve.

i found myself looking up at the ceiling and was confronted by it’s unglamourous, entry level appearance- not helpful- and thought briefly of shaking the clawing paws off my ankles, brushing past the talking machine, and making my exit: down the stairs and out the front door, away from all that is expected of me, complete with my yet untouched morning coffee.

instead, i found myself doing what i recall having witnessed my mother do, and with closed eyes, pursed lips, and taught breath, i hush-growled to the white roof: “lord, give me strength”- more of a threat then a prayer.

when i opened my eyes, i hadn’t yet found the courage to turn to my eldest but i bent to retrieve baby, moaning now, and was impressed with just how quickly he settled once stationed on my left hip. so simple, so primary, so generous in his acceptance of what is.

i heard myself think, and then say “we can’t have everything that we want”, mostly in effort to remind myself of the same, it would seem.

“but, look at me momma! i want you to look at me! watch me momma! do you see me?”. it seemed as though my statement was mistaken for participation and he was encouraged…

“do you see me?”, i replied in all seriousness, turning to him, finally. he looked confused. “do you?” i implored.

“of course i do mamma, don’t be silly”, he offered, confused.

the question was lost on him.

he can’t see my master’s degree, begging for completion. he doesn’t see my muscles, screaming for a run. he doesn’t see my brain, dehydrated, thirsty for adult company, conversation, camaraderie. he doesn’t see my skin, itchy for lack of sleep. he doesn’t know the sacrifices that i make and what goes undone on my own list of wants so that he and his brother, both beyond deserving, can have a life complete. he sees his mother, and she’s pretty great, but he just doesn’t see me.

maybe when he’s five?

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.

September 13, 2012

no idle threat

my body asked me to stop so, i listened.

if there was no one that i was responsible for but me i would’ve-could’ve worked harder-stronger-longer-further but, at this time, this was not an option. i heard baby’s call: please acknowledge me, please care for me, please slow down for me.

and, baby deserves it.

as a mother, you have the choice to do wrong by yourself but you have no right to do wrong by the others, those you have created and are primarily accountable to. there is no option there, or there is, i suppose, but it’s always the wrong choice to not do right by your children.

so, don’t.

so, pause. so, struggle. so, adjust. so, re-learn. so, push through. so, rise. so, find balance. so, stay sane. so, get creative. so, feel baby grow. so, be pregnant now, let it show.

June 7, 2011

a most excellent wife

my son is sleeping soundly after a mega windy walk and play, i am beautified (relatively speaking), and the house smells like tea tree oil and accomplishment. tomorrow, i’ll go to work and bring home the bucks. cue applause.

January 31, 2011

we’ll call you freedom

the moo is sick, quite ill actually, and, in observing his little tender self, i’ve decided that there are few things more vulnerable than a sick child, and probably nothing more important as tending to them- not that it is always easy to do.

i was up from my attempt at slumber many times last night, comforting my moo, running my hands through his hot hair, with my back breaking from bending over his crib and my legs shaking from exhaustion after a busy 5 day set and a week of crummy sleep (i’ve apparently developed a mom related sleep disorder). thankfully, on one particular moment where i was unsure if i had the energy reserves to be what he needed me to be, i heard the voice of a woman i know- a lovely person, yoga teacher, fit fit wonder momma and real life goddess- say: “a hero takes many forms … when a mother, exhausted, rises from sleep to tend to her hungry, sick, or  needy child, that too is a heroic act” (NRH).

yoga beauty said this once to a group i was in where she was facilitating an intense yoga challenge for us and, simultaneously, drawing on hindu mythology to reinforce her point of looking deep within to aid in our outward efforts. she was encouraging us to explore devotion, the pure intention and total commitment that rama, hindu legend, exhibited in his love, in his faith, and in his living actions. she highlighted that his commitment to values transpired into heroic life practice and reminded us that there are a number of forms of heroism, not all as earth-shaking, ocean defeating, or god conquering as rama’s but just as important- if fuelled from honest motivation, deep intent, and true effort.

i guess i’d thought about it before, it had been mentioned before in class or elsewhere anyways, and it wasn’t new spiritual knowledge that inward meditative focus often transpired into worldly selflessness or that many acts of duty or responsibility were often acts of faith, motivated by feelings of love and the virtue of commitment, but, i, for obvious reasons, really appreciated her reference to the application of faith involved in the heroic effort required to mother.  i found it inspiring then and even more so last night. who wouldn’t want to be a hero for him?

and, motherhood, for all intensive purposes, is a hero’s journey. really… if you look at the classic formula for a hero’s tale, the template is always the same- youth, mission, departure, the quest for truth and goodness, the overcoming of obstacles, the defeat of threats, the return from journey matured, accomplished, transformed, and full of lessons to share and a greater capacity to give. and though not quite the same, motherhood is also a transformative journey. what is it to mother but to mature, leave one’s self, return to one’s self wiser and stronger then before, thwart risks for the greater good, and give and give and give (to the most deserving of recipients)? 

i think she was right. and, the moo is so deserving. by simply being alive, of course, but also for more… he’s been working so hard at life lately… he’s demonstrated that he is quite the resilient little fellow, all things considered. though we provide for him the most nurturing,  safe, stable and predictable environment we can, there has been a tremendous amount of stress and upheaval the last few months and, although joy is the center of most of our days, our stress has definitely had an impact on his little core.

last night, looking at him, weak and fragile, and as precious as anything could be, i felt so much respect for him for enduring as he does. though he is a little need machine, he really doesn’t ask for much, compared to his high maintenance mama anyhow, and his silent trust in me is so humbling. it’s a large responsibility to bear, doing right by a little life, but, i will. always. i’m devoted to him. mothering is how i practice my faith.