Monday, December 23, 2013

all in all is all we are

All of the astrologists have told us that you will be a great communicator. You have been showing signs for some time that you understand the right names of things and lately you will make sounds that seem to approximate the English words for a couple of the objects you come into contact with everyday. While your ability to verbally converse develops you give specific physical and audible signals to indicate what you want.

When you need assistance with something you let out a quick moan that squeaks up at the end giving the gesture the intonation of a question. I know I’ve mocked this sound back at you at times when I’ve been feeling all around worn out and the thing you need assistance with is something like submerging your sock in my drinking water.

One of the infinite number of things I want for you is the understanding that no matter how you have behaved in the past you can always choose to behave differently in the future. When I have reactions I’m not proud of this is the place I take myself to regroup and move forward from.

Each time I hear your inquiry for assistance I neither have a pavlovian response that makes me feel stressed and brittle nor a cutting sense of guilt over the times I’ve reacted poorly to your requests. Most of the time to respond to you while being mindful of the intention I hold to honor your curiosity even when your specific actions of exploration cannot be permitted.

Most mornings you bring books up to me and request my assistance in having them read to you. We usually go through children’s books though sometime we will flip through magazines, catalogues and super market circulars.

Today was the first time you handed a grown up book to me to read. You listened to several random paragraphs about the life of an Indian Swami and I realized that I hadn’t read a book I was interested in since the first weeks after you were born. Today your curiosity reminded me of my own and instead of an endless steam of my energy towards you needs I saw our relationship as collaboration.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

love baby love / it's written all over your face

When looking into the past I often get caught in a web of dynamic tension. Seeing a previous version of my self I remember what I liked about how I was and reason that since I was that way once I have the potential to be that way again. I also recognize the potential I had in that moment in time and begin to regret the roads that weren’t taken.

I recently had a delightful experience looking at photographs of myself taken when I was in High School. I didn’t start to obsess about how if I lost weight and drank more water I could look like do in those pictures. I didn’t long to go back to that time and live my life differently with the benefit of hindsight. I just looked through the twenty year old images, recognizing and respecting who i was then.

All I have is love for the person in those pictures and love for the person typing this right now and it is a feeling of feeling good that I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed before. It isn’t a powerful force radiating out the top of my head like self-confidence and it isn’t a wave of excitement that rocks my torso like being head over heals happy.

This is a new sensation, subtle yet satisfying. Not wanting to change me now and not wanting to change me then sent me to a zone that felt warm and clear, it is the feeling I will evoke from now on when asked to picture my happy place. It is where I now lay foundation for intercession.

I want in fact more of you. In my mind I am dressing you with light; I am wrapping you up in blankets of complete acceptance…
- Franz Kafka 

Monday, July 08, 2013

and i want you to know that my feelings are true

Two postpartum symptoms I struggled with were an acute sensory sensitivity and a severe lack of focus. On several occasions I heard the words being spoken to me as strange sounds and oftentimes holding conversations felt like fighting against quicksand. I found social interactions to be so draining that for several months I did everything I could to avoid them. Even though my heart wanted to be connected to those dear to me, my mind and body demanded space and made me pay when I pushed their boundaries.

During this time I began to understand the words I love you in a new way.

I came to use the words I love you as a placeholder for all of the support I couldn’t offer, gratitude I couldn’t express and laughter that lay silent in me. I believed in I love you. I felt lighter… felt the emotions in me, that were screaming for a way out, find safe passage each time I’d say I love you. I was so grateful to have a simple phrase that was wide enough to fit the range and strong enough to carry the depth of my feelings.

As I become more comfortable with a wider range of interactions I continue to hold the fondness I gained for I love you. I know it can be used as a safety release valve when I’m experiencing emotions that are difficult to express. And I know it to be an effective messenger when I can’t say anything else.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

the choice of the next generation

I can think of two times when advertising has had a direct effect on me. Once, thirty seconds spent watching alternating images of Johnny Depp and big Macs sent me straight to McDonalds. Another time David Bowie made me drink Pepsi.

We didn’t drink soda a lot when I was growing up, but when we did coke was it. My mother has a point of view and doesn’t compromise on the important things. She will only drive a stick shift, made sure we always had hardwood floors and every now and then she enjoys coca cola.

As a child with discretionary funds available to spend on a beverage I only ordered coke and, like my mother, would just drink water if it wasn’t an option. It felt mature to know what I wanted and more importantly that I wasn’t going to settle for what I didn’t want.

I’m happy that as a young person there was a habit of my mothers I could imitate and practice what it felt like to know and go after my heart’s desire.

It is a testament to David Bowie’s taste making charisma that he made me feel the need to drink Pepsi. That feeling barely lasted for 12 ounces. As for my Depp induced Mac Attack… what can I say? Sex sells.

Friday, July 05, 2013

goldilocks and the golden rule

It’s the middle of the night and I’m feeding my baby and she places her hand on the side of her head. She eats furiously and is as tired as she is hungry and her hand gesture looks like a declaration of frustration. Her arm starts to move and she begins, with a great deal of apparent effort, to stroke her hair.

Seeing her do this makes me feel sad.

I bring my hand to her head to offer her the soothing she obviously is seeking, so that she may feel relaxed and taken care of. As soon as my fingertips touch her hair she grabs my pinky and pushes my hand as far away from her as she can.

I get the message.

She goes back to scrabbling at her hair and I figure she’s figuring out how she can take care of herself. I go back to watching her eat and figure I’m going to be ok at figuring out how to strike a balance between offering her help and offering he space as she continues to grow.