parenting.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"let go of who you think you're supposed to be, and embrace who you are." -brene brown.
i love that quote and SO perfect for where my head has been lately. 
there are so many, too many things, actually, that i want to accomplish, alongside of being a mom.
is it possible, i keep asking myself?
can't being a wife and mother be just enough?
i've noticed if i'm doing something new or have found a new passion,
i always have to take it a step further in my head.
for instance, if i take guitar lessons, i need to play like taylor swift.
if i immerse myself in yoga practice, i have to teach and then own my own studio someday.
if i become a photographer, i have to be the best.
i have high hopes and lofty visions.
but my motivation always fizzles out and i end up coming in second, third, 
and often times, 40th.
nothing wrong with more optimism and big dreaming in my life.
but reality usually sets in on the things that are. . .unrealistic for me. 
and that's ok.
i'm trusting that those mishaps in my dreaming are leading me down the RIGHT path,
to the things i'm really SUPPOSED to be doing here.
which brings me back to the recurring theme in my writing. . .
finding balance.
i think it's safe to say, i'm a little obsessed with that idea.
worse things to be obsessed with, i guess.
but balance between what i WANT to be doing and what i SHOULD be doing.
knowing and trusting that everything is as it should be.
with just charlie at home now, i have more time to clean, organize, cook, shower.
but also more time to daydream, plan, forecast, anticipate.
which can be good and bad for someone like me.
my days are more free and unencumbered by entertaining wild animals. . .er. . .children, wiping butts and wrestling with naps.  which is lovely.
but not sure that i'm ready for that completely.  that freedom and peace during the day.
some of you are saying, (my husband included,) 'wow.  she's not right in the head.'
others would say, 'have another!'
and oh, how i daydream of that too, every day.  another baby.
i didn't feel like charlie was our last.
but i also had no idea what our future would be.  none of us do.
but time, cancer, seizures, anxiety, has slowly been stomping out that flame, of more.
not to mention has thrown even more wood into my fearful fires of, again, all the things that having a child means, more vulnerability.  more loss of control.
the 'what if's' that permeate my thick skull, if we were to succumb to my selfish desires,
one more time, and add to our already, crazy family.

knowing full well, now, that a big part of parenting is,
doubt, fear, loss, deprivation.
and that sounds awful when spoken.
BECOMING a parent, isn't supposed to be tragic.
(although for many, it is.)
but i think, those words are a good way to define what we experience, as parents, 
each day.
when you look up the word, at least on the bing dictionary,
you get something like this. . .
{child-rearing:  the experiences, skills, qualities, and responsibilities involved in being a parent and in teaching and caring for a child (often used before a noun.)}
that's pretty good too.
but let's be honest, it's a word and a role and an undertaking,
that really can't be defined nor explained, as the job itself, encompasses SO much more than just the experiences, 
the skills you SHOULD possess to be a parent, but most often don't.
the weight of the responsibilities is colossal, BEYOND explanation.
i make no bones about it, that my OWN parenting is. . .subpar.
my OWN behaviors in this role have been less than stellar. 
i can be a workhorse, yet am very lazy.
i claim to be militant, yet break rules like it's nobody's business.
i'm a screamer, a thrower, a tantrum-toting, impatient looney, really, no better than the children i'm supposed to be parenting.
the yoga and meditation i'm trying to immerse myself in, to deal with these control and rage and anger issues i have,
well, really havn't made a damn dent.
i have to have faith, that it will.
and also accept, eventually, that i am who i am.
and sometimes, the greatest of efforts can't change that.
but to still try.  just TRY, a little more, is all i can ask.
what makes me want to be better, is other mothers.
or my husband, who is SO much better at finding peace and serenity in dealings with the children.
it is usually not until the kids get sick or i'm away from them for an extended period,
or some 'catastrophic' event sweeps the rug out. . .like jack's seizures,
where everything is brought clearly in to perspective for me.
and once again, i am present.
the rest of the time, it's work for me.
if only we moms, who struggle to find stillness in motherhood, peace with what is,
could superglue those feelings on, to last a day, and the next, and then the next,
until the kids are grown and we have all the time in the world to ourselves.
but i'm impatient like that.
finding patience, gratitude, trust and then letting go, does not come easy.
(and if you read here, i talk about this a lot.  clearly, this is something i want to improve upon, since i keep bringing it up.:)  just bear with me, people.
remember, this blog is for me.:)
when it was just jack and i, i had PLENTY in reserves to be the parent i expected of myself.
but with each subsequent child, with each deeply entrenched stretch mark and varicose vein,
i have lost something.
some of that naivete i had in those early days. 
that we were untouchable.  that being a mom was grand and free of heartache.
peaceful and quiet and beautiful.
and it can be sometimes. 
in the wee hours of the morning.  when it's just the two of us.
and blankies.  and pillows.
before the house comes alive.
but it flows in and out, just like every other feeling and emotion, and you learn to ride that wave.
however, i'm feeling it's time to reclaim some of that newbie-mom bliss for my childrens' sake.
i need to rekindle the relationship, the dying flame between the mother i started as 
and the mother i've become.  hard life lessons have jaded me a bit and left me more vulnerable and fighting even harder to relinquish control.  but i'm learning.  learning to be more forgiving and have a more open-hearted perspective.  
because i know this life, at home with children, will merely be a short chapter in a long non fiction.
the pages flipping too quickly on these moments, until we're bookmarked in the next chapter.
so per usual, each morning, i try to nestle in.  accept.  let go.  breathe.
trusting that someday, maybe i WILL write a book.  but for now, my blog is good enough.
that SOMEDAY, my photography, good enough for now, WILL get better.
that SOMEDAY, I could teach, but for now, teaching my very receptive 7-year-old downward dogs and half moons, is just fine.
concerting my efforts for the moment, to being a better mom.  being successful at THAT.  whatever that means.
i'm reading this great book, that is giving me great hints and clues on how to be better.
it carries me through the morning, at least.  for about .2 seconds.
until i catch charlie trying to flush a pull-up down the toilet,
or trying to OD on D3 vitamins,
or jack listening to dr. feelgood in his room, at a blindingly high volume.  (yes, blinding, not deafening.)
and grace, filling up her barbie townhouse jacuzzi with water. . .in her room.  
FARFIGNUGAN.  (that's my new f-word.)
{my damn barbies never had a jacuzzi.  they were in the tub with us.  or the sink.}
and i just can't.  i just can't summon up the feelings of peace and bliss and gratitude in those moments.  all zen-ness out the window.
but i know there are mom's out there that can.  and i will channel their crunchiness in, no matter what it takes.
in the meantime,
in these moments of wanting to 'do it all,' 
i'm learning the toughest lesson for ME, at least, 
patience.
and that all those wants, will take me away from what i NEED right now.
more patience.  more presence.  more time with my family.
as a parent, you HAVE to let go of some of your 'wants' for awhile,
until the time is right.
and as always, take advantage of those 'present' moments,
while you can.
when i take to the streets, leaving all my doubts, fears and enjoying where i'm at,
i am always surprised by loveliness and gratitude.
we went in to the city to meet my dearest,
taking in the sights and sounds of a place, so different than our own.
relishing these moments in parenting, that are so easy.
unlike the preceding months.  (i.e.  jack's seizures.)
which, i will share, knock on wood, have ceased completely.
after over 45 of them in almost every waking hour, over a 2 month period,
nothing.
not one in almost 3 months.  AND he's not on meds.
(i started weaning him off, as we were going to try something new, b/c the last med wasn't doing anything.  and then they just stopped.)
so bizarre.
the lovely man that owns the music store i go to said,
"well!  it's because so many people have been praying for him!"
aahhhh.  is that all?  is that it?  just more love?  sounds lovely.
and we'll take it.
as a parent, in what seem to be miraculous moments, or twists of fate, an aligning of the stars,
you fall to your knees and give thanks and gratitude for this unbelivable blessing and reprieve from what you had accepted to be your life for awhile,
but, for a mother, this one at least, it unfortunately, doesn't end there.
and you know this, as a parent.  the worry doesn't stop.  the forecasting and preparing and fear of the future, continue on.
that the fire of the preceding days, the anxiety filled mornings for me, the constant wondering of when they would stop, if the meds would work, what kind of damage is this doing, will start up again?
as if a door was opened, creating a backdraft, sucking all the flames out and under the door.
but are they waiting in the next room, to explode upon entering?
ok.  that's a little dramatic.
but what happened?  where did it go?  why?  when? 
as a parent, you HAVE to learn to resign yourself to those odd happenings in life,
with #1.  a thank you.  #2.  an 'i have no idea.'
#3.  a shrug of the shoulders to the answer-less circumstances that pop up in life.
and then accept your vulnerability and your lack of control of their little lives.
a beautiful woman in my life told me,
"all you can do is care for them, keep them as safe as possible, nurture them and let them go.  the rest is in God's hands." 
we can only do so much for them. 
so you take the loss, the doubt, the fear, the deprivation that comes with parenting, 
for what it is.  just a part of the whole shibang.
and you relish the moments between the heartache and fear,
driveway hockey.

sledding on ice. . .because that's all we've got.
teaching grace how to tie a towel around her hair, like mommy.
a trip to the icecream store on a 50 degree day in january.  in minnesota.
this NEVER happens.
and although i've had my hand on a hip, tapping my foot, looking to the skies,
waiting for mother nature to unleash her fury,
i'll still soak up this weather love with the rest of them.
so we just had to.





{one of our local restaurants was giving a free icecream cone if you mentioned the word, facebook.}
FACEBOOK!
another great quote i read recently, in the aforementioned book i'm reading,
"Having children has been described as the 'battle to the death, of your ego.  The demise of your selfishness and impatience."  -karen maezen miller
oh man.  is it ever.
but reaffirming what i'm learning is true. . .that we have everything we need. 
although we are expected and try to give everything we have to our children,
we can do small things each day, to keep our own life in tact, even if it's not exceeding all our grand goals.
someday, it just might.


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