Thursday, March 24, 2011

breathe in peace....breathe out love...

dan was right...i'm losing it!  did you ever look in the mirror and you can't recognize your own reflection? that's me right now! i'm restless and i can't figure out what's missing.  don't you hate that?  i'm on the phone with my girl sonia yesterday, explaining all of this and she says...take some deep breaths. then i continue to chatter..."i know i gotta slow down, relax, find gratitude...blah blah blah" and she says  "did you take a few deep breaths?"  she meant right then, at that moment.  and there i was letting that moment pass by.
so many mothers come into womb to grow for advice, and usually after much discussion they figure out, that they have the answers, that they need to trust their own intuition.  i still maintain, conscious mothers can do no wrong.  it is important to define 'conscious mother'  i love mary haskells's quote...i live by this, and it is in my opinion the philosophy of 'conscious mamas'

"nothing you become will disappoint me; i have no preconception that i'd like to see you be or do. i have no desire to foresee you, only to discover you.  you cannot disappoint me."

so what's up with me?  i know all of this, and this past week i have been unconscious.  let's start with monday.  lazy day after our road trip (i'll post about another time...very positive trip) unpacking, organizing and tidying...notice i didn't write cleaning  there's a difference, and i was definitely tidying.  so i look at the clock, and it's four flippin' oclock! the boys have been playing together, watching tv, snacking and generally without my attention ALL DAY!  so i say..."okay guys lets go outside and play"  groans and grumbles from the little people, and eventually i talk them into it by suggesting road hockey.  so we're all playing road hockey and nesta wants to play an actual game where we keep score and everything.  so we set up goals, him and winston vs. mum.  we're having a great time, but as i gain a few goals on them, nesta starts changing the rules.  no high shots. it has to hit the curb to count. we face off after each goal.  so i get frustrated and start trying harder!  do you see the problem with that?  i never communicated that i was frustrated with all the rule changing!  i just became an eight year old and thought...well your rules can't stop me.  so i win seven to six.  and nesta throws his hockey stick down then throws his gloves down throws his arms up in the air yelling "that's not fair!" and starts stomping back home.  (after he threw his gloves off i said...oh? you wanna fight?)  that cracked a bit of a smile between all the fuss.  so i say... "what's not fair?" and he says "take it easy on me, your thirty two and i'm only eight!"  and i go on to explain about how life is tough and you can't always expect to succeed and sometimes you have to just face your opponent and congratulate her blah blah blah  and how he won't keep many of his friends if he changes the rules of the game or he can't learn to lose and by the time i'm finished my freakin' speech i realize i'm screaming at the top of my lungs!  so i mentally acknowledge that i've gone nuts and start to approach him more consciously and he wants nothing to do with me.  he's crying and says i don't love him and that he wishes i was more like dan (who apparently let's nesta win:) and now i don't know what to do anymore.  so i say "i'm sorry nesta i should have told you i was getting frustrated come on let's go inside" and he shoots me such a hateful look, and says "leave me alone!"  so i leave him alone and i take winston in side.  as we're approaching the house winston throws his hockey stick  and gloves down and shouts "leave me alone!" and goes and sits down beside nesta.  now i'm really confused and i start to think what would have happened if i had just accepted the rule changes, taken it easy on him, lost by one and took one for the team! that team being the components of my MENTAL HEALTH!  so i sit on the steps waiting for the boys to be ready to come inside and i hear winston consoling nesta...and i think, in winston's eyes nesta cannot disappoint him, he has no preconception that he'd like to see nesta  be or do, he has no desire to foresee his big brother, only to discover him, and i know that in situations like this one i have to be less like an eight year old and more like a two and a half year old when i'm mothering.  eventually i call them in, and they come.  we all make up, have hot chocolate and it's time to get on with dan's arrival from work, making dinner, going for my run, and bedtime routines.  i fall asleep while putting winston down, i wake up to nesta kissing my forehead and whispering "sorry about our fight"  i pretend to be sleeping and i feel like the biggest asshole...

it's spring break at nesta's school.  i've been struggling with accepting that i have to be at womb to grow instead of spending time with nesta.  every now and then i realize that although i'm happy to be self employed and pursuing my vision of this space that is womb to grow i'm sacraficing a lot of time with my kids.  i'm trying with all my soul to find balance that seems to teeter totter constantly.  needless to say nesta has spent the larger part of his break at 'play dates' with friends.  on tuesday and wednesday he spent time with one of his closest friends connor.  after tuesday's play date nesta asked if connor could come to our house, so i said no problem.  i'm puttering about the kitchen, and all three boys are playing some violent game of weaponry with weapons of mass destruction that can shoot bullets of any kind.  i end the game when nesta shouts "tsunami wave bullet! your whole world is shattered!"   the following weapon of mass destruction was my voice! "that's enough!  what kind of sick child are you?  do you have any idea how horrible you just sounded?  the tsunami in japan is nothing to make fun of or include into your little game of cops and robbers!  how dare you insult the people of japan with a comment like that!  find something else to play right now!  when i'm finished the three boys are staring at me like a couple of wet dogs ho know their in trouble for walking on the carpet.  they're deflated and confused and i realize i've over reacted.  so then i find myself trying to explain how we shouldn't use the suffering of other people in our games so nonchalantly and how i feel horrible about the tsunami wave and how hard it must be for the people of japan, and that's why i reacted so the end i still don't think they understood, but at least i tried to explain.  how did my household become such a host for childhood warfare?  it's beyond me...
then yesterday when i went to pick nesta up from his play date two more of his classmates were also there, so connor's mother suggested i come back at five o'clock so nesta could enjoy the group play date.  so i go home start supper and a whole other project (you'll see on my fernie foodie friday post tomorrow) and before you know it it's five o'clock.  so winston and i return to pick up nesta, he's says good bye to his friends, and from the doorway of connor's home to the car i see this shift in his mood.  he pronounces "i'm hungry!" i reply "that's good, because we're going home, and you can have a snack there."  i start to strap winston into his car seat and i hear sniffling, and pouting coming from the front seat then in a very whiny voice " is diner almost ready?"  and i lose it?!...again....going on about how i haven't seen him for almost eight hours and the first thing he asks me is if dinner is ready and if that's all i am to him is a chef!? and once again i'm screaming at him! and he starts to cry and he says "but i'm hungry..."  and at the time i think as if that's an excuse to be a jerk to me. so i go on again about how i understand that he's hungry but does he understand how it makes me feel when i can see he's happy five minutes ago and all of a sudden there's a gloom over him like his world is coming to an end all because he needs a snack? then i call him a jerk.  and he looks at me like he's been destroyed and he screams "i am not a jerk!"  and he says again..."i'm just hungry..." i when he says that i see red, and i can't believe he's still using that as an excuse for not even greeting me, or saying hello to his younger brother and i'm yelling more and then i realize that we're home.  i'm sitting in the driveway trying to get it through his head that i'd appreciated it if the first words out of his mouth when i see him were NOT "is dinner almost ready?!"  now i'm unstrapping winston, i take a moment and look at him and he looks petrified.  i realize i'm practically ripping his arms out of the stupid cars seat and i take a second...breathe in peace...breathe out love..."i whisper i'm sorry winston, i'll be more gentle."  and he says "be gentle with nesta"  and i start to cry.  i look out of the car window and nesta is sitting on the steps to our place having a serious meltdown.  i want to take it all back, go back to that moment when he asked about dinner and say "no dinner's not almost ready, but there's lots we can snack on until it was your day?"
but that moment is long gone, and now i have to deal with a tsunami bullet of another kind...a wave of emotional turmoil.  once again i find myself trying to approach my son and he yells " i can't be near you!"  now winston is wriggling free from my arms and he goes up to nesta and shouts " i can be near you!" and he sits next to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.   and nesta rests his head on winstons arm and says "thank you winston at least you love me" now i'm crying harder and i say "i'm sorry nesta, i don't know what's wrong with me..." and he says "just go away!" so i leave and i feel about as small as i have ever felt in my whole life and i think to myself ...what the hell is going on?... i wait and i wait and finally the boys come inside.  i try to explain myself and nesta doesn't care, he just wants food.  so i make them both a sandwich and nesta devours it and i remember what that feels like. i remember being a kid and feeling so hungry i could eat my arm, and being told to wait for supper...and i'm mad that i'm remembering all of that way too late. and nesta looks up and asks for another sandwich, i don't hesitate to make him another one, and i'm trying to figure out what to say to him that could possibly justify my behaviour, i hand him another sandwich, he finishes it in about two minutes, he looks up from his plate and says.."i feel better now, i'll try and remember to ask about your day, before i ask about dinner next time mum" and then he gets up and gives me a hug...was that the lesson?  i'm such a schmuck! now i'm really crying and hugging him like i never want to let go and i apologize for all my mistakes, yelling, and name calling, and general hysteria, and he says it's okay mum i know you're just trying to teach me well...and i'm back to mary haskell she always has the right answer and i say with the most confident effort  "you can never disappoint me..."


  1. As usual, a brilliant piece of writing. Children have an uncanny ability to discover our biggest issues and to evoke them from us in the most powerful ways. When philosophers say that children are our greatest teachers, that is what they are referring to.

    Having had time to reflect on my own life and in particular those aspects that I wish I could do over, the most prominent was my need to try my hand at everything. I saw life as a magnificent buffet and I was determined to try everything there. Being a perfectionist, I had to keep at every one of them until I felt that I had got it right. All of the different challenges are so engrossing that one does not notice the absence of opportunity to rest, reflect and digest until some major event forces those upon us.

    I took on some incredibly difficult things in my life and I did many of them very well. However, none of those would I consider to be even close to the challenge of being a good mother. As I have often told you, I consider you to be the quintessential mother and your boys demonstrate that every day. As if that challenge had not filled your plate sufficiently, you have taken on all these other ones as well. Little wonder then that you run smack-dab into full overload. Life is intended to be a learning experience and learning requires some time for reflection, digestion, processing and consolidation. I know you understand this full well and have been beating up on yourself somewhat for the compromises you are forced to make. What the boys have brought to you is the way to calculate the cost of those compromises.

    Since my heart surgery, I have been blessed with a quite new perspective. I have come to realize that when one approaches a buffet the first choice one needs to make is whether this is an occasion for tasting every dish there or is it an opportunity to create a fantastic meal by the judicious choice of a few select dishes. Neither choice is inherently wrong. However, the latter was new to me and worthy of exploring. I will share a few observations.

    When tasting every dish on the table, one has little time to savor any one of them. The taste of one bleeds over into the next and at the end of the "feast" one is hard-pressed to remember any of the details. We finish on sensory overload. In contrast, creating a meal out of a selection of complimentary foods forces one to pay attention to how they all serve each other. Since there are only a few tastes involved, one has time to reflect on each one and on their combinations. Patterns are revealed and one's palette becomes quite discerning. The creative process emerges full strength as one contemplates new combinations for future consideration. I have been quite astounded at how satisfying such a simplified lifestyle has become. While there are a lot less events in my current days than what I was used to, each of them has a richness and a texture which I had never experienced before. It boils down to the age-old quandary; quantity vs. quality.

    There is a more important part to this, however. When one is engaged in so many projects and not enough time to do them all to one's satisfaction, one is forced more and more into dealing primarily with problems which inevitably arise. They get elevated from merely urgent to important. Since we are coming to understand that we get what we focus our attention upon, we start getting more problems to focus on. The wise person is one who uses the time for reflection to dwell on the successes and satisfactions to the extent that the inevitable problems fall into the minority. That balance ensures that successes predominate and that is eminently more satisfying.

    With love and admiration


  2. Thanks for sharing. The ending brought a tear to my eye.

  3. Tanya you are SO brave. Your honesty is inspiring.