"Can't hear a word they're saying Only the echoes of my mind I won't let you leave my love behind" -Harry Nilsson

My son just wants to explore stuff freely. He wants to do stuff when he feels inspired to do it. Until he hits a wall and needs help meeting his goals, he prefers no instruction or guidance. He sees time spent getting used to a new environment, navigating complex social situations, and covering irrelevant material that does not speak to his specific needs as a waste when this time could be spent DOING. Practicing, thinking, exploring, imagining, interacting with his loved ones, and taking cuddle and cocoa breaks- this is how my boy learns. This is how he engages in his pursuits. This is how he grows and masters.

But for some reason, even though this all sounds so logical and quite wonderful, I am unable to leave it alone. Without knowing why, I pick this scab compulsively. Pushing him. Building elaborate support structures around the thing I’m trying to get him to do. Enthusiastically offering even though I know… Being hopeful when I should’ve let it go. Being blind and denying the legitimacy of his work. Seeking extrinsic validation, feeling powerless and resentful and vaguely worried. Over and over again I have recognized what I’m doing and redirected but still I return. All roads lead here. I am trying to unravel some unresolved story but then I realized- its my own story. He is exactly like me, in all its glory and cringe-worthiness. He is like me.

And I wonder, why does this realization temper my reactions? My most scathing inner dialogue is aimed at myself, so why the softening when I realize we are the same? Maybe I am reminded that he is just a person, flawed and figuring things out the best he can with only a decade under his belt. He is not an affront or a statement or something to be handled. And maybe my heart reaches back in compassion to smaller, weaker, and even less understood me.

When something sparks my interest, I rarely want to take a class in it. I like to practice it, read a book about it, discuss it with a friend, daydream and make up stories about it, let it infuse my work, find all kinds of connections regarding it, try on the words and colors associated with, and let it go or transform with my own timing. But listen to someone talk at me about it, particularly if its not personal or interactive, or conform to some program about it? No, that ruins the adventure for me. I want to dream walk. I will not become an expert. I will not be recognized in the field. And I will not be able to answer trivia questions or pass a test. I do something else. And so does my boy.

I remember at his birth, the midwife broke my water. Knitting needles will never look the same again. I agreed to it but I knew in my heart it was more like an acquiesce, much like the high test labor speeding herbal tea I had earlier. I knew my trajectory, I trusted my process, I was throwing her a bone. I don’t know why I felt the need to. Looking back I am not regretful, merely curious and I find it interesting that right from the get go there are themes of sovereignty presenting themselves. The midwife presented her interventions as options, but the thing about resources is that they are offered prejudiciously. Factors that had nothing to do with me- what worked for her, what’s available, what’s convenient, what makes sense in her perceived sequence of events…Her resources felt like interference, but mostly because I knew exactly what I needed. My interactions with her were largely built on keeping her appeased, reducing her voice so I could hear my own. This isn’t about semantics or politics, natural versus medical births, this is about trust, sovereignty, and the ripples created by my son’s entrance into this world and our relationship ever since. I remember the point at which I was ready for the birthing tub. By this time I was a force of nature. Upon hearing that the tub was not yet full, I declared that the world would stop spinning until that tub was ready. It shall be done. And it was.

I’ve gotten better at protecting myself from even the most friendly interference. Someday I hope to be better at not being a source of friendly interference. My son has an unacknowledged supporting role in my process. We will follow our threads with only the help and input that the universe supplies, letting things enter our worldview with natural and impeccable timing and sometimes in the most surprising guise. There is magic in this flowing and unfolding. Everyone has their snowflake take away. If we were all funneled to the same interpretations and conclusions, the tapestry would be lacking.

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  • Christine

    2016-01-28 15:12:50

    Nora, I love it. You so very clearly and beautifully describe your journey in getting to know your child and yourself in the midst of it. Thank you for sharing your story so vividly and openly. This also serves as a reminder that it is a journey, together (but, interestingly also separate), and we have the ability to keep learning, and perfecting as we go.

  • Willow Shamson

    2015-01-13 23:59:00

    You are brilliant! This was a beautiful description of the process of accepting our children and how it helps us to accept ourselves. Realizing something in or about our child and the light bulb that shows it to us in ourselves. It was a pleasure to read than you so much for sharing it.

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