Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In sickness and in health

I so don't enjoy watching my children be sick. At the start of any illness I seem to kick in to doer mode. Like a tornado through the house attempting with all my efforts to make it better. For folks who know me in general my parenting style is a hands off follow my children's natural lead sort of way. However when sickness arises in the house I turn in to some all knowing vitamin pushing drink this eat that military commander.  I dose my children with information I think is true about healing and health. I hide immune boosters in their drinks and food and then sit near by and remind them every 30 seconds to eat up or take sip.  I also start to clean fervently, every surface must be sanitized.

It was when my oldest son first said "mom leave me alone"  and later when my youngest nailed in on the head, "mom can you just cuddle me," that I started to pay attention in a different way.

When I stretch back in my memory I can see that from a very young age my oldest son has known what to do when ill.  He puts himself to bed and he sleeps until he is better. He asks for close physical contact and lots of popsicles.

Learning to trust in my children's abilities to know just what they require in any given moment and obtain it has been easier for me in some areas over others. The trick to it for me is truly seeing them outside of my stories and fears. And continuing to be the mom they need me to be in each given moment (as opposed to the mom that I think should take charge and eradicate the home and their bodies of foreign invaders).

There is a way I think that our world is set up to believe that the adults know all and the children know little. And many would go as far as to say our role as adults is to fill these empty vessels with information. However, many of my most humbling moments have arrived when I embrace the opportunity to learn from my children. Whether it be to unlearn something I thought to be truth or to see the world through their brand new fresh eyes I am often brought to me knees in deep gratitude.

This time around the lesson is just that in sickness and in the health my boys need the freedom to hear and respond to their own bodies. And that I get to stand by with offering loving arms to embrace each request.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I am a recovering

.. good girl.

I learned early on that it was best to keep my mouth shut and fly below the radar. I have a very clear and detailed memory of being chosen to feel the stomach of my pregnant teacher since I was "the only one sitting so quietly" I don't in fact remember feeling the baby kick or move or anything of the sort. But I remember clearly the message. sitting quietly and not rocking the boat will bring rewards. This message served me well throughout my school life.

Out here in the real world I have painfully learned, that rewards aren't randomly assigned to those of us who sit quietly and don't rock the boat. Now don't get me wrong I am not talking about changing in to   a super loud hell raising kind of gal (though I can see the value and reward in that) I am talking about a more subtle switch.

I will expand. My example shared here encouraged me from the ripe old age of six to look outside of myself for reward, validation and perhaps even guidance of how or what to be or do in the world. This message was validated for me over and over and over again in my school career. I create something hand it over and someone else decides if it has value or not and goes so far as to grade the value it has.  I was really good at this way of existing.

The toughest part though is out here in the bigger wider world folks aren't so generous with the praise and grading and its way harder to discern just how to properly meet everyone's expectations. Cause that is the other piece of the puzzle, with in the confines of school I was able to figure out just what folks expectations were and meet them. I met them with grand praise. I was rewarded with top marks for my skills at this.

Being in the world like this for the length of my school career seriously set me up for some patterns that have since come back to shall I say haunt me or bite me in the ass.  I continued to believe that affirmation, validation and guidance came from an external source. I trusted others to build me up (or alternatively knock me down) for I had no reference base of any other way to be in the world.

In looking so far outside of myself for ways to be in the world I lost the ability to dream for myself. The kind of dreams that lead to the grand manifestation of wildest freest happiest self.  I went along with folks, who I trusted and loved and ideas that made some sense to me. And don't get me wrong, on many levels this has lead me to the treasured life I have.  It is just that I keep bumping in to this place where a little girl inside of me is screaming "when is it my turn." And the more times I meet this little girl the harder it becomes to ignore her.

Parenting and living an unschooling life with my boys continually forces me to do the inner work that will bring my best self to our relationship. It is hard work. It is intentional. And it is taking me down some paths right now that involve some serious figuring outs and rediscovering.

As two young people who have never been forced to live by the external controls of others my boys are clear about how they would like their worlds to unfold. They are resistant to pressure from external controls such as guilt and manipulation. They are living for their personal happiness and the ripple out effect this shares with those they live with. Cause you see, living for you own joy and passion doesn't have to happen at the expense of others. In fact I am coming to see that quite often in can co-exist right alongside the living out of others joys and passions.

It is through their living experiences that I am coming to hear the tantrums of the young girl inside of me and nurture her. To pull of the ties of old thought patterns and welcome the journey with in. I can now work tirelessly to look with in for acceptance, affirmation, guidance and to trust what I find there.

I suspect my discoveries will continue to mirror the thoughtful, caring, optimistic person I am. I suspect my previous outward searches and discoveries have fueled my internal desires (even if I wasn't so acutely aware). I think what will shift and change in the most dramatic ways is my ability to dream and create from the place that is authentically and independently me!