There’s always a time that comes when raising children that it becomes necessary to step to the side. We can only guide and set the pace for so long, then they begin to stretch themselves in and out of the comfortable and familiar places to see whats out there, what else is on offer. They begin this process of sifting and sorting through life’s offerings usually at a time when we believe they are most vulnerable. We are wanting to keep them close by, keep them securely tucked under our wings, keep them safe from all we know is out there. But the truth is, it’s necessary that they begin to know this for themselves. It’s necessary that we listen to what it is they are wanting and needing to do, at what ever age it presents itself, however hard at times it may be to hear. Our readiness as parents may not always line up with theirs. We must be able to step to the side, even if the words are hard to hear, even if we already know what the probability of the outcome will be. Even if we believe that their choice is not going to serve them well, it remains to be their choice. I have been learning to stand to the side of my children for some time now. Their choices are hard ones to hold at times, and it has become necessary to know when to keep quite and allow the sifting and sorting of their preferences to be that of their own. My children have been learning what works for them and what doesn’t from very young ages. At times its felt as though some of the lessons have been too hard, that they have been too young to be carrying such weights. Weights, that most of the time they have chosen for themselves. It’s not easy to stand to the side, in the deepest of love, and wait, wait to see if they will come back full circle. I’ve noticed, that most of the time they usually do, on most things. They begin somewhere with an idea of themselves and they want to see how it fits out there in the world. Then they play, explore, dream, fly and fall. And eventually, usually always they’ll end up somewhere where they first began. This is the beginning of their lives moving in circles, eventually everything always brings them home, back to themselves.
the literature of women’s lives is a tradition of escapees, women who have lived to tell the tale.. They resist captivity. They get up and go. They seek better worlds.
I have been quiet here lately, away, for quite sometime now, I know. There has really been nothing that has been ready to say. No truth that needed to be revealed, not until now, anyway. I’m in the in-between. Moving slowly and allowing myself to build in strength. I have let go of all that my story entailed and will leave the pages blank for a while. There are deep hard questions that I need to ask myself now. Ponderings that only arise when all the children are asleep, when the house is still and there’s nowhere to hide, from myself. What was it I believed about myself that would allow another to come in and ever so slowly and carefully dismantle me, my worth? What belief is it I must hold that would say, you are undeserving beside the ones you love, the ones you care for and give your life to? Where did the deep value and love for myself go? I didn’t notice it leave. For so long I didn’t fight for myself. I allowed whatever expectations I had about what I deserved, to slowly fall to such a place that I began to believe and hold on to what was happening as if it was my truth, a devastating portrayal of myself. I would catch myself sending silent whispers off into the world, wondering if this was to continue to be my story. While travelling in the car with my children and my husband, my own reflection caught me in the car window and in that very inconvenient moment I was hit hard with a deafening sadness, where I had to fight with great strength to hold back the tears that were begging to fall but in such way that I knew if I am to begin now I may never stop crying. I may never be able to escape the depths of this grief, grief for the loss of myself. This is the moment it became so very clear to me, if I stay in this, I simply would not survive.
We gathered again on Christmas Eve as we always do with other families at my mums oldest, dearest, friends house. This year was different. This year, we were all here, with the children a year older and happy to reintroduce themselves to each other and the same faces we see only once a year and yet have become so familiar with. We were all here, in the absence of her. It has been less than a year, since she left us, we weren’t really certain if this wonderful tradition would continue, it has been going on for over thirty years. This celebration has always been about the children, the generations that it began with, now belongs to their children. It has been a sad year for this family, sad for my mum. On this night, we all paused, we took a breath from our own lives and it was there that the magic happened, there was a moment of grace for us all. We played, we laughed, we talked, we let go and smiled. There was a new baby to add to the generation, and the babies of last year were all toddlers now, and instant friends. Georgia, our littlest had a special attentiveness towards my mums friends husband. This was a recognisable hard moment for him, this had been his wife’s celebration, this was now, his gift to her. Georgia, in all of her young wise years, I’m certain knew this to be true. Her focus was on him. We watched in wonderment as she assertively bossed him around, ordering and leading him here and there, keeping him present, keeping him from falling down in his grief, that on a night like this would have been all too easy to do. With bubbles, and smiles and angel wings on her tiny shoulders, we all remembered and vowed to come again next year.
I have been slowing down, sifting through, and clearing out on purpose. Life has presented me with an abundance of challenges over the past few months, with children, family, finances and grand life decisions. I keep reassuring myself there is no wrong here, just different paths to take, i keep reminding myself that i am only one person, and all will be well. Friends are important right now, at least one in particular. I think without this friend, my challenges would have been inevitably harder. She has been my breath when i have found it impossible to breathe, she is the one who listens as worlds fall apart, makes the tea and wipes away the endless tears without trying to change or move me into feeling better. She is alright sitting beside the hurts knowing only too well that they must be felt and really is powerless to change them anyway. It is with this hand, of this friend, that things are able to rise to the surface and be felt at the very depths that they require, without holding them in judgment or with regret. It is with this, that things are ever so slowing changing form, making room for new ideas, new beginnings, creating space, honouring growth. She is the one who reminds me to be more gentle with myself, to nurture my soul and more importantly forgiving myself for the minor infractions I so harshly hold myself accountable for. She reminds me that All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.
‘These woods are lovely,dark
But i have promises to keep,
And miles to go before i sleep,
And miles to go before i sleep.
There simply isn’t any time to crawl up into bed and sleep life away for a while, children are a blessing like that, i guess. They keep you moving, focused and in the moment and always on them; if it were to be any other way, i quite possibly might not get out of bed on this day.