A good word to describe us as of late...funky. I can't exactly pin down where the "funk" has come from...but there is no doubt it is here. Today, while Asher was having a terrible time at the whole sharing mama thing, I inquired as to if he was feeling "funky".
"mmmmmm, hmmmmm.", he replied.
"Ya, mama feels a little funky too."
And so it is.
It appears that both of my chilis are feeling a bit....um...insecure and are both needing a heavy dose of mama love, which really does delight me in some ways and helps me to feel like the "work" I am doing is somehow helping these little beings find security in this sometimes scary world. But, alas, there is only one of me and two of them...and so sometimes the reality of it all is a tad bit...overwhelming.
After spending an evening at the bookstore a couple nights back...I realize how much moments of solitude, where all I have to be is Jessamyn, are really NEEDED in my life. They help bring me back to who I am...apart from my identity that is all wrapped up in motherhood. That is something really important to me...and something that is usually one of the FIRST things to go out of the window when push comes to shove. Why is that? Hmmmm...something I would like to change. Just another thing to add on my ever increasing list of "things to change". It is funny how you discover more and more about HOW you want to parent and the decisions you want to make once you have already started the whole parenting thing. There are a few things that I look back on with Asher in his infant years that I might have done a little differently with him. But I guess that is why the term "live and learn" is so frequently spoken. And, I feel very, very thankful that I am still in the YOUNGER years of his life...and Journey's. They are both so adaptable to change (well...one a bit more than the other) but you know what I mean. A few of the things I have been thinking about with that? Well heck, I might as well share. One of them being the whole idea of how to guide, engage and influence Asher at this stage in his life. To me, there seems like such a fine line between being responsible for and being an authority to. I always want there to be a respectful relationship between me and my children. I try to parent as mindfully as I can and when I find myself following this parenting style...it feels so good...but it is very hard to stay on that path. Only because it requires a lot of mindfulness and a TON of being present and in this world, those are both things that are hard to maintain. But yet it is what "feels" right to me...and so I know it is how I should be parenting. One aspect of what I am in a funk about is the whole disciplining thing. I know that children need our guidance and vice versa...and that we need to set boundaries. How to deliver them is the thing that tugs at my heart strings. I don't like that we rely so heavily right now on the whole...if you do this, than you won't get that. It seems to be a surefire way to avoid some kind of tantrum or misbehavior or whatever...you know, to make our life more convenient. The only problem is, I don't know if I agree with what that teaches. Sure...there are consequences to all of our actions and that is a very valuable lesson to learn. But, I am not always confident that the consequence of this equation always match up or have any relevance to the situation at hand. Is it teaching him to do something nice out of the kindness of his heart...to help build up a certain character quality? Or, is it just teaching him NOT to do something because he then wouldn't get what he wants...not because of anything going on inside of him. I just get lost in that. I am less concerned with him being a well behaved person than I am with him having a soft heart towards people....but perhaps the two are interrelated. Oh! So much of this runs through my mind all the time. Daily meditations need to be brought back into my life.
Another thing that is bringing out the funkity funk in this home? Plastic. There are so many plastic toys around here and it is driving me bonkers. I don't know how to hand sew children's toys, but I wish that I did...and I wish that I would have given Asher hand sewn toys from the very beginning. And, I wish that I was crafty with wood so that I could make wooden furniture and play things for the kids...but I have my dad for that (right, dad?)! In all honesty, I most likely have less plastic stuff than the average American home....but that is not minimalist enough for me...I just have to get rid of some of it...GOODWILL, here we come.
Are you tired of me complaining yet? I am. But one more thing I need to get off my chest before I lay down with my family to sleep...and that is...THIS HEAT!! For those of you who live here and have children (or not)...what are you doing to keep yourself happy in this heat?! I am climbing the walls and so is Asher. Isn't summer when you are supposed to be outside, playing in the SUN? It is just too darn hot to be anywhere other than inside unless the activity is centered around water. Which is great and all...but the heat really wears you out after a while of that too. What are you doing to have fun, while staying cool? I am feeling so bummed that the most exciting treat I can think of for Asher is going to the mall play thingy(ugh), or to the movies...not something I like to expose him to as often as I have in the past month or so. Any ideas? Please share!
Speaking of which...we went to see Ratatouille this evening. Overall it was a cute film...with a few unexpected gun scenes in it (who would have thought?)...while I was sitting there with a bit of anxiety over the feelings that come with me doing things that aren't on my "ideal" list (ie...taking my 3 year old to a movie among other things)...there came this line in the movie where two characters are talking about their place in this life and what their "role" is. The script went something like this...
"you can't change nature"
"nature IS change...at least the part we can influence. It is our decision"
For many reasons that line stuck out to me...and on many different levels. I am a person who likes change...change that moves us forward...whether that be on an individual, familial, communal or global level (cause one is a part of the other no matter which way it runs)...and I also like to discover ways in which to make the life I am living a little bit...well...MORE. There is a quote that stays in my heart every day...not in words but in meaning. It conveys something about the fact that if we only pass this way...in this lifetime...but once...why not make it for good? Why not leave a positive imprint in this world...on people's hearts and minds...in children's lives...on mother earth? There is always room to change things that need a little improvement, right?
The universe seems to be revealing ever so gently some of those "things" lately. Tonight, I walked around the kitchen humming to Journey as she was drifting off to sleep...which in itself was a change that so humorously unfolded...let me just tell you. Last week I was bouncing Jo to sleep on the exercise ball that we have. For my family members...you know what a huge addiction that became for Asher when he was an infant? It wasn't like that with Journey...it was just the fastest and most convenient way to get her to sleep at night, but she was very flexible with any method really. Anyway...as I was bouncing her...the ball BUSTED. I mean, it just busted in half. We were both so shocked. How crazy is that? So, instead of taking it as some kind of offense to myself(ahem)...I decided to interpret it as some need for change. Instead of quickly and quietly getting Journey to doze through some kind of hypnotic "bouncing"...why not just BE with her. Walk with her. Sing to her more. Let her head rest on my chest so she can hear my beating heart. Let her hands trace lightly on my breast as she winds herself down. Let her soak in that love at nighttime and let myself do that same.
And so that was the message I took...and it has been very sweet, those moments with her...that will pass all too quickly in the grand scheme of things. Tonight proved to be a magical moment as well. In the midst of all the funk that comes along with this life...there are those blessed minutes where all the goodness of life is gathered up and poured on top of me. The full moon shining in through my kitchen window provided perfect lighting for me to witness the beauty of change, through my exchange with Journey.
And that kind of change, I am convinced, is worth all the funk in the world.