Wednesday, March 16, 2011

this dream...

last night i had the worst school dream i think i've ever had.  i was myself but i was also a kid and i was not my kids' mom anymore but their sister.  and we had decided to go to school.  we had never been to school before and we were nervous.  but in my mind somewhere i knew that i had been to school before but i knew i wasn't really me anymore.  i was sitting at a table with pam horton and mary montgomery and all the other people around me were people from high school, but i couldn't tell you who exactly now.  there was a test being passed out and we had to share the question sheet.  i kept reading it and trying to understand what it was asking but i couldn't and i asked mary and pam and they said they couldn't talk.  i tried answering it on my paper and couldn't write.  i started panicking.  i kept trying to understand the question and talking it out but then the teacher came and we all got in trouble.  mary and pam were so mad at me.  everyone was mad at me and they were all looking at me and talking about me and how stupid i was.  i started to cry but held it back.  and then my chest started hurting.  i left the classroom.  i started leaving and as i was leaving i found samuel and he was leaving too. and then sadie was leaving.  we passed silas and he was playing with some kids and wasn't upset at all, but he left with us anyway.  my chest kept hurting and i finally started crying and it kept hurting until i fell on the ground and couldn't breathe and it just hurt so bad.  i was able to eventually get up and we kept walking home.  we came to a river with a bridge over it.  the bus was coming and it wasn't going to stop for us and kids were pointing at us from the bus.  so we went to the river and looked down.  and then we all jumped in.  i remember being worried about sadie, but then we were okay and we swam across and it took forever to get to the other side.  and then we went home and i was hurting so bad that i could feel i was starting to wake up from it.  when we got home, MY mom was our mom and that startled me so much that i woke up.  and my chest still hurt.  and i still feel like i can't take a really good deep breath.

i woke to find a wonderful text from my friend jana.  just a beautiful affirmation kind of out of the blue text.  it helped me to wake up from the freakiness of that dream and i wrote back to simply say thanks but found myself in a halfsleep telling her about what i've been feeling:  "i have been in a very isolated space lately and most everything i do right now is obligation.  i am trying to heal something deep and learning to take the time to do it is hard.  i am blessed with amazing women like you in my life who accept me for just me.  trying not to feel like i have to be more than that is hard. thank you for reminding me of what IS."  the thing is, nothing about my life right now is hard, but there are things that i try to work through while also navigating this amazing, very full and happy life and that can be daunting.

i can't help but feel that this dream was telling me that i am on the right matter how hard it is.  i am trying to walk away from ways that no longer serve me.  a few years ago i got sort of shell shocked by someone and it caused me to build a callous, to lose my carefreeness and to be more cynical than i have ever been in my life.  so i started reading about taoism again, this has helped me start to unearth my authentic pooh-like self.  i know that i have let go of a lot of that old hurt, but in many ways i still carry it around and it is terribly heavy.  a weight in my chest.  it skewed my vision of everyone around me and i lost a lot of the progress i had made towards embracing friendship after so many years of pushing it away.

wow, i can take a deep breath now.  that feels really good.Share

Monday, February 07, 2011

to be a mother

this weekend was my mom's birthday.  40 years ago she was getting ready to have another baby, me, her 3rd.  she was 21.  she would have one more baby by the time she was 26.  all girls.

we went over to visit, just me and the kids.  my mom was home alone, it was the day after her birthday and she was tired from the trip out of town they had taken. everyone else had gone to my little sister's house to watch the football game.  so we sat and talked for a few hours.  the kids listening and commenting sometimes.  but mostly listening.  we talked about some of the things going on with the family.  the dysfunction of it all.  the usual.

she was telling me how she is learning mindfulness.  which led to talking about parenting and she said that when she was growing up she thought how things were in her family were normal. and when she had kids, she just did what she thought was normal, even though she did try to be less abusive than her father.  by the time she realized that abuse wasn't normal, that there were these other families that had happy, healthy relationships, she already had 3 kids and didn't really know how to change anything.  there weren't all the books and support and punitive parenting was still more prevalent than it is now.  she talked about what a family should be like and wishing that she had been able to change back then.  she told me that she and my oldest sister were talking and they felt like my family (me, scotty, the kids) were what they thought a perfect family should be.  this brought on such a rush of emotion for me.  i have always felt resentment from my family, for my choices in parenting and life in general.  they have given the impression, and even sometimes said the words, that they felt like i thought i was better than them.  i realized years later that it was their resentment, their feelings of being judged simply by my choice to do differently that put a wall between us.

we're dysfunctional.  we know how to get together and pretend like things are normal.  this is how it's always been done.  in the past few years though, i've been feeling an unraveling of that pretense.  that we are becoming more willing to talk about the past.  i think this is helping us finally heal.  she is learning to be a good parent to the grandkids they are raising/helping to raise, she is also letting my dad do more of the parenting this time around.  i admire that and i'm jealous of that at the same time. but supportive like crazy of it!!

we talked about what i've had to do for the last 15 years to become the parent i knew i could be, the work of undoing all the learned, knee-jerk behaviors and parenting.  how hard that has been.  there was a time when i didn't think i would be able to say those things to her.  i feel confident now more than ever that she understands and we aren't shushing the past anymore.

this is what it takes to be a mother.  it takes more than love. there has to be some kind of intention, some idea of what kind of mother you want to be and then get to work doing that.

for years i doubted that my mother loved us, more specifically whether she loved me or not.  i know now that if love were enough to be a good mom, she would've been a better one.  she did and does love us, very much.  i know this now.  and it is healing to no end.Share