Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Who are you parenting?

When I named the blog, "Mama Let's Go" I was thinking of the process of letting go as a parent AND what an energetic/impatient kid would say to his mom. It fit.
But today, in a meditation, I heard a different child's voice calling to a different mama. My voice calling to MY mama.
That thought brought on some tears as I made space to really listen to my own 6 year old voice. I could sense my own impatience, my own insistence, my own energy vibrating through me, raring to go.
My son is the age I was (6) when my dad passed away (consequently, at age 41, my current age). We have an ancestral time spread between us. Prior to my dad's passing, he had a brain tumor that my whole family was navigating at various ages and development stages.
I cannot fathom being able to witness my son's growth, change, unfolding and developing while literally losing my mind to a brain tumor, nor can I fathom my husband caring for me and three other children, one an infant, while also trying to witness and encourage an active, bright 6 year old.
Even now, I am in great health, and have only ONE child, and it can be challenging.
So I feel a lot of compassion for both of my parents.

And I am able to (with a lot of therapy) hold both the compassion for my parents in a very tough spot AND the hurt I felt at not being seen the way I wanted to be or even needed to be at times. It's not about blame, but about realizing that in any situation multiple things are happening.

Sometimes my compassion and understanding for my parents swept away my own hurt and longing. They did they best they could. I did the best I could. No point in getting hung up over what happened in the past.

But that's not what this is. This is simply acknowledging that my 6 year old self didn't have the compassion I have now. She wanted to pull her parents into her world of discovery. She wanted to be noticed, appreciated, and encouraged in her voracious curiosity. She didn't want to deal with cancer, she wanted to take things apart and put them back together and sponge up all the stuff she was experiencing around her. She wanted to process her emotional upheaval and her quickly gained wisdom. She wanted to yell, "Mama, let's go!!!!"

K came home the other day with a drawing he had done at summer camp and I was a bit taken aback. It was drawn by hand from a picture, and included 3-D perspective, a concept that is more generally seen in an 8 or 9 year old. Even as an adult with art school experience, I am challenged by it. After I got over that he had drawn it himself (it took a few minutes) I explained that this was somewhat complicated because of the spatial ability it requires. He was confused about why I was so taken aback. It was just his drawing ability.

Similar things have happened this year that have also been equally surprising:
K can speak in an English accent with no problem (and can even do the Scottish accent a bit too).
His memory is amazing.
His comprehension of complex ideas is pretty alarming.
His physical ability is both advanced and effortless.
His reasoning skills are getting to be as good as mine, and occasionally, he has called us out on double-standard practices.

I'm not writing this to brag, but I'm just pointing out that I have had time and space to notice them! A luxury my parents did not have when I was the same age.

A part of me is parenting K the way I wanted to be parented. It's a common practice to find some healing in that. But it dawned on me that that still doesn't provide me parenting of myself. Sure, I can ask questions and stay curious about K, but I really do need to actually do some of that work for myself to really heal the wounds.

It's good just to even listen to my own voice, even if I can't do anything about it because it's in the past. It's healing to acknowledge that a part of me is still yelling that to my mom, my dad, myself, probably a few bosses, and even a few friends.

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