Can I have a Cookie?

My son is a challenge.

I love him dearly and he challenges me to the very core of my being.

He is Six.

The other night I decided to win the battle and lose the war. Ever done that?  It was brilliant of course,  and so I am here to share it with you.

It was 9:30 at night.  I’d gotten home from seeing an inspirational film called Wise Women Speak and had left the kids with their favorite sitter (Mistake #1)

She is there favorite sitter why? hmmm…. I’ll let you guess.

They were not asleep and the 8:00 pm lights out bedtime I had specifically set had been overlooked and when I went upstairs my children thought it would be cute and funny if they were “hiding in my covers” and so I let them think it was cute and gave them each hugs ( Mistake #2)

and then they asked if they could please please sleep in my bed since it’s a king and they just want to “snuggle with me” and I said YES ( Mistake #3)

Except that I was not yet “ready” to go to bed and so told them they could fall asleep in my bed as long as they were quiet and IF I had to come back up to tell them to go to sleep all bets were off and back in their bed they would go.

Mistake # 4, 5, 6, 7,  8, 9 & 10, came next when I went downstairs to finish my tea and read starting with an almost immediate visit from my daughter to say “Mom- he’s kicking me and won’t be on his side of the bed”

I went up and told him to get in his own bed.

He said “no.”

I said “Yes.”

He said “NO!”

I dragged him there.

He screamed.

LOUD.

I covered his mouth.

He thrashed.

I held on.

He thrashed more.

Do you see where this is going?

= NOWHERE.

It was 10:45 before I finally got him quiet and calm and so I thought… asleep and I was rocking him in exhaustion wondering- what the hell just happened? and ” I am a terrible mother” and ” This incident must have made a huge impression on him that “when I say something I mean business” when his little head popped off my chest and he politely asked….

“Can I please have a cookie?”

 

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She’s a Mess

My first born will turn Nine tomorrow… Sept 12th.

It’s amazing she’s even alive – on top of being domestically challenged, the hospital where we had her did not even give us a manual for how to care for her!  When we got her home and found out she did not come with directions I was PISSED. I called the nursing station when I was feeling better finally (just last year) to give them a piece of my mind.

In spite of their negligence I managed to figure out a few things that I think were important and I am proud to say that I am very happy with how she’s turning out.

She’s pretty amazing – meaning- she amazes me, and others.

She’s creative and intelligent, bold and independent, incredibly loving and thoughtful, quick witted and funny. She’s athletic and she’s strong, and has an incredible flair for drama.

As a mom i also see the challenges ahead for her and I know that there are some interesting character traits in her that will likely manage to bump up against others. We all have these-  the parts of us are both the blessing and the challenge.  On a good day her boldness and independence can be courageous and inspiring and on a bad day it can look stubborn and relentless.

On a good day her quick wit and humor makes everyone laugh and see how clever she can be and on a not so good day it comes across as sassy and spoiled (ugh).

Her flair for Drama makes her an amazing actress and her imagination soars to places that inspire me, and when it’s used in other ways she can become an incredible advocate for her little brother being left by the side of the road or dropped off at the orphanage.

In the South when they first met her ( her daddy is from Alabama) they started to experience her personality and they kept saying… “that Manon she’s a mess” – until finally I told them i did not think that was very nice.  My Mother- in -law laughed and told me that where they come from being a mess is a compliment. I kind of liked that… she really is a mess.

I see so much of myself in her… and it teaches me things about myself even as an adult that have been quite illuminating. I parent her as I would have liked to be parented when I was a child…all I had and was given.. and all that I was not.

Now I know why those nurses at the hospital did not give me the instruction book.  They didn’t because they couldn’t. They could not possibly known her or appreciated her the way I do.  They could have never told me what she needed because i was the only one who had the key to unlock her needs. They could not have comforted, supported, disciplined, allowed, snuggled, tickled, invested, intended, applauded, interacted, or understood the way I have….

because I am her mother… and the manual was after all –  inside of ME  all along.

Happy Birthday to my little mess.  I love you, and I can’t imagine my life without you in it.

Tea and Crumpets

“Let the things that enter your life wake you up” – Pema Chondron

Our life’s work is to wake up to consciousness… is it not? Choosing to deal in reality is so very hard and as a culture we’ve set up a lot of ways to “escape.”

I can escape into television, drinking, drugs, sex, drama, music, books… and on many occasions I have, and certainly all of the above seems much more appealing than having to muck around in my own “stuff” and look at my life as a series of events that are called there as my teachers.

My Dad used to say that “Pain builds character… for more pain” and he’d always laugh when he said it, but truthfully now, I can see why he would say it. It’s adversity that shapes us, and pain that moulds or inspires our greatest human potential. Many people don’t even know what they are really made of until they actually let themselves “feel” instead of numbing the emotions with something to escape into… out of the pain.

The magic key to being able to actually stay awake is to be able to have sympathy for everything and everyone that comes along – even yourself. You might as well let it in because it’s going to stick around until you learn the lesson it’s offering anyways. Resistance is kind of futile.

Sympathy: is a social affinity in which one person stands with another person, closely understanding his or her feelings. Also known as empathic concern, it is the feeling of compassion or concern for another, the wish to see them better off or happier. Although empathy and sympathy are often used interchangeably, a subtle variation in ordinary usage can be detected. To empathize is to respond to another’s perceived emotional state by experiencing feelings of a similar sort.[1] Sympathy not only includes empathizing, but also entails having a positive regard or a non-fleeting concern for the other person.[2]

In common usage, sympathy is usually making known one’s understanding of another’s unhappiness or suffering, especially when it is grief. Sympathy can also refer to being aware of other (positive) emotions as well. In a broader sense, it can refer to the sharing of political or ideological sentiments, such as in the phrase “a communist sympathizer”. The word derives from the Greek συμπάθεια (sympatheia),[3] from σύν (syn) “together” and πάθος (pathos) “passion”, in this case “suffering” (from πάσχω – pascho, “to be affected by, to suffer”).

You can divorce, quite your job, leave a friendship behind, only go where people praise you and manipulate your world into giving you what you want but those old demons will always come back…

They always come back.

They come back until you befriend them, and sit with them, and serve them tea and fricking crumpets. I hate those demons.

I mean,
I love those demons.

September

September has always been the most powerful month in my life.

My father died when I was twenty toward the end of September- and I will never forget the feeling in the cool Maine air that week before he passed. It was as if he was joining the gentle fall of the leaves as our tears fell too and we wept to let him go. Everything was still and quiet when we said our goodbyes and I knew then that he would always be with me, and that goodbyes are not forever.

After College graduation I spent the month of September driving cross country roads with Irish Paul and under the big sky’s and over the badlands which added such expansion to my world, and my heart. Each exploration of National Forest and Coast filled my being with wonder while the radio blared REM and open windows blew it’s cool dry breathe in our faces leaving echoes of laughter in our wake.

My honeymoon was in September and I spent almost four weeks in gentle Bali meeting people who were filled with love and service. Traveling through the mountains of Ubud on married feet visiting communes of artists and the rural beauty of expansive villages. I was there September 11th when the World Trade Center fell and the people of Indonesia looked at my American face with eyes of grief telling me they were sorry for “my people.”  I learned then how very connected we all are.

My daughter was born September 12th one year later and I will never forget when they lay her on my chest that evening and I felt her – skin to skin, and touched each tiny part of her drinking her in. My heart expanded and life became something different then. Each year we celebrate her life in ours… this year she is nine.

I spent a month in Italy with my little family the year after my daughters birth and we walked September streets in Florence and learned to take our time each day just enjoying the feast of every visual, and food that had never tasted so good. We drove each day to a new adventure with our little one in tow and so happy we were that month in Luca, Rome, Venice, and mountain towns… the happiest until

Ten years later in September my deepest understanding of Love yet and it’s power to heal….

In September the hot summers cool into beautiful passages of fall, and my children return to school.  September is like the New Year for mothers who’ve managed to shake the last sand from salty towels and who’ve cut the final wedges of cooling watermelon.

September.
September.

Beautiful September.