Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Life Lessons

Mother to Son

Langston Hughes (1922)

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

I began this blog nearly two years ago and reveled in the friendship extended to
a girl who can feel silly and too young for her job of mothering and
worried that that is the way others see her as well.

My oldest does often stretch me to the utmost, but I have been recognizing
in the past few days that it is hugely my fault. I have known what he
has needed and refused it out of laziness and selfishness - he just
needs lots of time outdoors and lots of activities. I can't sit at
home and do my own thing in the same room as him and expect him to be
emotionally healthy. He is not a child who was made to live in an
apartment - I love being outside, but I can also be quite content just
holing up and reading and crafting and baking for days on end, and he
needs more stimulation than that. If he doesn't get it he begins to
demand it because he just craves care and attention and isn't fazed by
it being negative attention if necessary.

So I am being pulled out of the deepening hole we had been creating
for ourselves of lost tempers and unmet needs. I am grateful.
Yesterday we adventured along the canal path for nearly two hours of
rich contentment and beautiful imagination.

I LOVE WHO MY SON IS. I think that's why I can get so frustrated when
junk starts to hide that little man in there. When he chooses to be
awful, or when I am responsible because of not giving him enough or
the right kind of attention and social outlet, don't provide him with
enough rhythm and stability, or simply forget to give him a good lunch
or enough verbal prep for a transition occurring in our day (i.e. In
ten minutes we will be putting away this game and heading to the
store, and oh what fun we will have.) I can lose sight of who he
really is. And he misses out on the joy of experiencing that too. He
gets trapped by crabbiness that threatens to rob him of joy and peace.

When he is thriving his eyes are more full of light than almost
anyone's i've ever seen. He is clever, witty, perceptive of my
emotions, affectionate, intensely creative, imaginative, and
adventurous. What most breaks my heart is how difficult it can be for
other people to see that. Often all they can see are the difficult
aspects of his personality - I want people to delight in my boy. I
believe this is my deepest need in this parenting situation. It
crushes me every time someone looks at him, widens their eyes, and
says, "wow, i'll be praying for YOU mom." Even if well intentioned I
don't want pity.
He's amazing.

I'm learning piece by piece who he is and how to help him peel away
and prevent his junk so that he can live well in this world of ours.
Seeing things through his ingenious eyes turns my life into a constant
adventure. I just need to be ready to join him in it, and be
enchanted by the gift God gave me in my little honeymoon boy.


Lauren Gyorfi said...

sweet Rowan. we miss you

Xin Lei said...

what a beautiful post Liz!