05 February 2013

working hard on figuring it out

 On Life & Such With The Boys

I have been working.

I have been working really hard: Working on writing, and living, and creating and parenting. On top of this, I work at making meals and planning days and being a partner to my husband. I work on compromise and tears. I work on being a sister, a daughter and a volunteer. I have also been working on the resolution I made to myself to find a way to do something creative for the boys everyday. So I try to gently work this into my day. I work on trying to find ways to gift my boys something small, small yet with intention and with joy. Things like hand-drawn hearts & little banners with their name on it, writing out little notes of love and affirmation, even fashioning little poems out of their names.

 Yesterday as I was playing with my paints and I made them each a February/Valentine's heart bookmark. It was simple. This whole resolution idea was not to make it a burden, just a sweet way to remind them I love them.  The younger two, who are both emerging readers, took their little treasures off to their room to find the latest book they are working on with us. Yet, my oldest, E, who reads these huge tomes of literature was not quite sure what to do with his bookmark. He really didn't know what to do with it because I think he felt torn; felt torn between wanting to be nice, but not really wanting a bookmark with a bunch of hearts on it. He looked at me with those eyes that really wanted to roll, but were trying hard not to roll, because he was unsure of what my reaction would be.  Instead he mumbled thanks, then he went back to the book he was reading on the couch.  Bookmark? Left untouched on the coffee table. To be quite honest, I was not offended, just a little ego bruised; however it left me musing on how hard it is to figure out all the needs of my children. 

Deciphering their needs as babies is hard. Really hard, with all that poop and spit and lack of sleep. There is no way around it, it is just plain exhausting! Yet as I have watched my boys grow older, I am now not so sure what is harder, parenting them back then, or parenting them now? Parenting this new time N & I have upon ourselves: navigating the teen years. And even then, I wonder who has it tougher? The teen, with all the awkwardness and hormones and school pressures, or the parent of the teen, with all the pressure to cram in a little more love and self respect and humanity in your son or daughter before he or she bounds out the door, to the whirlwind of life and living that beckoning and calling them by name.

I have a hard time imagining that day, the day E is off to high school, and then, eventually, most hopefully, college. As his mom, I still want to squish him and hug him. But his baby cheeks are gone, the little thighs that he used to waddle on as a wee one are gone too. There is not one ounce of squish-able on him, he is all long, all lean. E is just a few inches shorter than me & I suspect he will reach my height by the end of this coming summer.  He is kindhearted & mature, yet such a brotherly boy. See how he is grabbing G and soft punching him at the same time? {All this while I was trying to take a nice family picture this past weekend} At times it is so hard to know how to connect with him. However, it is a challenge I welcome, because even though it is challenging, I know it will be forever harder still if I don't keep trying

We expect a lot from him, and at times I know we expect too much, forgetting ourselves that he is still boy, our child, just a much taller & more gangly one.  I wonder how this weight feels on his shoulders. and I wonder about the things we are doing wrong.  The ones we aren't objective about, the ones we can't see. Those are the toughest: the small ways that trip up your children, the hurting ways that you were never even cognizant of, they are the toughest, those quiet ones that slip in under the door when you aren't looking, or paying attention in just the right way. 

I love that I still see glimmers of his longing for a connection with us, by the way he joins us in our room sometimes, after his younger brothers are asleep. He will talk to us about his day. He chats about what was good and what worked about it, and sometimes, even, what didn't work. However, E has never been one to share the harder stories. I think he worries that we will worry about him... & I don't like that he doesn't want to share the nitty-gritty with us. Being the oldest in my family, I always felt a certain responsiblity towards my parents. I always wanted to make sure they had the right presents from us kids under the Christmas tree and I always wanted them to know that we supported and loved them. Even though, I knew the little ME wasn't enough to fill in all their worries, that caretaker self in me wanted to try. However there was a gap, there were many cracks that I just couldn't fill; but I kept at, I kept carrying and dragging and pushing  and shoving my coals from Newcastle, trying to fill up all the cracks and gaping moments in my parents' lives. I don't want that for E, or for either of his brothers. 
Now that I am "more" grown-up" I know that as parents we all have those gaps. We all have ways that we walk and act and feel in this world that comes from being raised by our parents in the manner they raised us. It also comes from just being who we are. At the end of the day, all our losses and gains and gaps are our very own to fill. I know there is no child on earth that can fill those cracks up for us. Even for E, who worries about us worrying about him, he will have his on own gaps and cracks to fill up and fix, and I know that some of those will have come from my failures as a parent. 

So I AM working hard on the love. Working hard on the love and the letting go. I am working hard on Loving my boys for who they are, not the potential I want them to have. I am working hard on letting more of the eye rolling go, and the cast aside gestures of niceness, I am working hard on trying to invite a bit more of the conversation in. 

Working hard on letting the boys be who they are meant to be. 


  1. How do you work hard on the love at your house? Anything you want to share?xxoo

  2. Ohmygoodness, I am amazed that you can even come up with a project to work on love. I am so overwhelmed with the everyday things. The piles of (mostly) clean laundry that haven't gotten in to the kids' dressers because I've been feeling cruddy and Peter's overwhelmed at work, not to mention the kids' work that is scattered everywhere. Wow, friend, you are amazing.


hello there! I love it so when you leave a bit of a note to let me know how you are and what you are thinking. I always love to hear about the things inspiring you and moving you through your day.

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