Tuesday, April 02, 2013


Entire technological advances have come and gone since the last time I took the time to write.
Manny is a walking-talking-cussing-grabbing-nursing machine that is teetering on young childhood, babyhood behind him like winter is behind us now... it rears its head now and again like this morning's slippery snow, with the two-inch-tall daylilies poking up, reminding us that a new stage is upon us.

Partly, I have been just too busy to organize my thoughts. Since going back to work full time, for the first time (really) since Aidan was born, I'm just moving from moment to moment, trying to be everywhere I need to be, at the time I need to be there.  As a chronically late, obsessively disorganized, hippy momma... the conversion to obsessively detail-oriented, list-making, stair-stepping, crazed driving social worker has been... well, weird.

But I have alllll the time in the world between home visits and meetings, driving from one end of heaven (literally Eden) to the other end of snowswept Hoth, to think about the world.  Those thoughts and ideas and plans build up, and sometimes manifest in heart palpitations.  Sometimes they  manifest in tears, sometimes in wide-eyed panic.

So despite my desire to swear off the trend of belly-button gazing, contemplating our own reflections, I've decided maybe it is time to remember letting words drip from my fingers is a type of release, a deep breath, a breath IN.

And we all know, come the return of the light, the cheerio of the Robin, the chirkchirkchiiiiiirk of the Red Winged Blackbird, I like to wax poetic, and get all wrapped up in dreams and sunrays.

This year is different for me in lots of ways.

I spend everyday wrapped up in my adoptive history.  Most days it is irrelevent... the types of traumas we see in our clients are far beyond anything I could understand as someone given up as an infant by a teen mom.  But it does mean I spend everyday thinking about identity, attachment, place, community, family...

...and it comes back to this:  We don't know.  We know lots.  But we just don't know.  We don't know why one child shows perfect resilience, and the next one doesn't.

At work, we have an entire library full of resources. But they are just a half step up from the parenting manuals that litter big box book stores.  A touch of medical or psychological expertise topped with anecdote after anecdote and "expert" advice on how to parent.  How to parent a child not born to you.

But the real quantitative or qualitative research on relationships hasn't been done.  We do now understand the basics of DNA, and that there may be much of nature we can't control, but epigenetics are little light switches turned on by our environment, nurture deciding which parts of nature get to shine, and which hide in the dark.

I don't have answers.  But I have ideas.  Questions.  What if we decided parenting was a journey of questions, not answers?

Why is it that we want people to verify what we feel in our hearts?  Parents often seem to know the answer they are wanting some expert to "give" them.  But that answer seems somehow to not be what they want to hear.  They need to take stronger action.  They need to give more leeway.  They need to be kinder.  They need to give stronger boundaries.  They need to give up on all of it, and just love that kid.  There are a thousand things they come to the experts for.  Me, too.  I waffle and cry.  I wonder.   I want someone else to give me permission to make decisions about sports, internet, school, dating, whatever it may be.

But like staring in the lake at our reflections, or endlessly navel gazing.... it is just that, an exercise in self-thought.  It isn't self-love... the kind that relieves heart palpitations.... or self-reflection, the kind that leads to change, it is just staring.  Rehashing.  Seeking outside of ourselves for a truth that only exists within.

Easter is a difficult time for me.  As a minister's kid, I loved the week before the resurrection.  The deep darkness of thought, the night time vigil, the depth of rejection, sadness, and betrayal of Maundy Thursday, the mourning and loss and mother and lover's grief of Good Friday.  The total one-eighty from Palm Sunday with its sunny springy happy sunshine and palm waving and weaving.  It resonated with me.  That depth of rejection.  The darkness of waiting for the angel to come and roll the stone away. The vigil.

But now, as more of a buddhist, or humanist, or even animist, than a christian, I find that the truth resides in pushing away the stone of darkness ourselves.  Opening our hearts and minds to the world, to the spring, to the future.  It's true, sometimes we need to reflect and re-examine in order to remember where we started, but gazing too long at our reflections blocks out our understanding of the world.  We're in the cave, alone.

So I'm going to write here.  And try not to make it too reflective, too dark, too navel-opinionated.

C'mon, Sunshine.  Let's do this.