Amazing Parents

Sometimes it\’s AMAZING. Sometimes it\’s just A MAZE.

A Perfect 10

It’s funny to me to see my son today. He is going to turn 10 any minute and that alone just cracks me up. I feel like that baby boy just came into my home. That it can’t really be such a long time since that moment. I guess I feel like I just met him, and in a way, I guess that’s true.

I remember the years of drama and crying and fighting and….just all of that. The never ending guilt of knowing I wasn’t doing something right. And also the confusion and frustration of just not knowing what that was. I couldn’t have changed it then if I had wanted to. It was all just so complicated. So overwhelming and sad.

There have been many large transitions in our life lately. Lots of things that even I am struggling to understand. Years ago this whole situation would have resulted in tantruming. Screaming, kicking, sweating, broken furniture, tantruming by Tyler. And I would have hated him for that. For sucking even more life out of me than was already being sucked by the situation. At a time when I needed all the energy and positive thoughts that I could muster up from deep within. And he would have felt that negativity and it would have caused yet more tantruming. It was a vicious cycle of resentment and broken hearts.

Sigh.

But none of that is happening now. Tyler is able to express himself and tell me where he is emotionally. He hugs me and tells me everything is going to be ok in the end. Yes, this same child is now comforting me! Yes, he is able to connect to me and to what I’m feeling right now. He can use his words and his body in very positive ways to build an even stronger relationship with me. And I love him for that. For that kind of connection. For what he can give to me. But also for showing me that kind of power in love. For being a living example to me of endurance and patience and faith.

I’ve been thinking of that a lot lately and I often have to remind myself that all those inches did indeed add up to miles over time. That those stones did pile up into a mountain.

And he’s so right. In the end, it IS all going to be ok.

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April 26, 2008 Posted by | A New Paradigm | 1 Comment

A Stone in the Ocean

Sometimes I look out at this big, scary world and I am almost frozen solid with sadness. Before my son came to me, I had no idea how much pain was in the universe. As naive as I was, I just didn’t know. But now I can see it. All of it. The overwhelming sea of humanity existing together in synchronized pain.

I see the starving babies whose bellies are swollen, in countries with rich, fat kings. I have seen how war rips arms and legs from parents who are then unable to provide for their children. And other children left with no parents at all. I can hear the incessant cries of babies born drug exposed to young mothers in the ghetto who just don’t know how to feel anything real inside of their bodies, least of all a baby.

It’s not me being dramatic. This stuff is real and is happening every minute around the globe right now. And it hurts me. It hurts me deeply. I can feel it pulling on me from somewhere, like a string that tugs on me from everywhere, the other end connected to that ocean — the overwhelming, turbulent, angry sea of suffering.

There are things I do to ease my discomfort, to quiet the never-ending thoughts. Somethings are proactive and others are just soothing. I do them because I have to. I just have to. One thing I have to do is reach out for support. It took me a long, long time to find a place to turn to. At first I tried my spouse, but his pain was so deep that he wasn’t able to help me. I tried my relatives, but they seemed too far removed. I talked to friends that I already had, but what I had to say was too much for them and they all slowly wandered away. So I searched harder. I looked further. And I found you.

This past weekend I went to the desert and I sat in the hot, dry sun. All around me I felt the incessant chatter of mothers whose babies are hurting and struggling to find out who they are in this world. I could close my eyes and almost feel the synchronized pain of these mothers trying to parent their children with attachment challenges. An almost unidentifiable pain. Something maybe without any words. Just a feeling inside my stomach, buried deep, deep down inside me of a memory that still makes me sick. Was it my mother or my husband or my boy? Maybe inside me they are all the same. Sometimes I honestly do not know.

What I do know is that what we all need here is some hope. Even just a little. I turned to my soft friend, with her voice from somewhere I think I’ve been before, and I told her that we just needed some hope. And almost in a panic, she whispered, “Yes, but that is like throwing a stone into the ocean”. And she is right. The level of pain that these mothers live with is extreme. But you know, even stones add up to mountains over time.

For me, in that desert, I found what I was looking for. I found what I needed. I needed some hope. I needed to be heard and to feel like my experience mattered to someone. And that’s how I was made to feel. Like I mattered. That my needs were real and absolutely accepted on every level.

So to all those woman, screaming and laughing in synchrony in that big, loud room, on a mat, on the floor: thank you. That is where a little nugget of hope came to me through unconditional love and support. So to all of you, thank you, for not only throwing a stone into my great big ocean, but for being the stone itself.

Press on! I am doing that now.

April 16, 2008 Posted by | A New Paradigm, Soap Box, Support Groups | Leave a comment

My Missing Piece

Shell Silverstein wrote this book called The Missing Piece. It is about this little pacman-shaped guy who rolls along about his life. He likes to sing and have adventures. He even likes to stop so butterflies can land on him. He’s a good little guy and as you read you not only begin to love him, but you also begin to see yourself in his story too.

As he rolls along, he begins to feel like something in him is missing. It’s that little wedge that makes his mouth. And he begins searching for one to fill it, to complete him. It reads,

“It was missing a piece.

And it was not happy.

So it set off in search of it’s missing piece.”

This weekend I am heading off to Arizona for a mom’s retreat with my friends in the BCI network. These woman all share one experience. They have all begun a search to discover whether or not they have a missing piece and whether or not they want to fill it. I’m going to be pampered, yes. But also, it will be work. Because there are many things inside of me that I have left to integrate fully. It’s going to be liberating, yes. But it’s also going to feel at times like I can’t breathe.

“And on it went, over oceans….

through swamps and jungles,

up mountains,

and down mountains.”

A while ago my sister-in-law began to make handmade jewelry by fusing glass. She is an artist. Truly. Each one of her designs is unique and special and symbolic of something. She let me choose one and I picked one like this. I looked out across the pile of all these different shapes and designs and the second I saw this one, I knew it was the one for me. I just didn’t know what it meant to me yet. Or did I? Did I already know then that something was missing? I don’t know.

All I do know is that I’m going to take this necklace with me on my trip and I will touch it often to remind myself what I am doing there. I’m there to find out if there is something missing afterall.

“One day it came upon another piece that seemed to be just right…

Oh my, now that it was complete

it could not sing at all.

“Aha,” it thought.

“So that’s how it is!” “

April 8, 2008 Posted by | A New Paradigm | 2 Comments

Beyond Consequences TeleParenting Support Classes

I am proud to announce that the Consciously Parenting Project is now offering two levels of classes designed to teach the principles found in the book Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control by Heather Forbes and Bryan Post.

The classes are “tele” classes, which means that the classroom is virtual and the courses are conducted over the phone on a conference line. Each student is free to speak at any time during the class, whether to make a comment, share a personal experience, or ask a question. The teachers Rebecca and Wilma are excellent listeners and speakers, and are very, very well-trained in this parenting model. After each class, students are directed to a private forum for continued discussion of the topics from that week’s class. In addition, each student also receives homework that they are to do in the privacy of their own homes.

I just finished taking the level 1 classes and I cannot tell you enough what a difference they have made to me. As someone who has been putting these principles to use for several years now, I really thought I knew it all. But I didn’t. These classes are so great because they teach the basic principles, which is what many are looking for. But for someone like me who already knows them, you can also take your understanding to a new level. Really as deep as you want. So whether you are just starting out with a child with a trauma history, or your family is well on the path to healing, you will benefit from these classes.

Considering the cost of attachment therapy, you cannot beat the cost of these classes. Therapy can be upwards of hundreds of dollars per hour, whereas these classes are $40 total. That is 6 hours of instruction by phone with a BCI-trained therapist and unlimited access to the forum with other parents who totally “get it”. At that price, you can’t afford NOT to take them! The best news is that a new round of classes starts in just a couple of weeks and sign ups are now being taken.

Soon we will be offering similar courses like these in the McMinnville area. But why wait? Why not check them out from my friends at the Consciously Parenting Project today? You won’t be sorry.

BCI Teleparenting Classes from the Consciously Parenting Project

April 7, 2008 Posted by | A New Paradigm, RAD Education, Support Groups | Leave a comment

Did you think of that yourself?

I have this other friend. A young friend. A very handsome friend. He has always been good to me, too. I think there are just certain people in the universe that “get you” as a person. Maybe your personalities aren’t exactly the same. Maybe you don’t always laugh at all the same jokes. But on a level that’s hard to describe, you get him or she gets you. It’s not romantic love. It’s just a connection.

Recently my friend and I were standing at the front door to my house. We had jumped on the trampoline and laughed and talked, and now it was time for him to go. As he was walking out the door, we started talking about some things that have been going on in my life lately. Among other things, I told him I felt guilty about failing at certain things. Because the truth is, all the expectations are piling up on me, and sometimes it’s hard to see what my values and needs are, separate from those of everyone around me. So I just happened to mention that I felt guilty. I wanted him to hear me and validate that. I wanted someone to say, “It’s ok.” Maybe I wanted to wallow for a while in self-defeat.

He stopped and stood still and he looked me in my eyes and I’ll never forget what he said. He almost laughed as he said it. “Did you think of that yourself?” I just got a stupified, confused look on my face, because I thought, ‘well, obviously’. But then he added, “Or did they make you feel that way?”

Long, silent pause right there in the doorway.

I don’t know who “they” are. It could have been anyone. My friends. My brother. My own children. My church. Anyone who gives their opinion, anyone who feels a need to judge my situation. There have been comments made by some busybody-types, which have made my skin crawl, telling me to do this or to do that. Some even offer up what they would have done if they were me. The words they’ve said have echoed in my head as I lay silently in bed at night. They have made me question what I based my choice on: my own values. What they said has made me feel embarrassed, ashamed, confused, scared. And I hadn’t quite thought of this that way until their comments. It seemed so clear until everyone else got involved.

My friend, although much younger than I am, yet not nearly as immature as me, has taught me a valuable lesson in that question. It made me see that It’s ok to have feelings. Of course it is. But I need to make sure I’m not shifting into a place of victimhood by taking on the expectations of those around me. To make sure I still feel in control of my own life, of my own choices. Because I am.

In the end, I realize that maybe there isn’t a “right” choice here with what I am dealing with. Some people would have stayed, when maybe another might have gone. Some might have stood and fought, while others feel more comfortable backing down from what they truly desire.

In the end, I made a choice. The only choice I could make for me in that moment. And I own that choice and it is mine. I have power over that. I am not a victim. I am just me, and that’s perfectly fine for now. And yes, I thought of that myself.

April 6, 2008 Posted by | A New Paradigm | 1 Comment

Honor who you are

I have a friend, Nelly, who thinks she is mostly bad. She says she never knows the words to say, that she’s never been able to really express herself clearly and walk away from any conversation satisfied. She sees herself as the odd man out in every circle. Her inner most fear is that she is right.

This friend of mine is one of the closest, most intimate, confidants I have ever, ever had throughout my entire life. When she tells me these “secrets” of hers my heart breaks just a little bit more each time. And I am confused. Because that is not how I see her. Not even close. Not even at all. It’s hard to even imagine she feels badly about who she is, for any reason. I’m just so sad to think about it.

My friend is beautiful. I mean, gorgeous to look at. A body that just melts into your eyes, long brown hair that waves around as she talks, a perfect nose. Her long legs are toned and strong. Her smile lasts all night long in my mind. I just love her. She’s gorgeous.

But also she has a huge heart. One time she rescued these two abandoned kittens and fed them her own breast milk through a tiny bottle until they were strong enough to drink formula from a dish. Some people might say that’s crazy. But I don’t think so. I think she just couldn’t stand to see them suffer and she would have done anything, even if it made her “crazy”, to save them from that pain. She is a strong mama and a loving wife to her husband. She loves homemade coffee and seeing horses run makes her cry. She recently decided that the ocean was pretty and that sand was okay afterall.

My friend is amazing. Besides my own babies that grew inside me, I love no one more than I love my friend. She has laughed with me when nobody thought it was funny. And she has cried with me probably a million times. She is the first person I call when my babies master a milestone. She is the last person I ever think to blame for anything. She is wonderful. And in many ways, I am who I am today because she has stood by me and loved me and protected me and cared. She has cared about every stupid story I’ve ever told her and been angry whenever I’ve been hurt.

I’ve never had a friend like her. Until now. And I only wish that she saw herself the way that I see her.

strong

gorgeous

wild

emotional

truthful

sexy

intelligent

articulate

grounded

compassionate

Those are the words that come to mind when I think of her. I wonder which ones she would disagree with and why. I wonder who told her she wasn’t that girl. And I wonder why she believed them. I wonder how others would describe me, and how would that differ from my own idealization of myself? And I wonder why it’s so hard to see ourselves clearly, the way that other people do. I wonder, why is it so hard to honor who we really are?

April 4, 2008 Posted by | Soap Box | Leave a comment