Amazing Parents

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

I Will Hold Your Hair Back When the World Gets Overwhelming…Whether Or Not You Hold Mine

What happened next wasn’t very interesting, so I felt no need to keep that story going. But if you must know, I will tell you. All the sordid details of every pathetically complicated interaction.

He laughed at me. He said he knows. He said, “Yes, for 10 years. I felt it too. But that doesn’t change today.”

Then my brother got me Conor Oberst tickets and now I’m fine.

And how, exactly does this become about parenting? And especially about parenting a child with trauma? Well, everything. In every way it feels the same. Because my son, and all the stories he could keep telling, about wanting so badly to be loved and to be noticed and to be validated by someone he looks up to. That is what I was doing. That is just what I thought I needed in that moment. And I believe I did. I needed someone to wrap their arms around me and say, “I hear you and you’re safe with me and I love you anyway.” And he did and it’s all good.

But what if he hadn’t? What if he just laughed?

I would have been so humiliated, so hurt, that I couldn’t have left that space with a smile on my face. I would have been in tears.  But worse than that, I would have been in so much emotional pain that I don’t know how I could have recovered.  I would have continued to throw up and stay awake in bed, curled up in the fetal position without a thought in my brain.  I would have chalked it up to every negative thing inside of my head being right, once and for all. They are all right. That I’m that terrible. That I’m fat. That I’m way out of my league here with trying to find love.

That is what foster care is like for our children.  And placements and orphanages and disrupted adoptions.  To be so terrified of sharing yourself with someone.  Yet to go against everything inside of you and actually say what you want.  Then only to be shut down, to be laughed at, again….and again….and again.   To be devastated by someone who you thought was supposed to love you.

I think a lot of times, the traditional parenting paradigm that we operate out of is just like that. Our kids whine and they cry and we say, “Oh that child! He is just doing that for attention!” As if that was a bad thing. What if we stop thinking of it like that and we just give them what they think they need? What if we just meet them exactly where they are? Validate their feelings?   Hold them?  Show them how much we care about what matters to them?  Tell them that we, “hear you and love you anyway” or that “all your feelings are safe with me”?  Isn’t that exactly what they need?  Isn’t that just what you have needed at times, someone to just unconditionally support you no matter what?  Or someone just to hold you?

Because that’s all I needed someone to do. I just wanted to be held.  And that’s not wrong. It’s right. And true connection creates safety to have those needs met. That is unconditional love. And that is what parenting should be all about.

How did we get so far removed from that? When did we start saying “full-time mom”? Like Nelly asked, “When did a child become a full time or part time deal?” Isn’t the very nature of parenting a full-time job? To bring a life into this world, whether by our body or our hearts and be responsible for them in every way?  To be there with someone, for someone. Someone who maybe just “needs” you when they need you. Someone who you are just there for.  You know, just to hold thier hair back when the world gets overwhelming.  Because it’s not our children’s job to hold ours.

And that’s it.  That’s all that happened.  From the beginning until now.  I had an experience of unconditional support from somebody that I needed it from.  Finally, he was present with me and he heard everything I said.  The best part is that he is taking responsibility for his part of the relationship and that makes him a big, strong man.   And that means the story isn’t over yet.  (Wink, wink.)

To be continued in about 1000 years…..

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September 11, 2008 - Posted by | A New Paradigm, Soap Box

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