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Monday, April 14, 2014

because I want what I want (my messy beautiful)

"What's wrong?" I say to the pouting face in front of me "Why are you so sad today?"

"Because I just want what a want," she says. "That's why."

She wants what she wants. Of course.

I want to tell her to stop whining. I want to tell her how great she has it. But. I stop to think. Yea, I want what I want too. I get that, don't you?

When we were newly marrieds, in our early 20s, me finishing undergrad that first year of marriage, I often said a similar thing to dada.

He reminded me of this, so kindly as he is want to do, when I was complaining about our whiney five year old daughter.

"Yea, well, do you remember what you used to say?"

"Me????? Whiney?????????? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.........What did I say?? I have no memory of this event."

"You used to say to me all the time, something like "Because I don't want to, or, what was it?""

"Oh yes," I say. "I do what I want to do, when I want to do it."

"You also used to lie on the floor, whining, when you were writing grad school papers, and say "I HATE EVERYTHIIIIIIING!!!!!!!!""

"Lovely," I say, "thanks so much for remembering that."


This was truly my mantra in those early 20s years as I struggled through college, early marriage years, then grad school.

I do what I want to do, when I want to do it.

You profs might boss me around, my boss might boss me around, but dammit if I want to stay out until 3am with hubby when I have a class at 8am, I AM GOING TO DO IT.

If I want to eat two entire pizza bagels at 11pm, I AM GOING TO DO IT.

Its like my little five year old is channeling my 25 year old self.


I was charming in my 20s, truly. HA.

But, you know, we all face this at some time in our lives I think, multiple times really, this claiming of self, this "Who am I and where do I fit in the cosmos" question. We all wrestle with it. And it comes and goes.

All children face this too. In fits and spurts. Nailing down their "place" only to have it ripped up with a new revelation about life.

"Mom," little man says to me one day last week, "I have some news for you."

"What is it?" I say, expecting some Lego creation presentation.

"Um, the sun is going to collapse into a black hole and we are all going to die."

"Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh......What have you been reading?"

He holds out a National Geographic. On the cover an ominous picture of a black hole, surrounded by stars. I flip through it quickly.

"Buddy, it says right here in the article that that isn't going to happen for how long? Read this."

"Five thousand years?"

"Five BILLION years hon. That's a LONG time. Maybe humans wont even live on this planet anymore. Maybe we'll already have found another better planet [to suck up ITS resources. HA.]"

"But what if we don't? What if all those people on earth then all get sucked in?"

"Weeeeeeeeeeelllllll," I say, thinking quickly and creatively, "Maybe they will get sucked into another dimension, like Narnia! Or, maybe like heaven!"

"Oh. Well, maybe."

But he wasn't convinced. And for several days we wrestled with questions of the what if of this scenario (oh the joys of masterful little readers!)

His sense of place, of being, was rocked.

And as I watch little miss wrestle with this question now, in the daily scenario of simple things, her temper quickly flaring and fading away (talk about a black hole...OY) I find myself relating with these questions of my kids.

Human questions.

I want what I want too.

I want a garden, planted, growing greenly. I want warmth (its 28 DEGREES RIGHT NOW) I want an agent, a finished manuscript. I want to have all logistical questions about Hawaii answered. I want dada to be earning money in his new biz, hand over fist. I want to take a frigging vacation to Disney World over spring break and hire someone to clean. HA.

[Honestly though, mostly, more than anything, right now?? I want the garage sorted, toys arranged and clothes put away from the Great Bedroom Rearranging of 2014. (You know that point after rearranging bedrooms where the furniture is moved but the resulting MESS is still left. This is where we are right now. And me? NO MORE ENERGY. Please, put yourself away! Where is Molly Weasley when you need her!)]

So, as my daughter sulks about the picture of the princess she tried to draw, blue eyes filled with tears of frustration, pouty lips trembling, what do I do? (Back from the philosophical into the parenting realities, right?) I smooth the crumpled offending princess out, pointing out the bright colors she used, and offer to draw in new eyes (the offending part that got scratched out.)

She smiles.

And I smile.

This, at least, for now, I can soothe.

And, mostly thought, as is with everything in parenting it seems, I can show her. To model it, right? This is what we do. Model calm. Model patient. Model gentle hands, gentle touch. And with too. Because, I too want what I want when I want it. We all wrestle with that, we all struggle with it. And what do we do? How do we model this one? We work. We work towards what we want, slow and steady. Five hundred words a day on my manuscript. An hour here and there, sorting clothes, a sunny afternoon in the garden, hoeing at the soil, cold temperatures be damned.

Another attempt at the princess drawing, and you will get it.

And more than that, the day in and out of life, we will become who we are meant to be, we will, we are, continuing to unfold. "From down below, up up I grow, and spread my leaves, so wide," we say, "and at the top, a little room, from which a lovely flower blooms, and opens to the wide blue sky."

This is parenting. Life too. Guiding these plants as they bloom. Not as gardener, but as a nearby flower, stretching, searching, this leaf uncurling, then that, just a few more summers ahead in the garden that is life.

notice the forced smiles. by the end of this picture taking attempt I was
yelling my face off "JUST ALL SMILE AND HOLD STILL,
GOOD GRIEF!!!!!!" ha.

Hey, so, if you don't know Momastery, the amazing Love Wins blog, well, you should. Glennon writes about the messy beautiful life we live on this brutiful planet. So, I am sharing this post on her website as part of her "messy beautiful warriors" project! a blog roll of sorts to share the love with other sister warriors as Glennon celebrates the release of her paperback "Carry on, Warrior," (which I'm excited to read soon!) Click here to find out more about her book. 


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