Thursday, March 31, 2011

We Need to Be as Honest as We Possibly Can

It's as if my children, as they grow older, loosen bits and pieces of my childhood.  Like barnacles broken from sunken treasure, they float to the surface of my present latitude; finding me stunned to still be the same person from that fathom below.  It could be anything.  Just this morning I watched them in my rear view mirror on the short ride to school.  They were trying not to be seen peeking over the back seat.  The car behind us was following us and we were in grave danger.  In their minds.

I did that, and had forgotten until then.  I did that very same thing in the back of the Grey Suburban with her bouncy bench seats and tinted windows of 1984.

What do I do now with all this deep sea detritus from my childhood?  Floating there like signs and signals.  Beacons to lead me to honest parenting.  Slowly showing me the way.

Sitting, finally sitting in the quiet of the next room, or downstairs, I can feel my children willing me to come pat their cheek or cinch up the blanket around their face one more time.  One more goodnight, one more kiss, one more something they forgot to tell me.  If I must be honest [and I must or this angle would never find repose] then I will tell you that I rarely obey that will.  My own is so strong.  And being really honest would mean catching these little life savers and letting them float me up to the present of my children.  At their bedsides. Before their treasure begins to sink.

If I must be honest, then I'll tell you that once recently I did obey that will.  Which will really isn't separate from my own, to be honest.

In my bedroom, at the computer.  The four were maybe 20 minutes tucked.  Seth snuck, in his seriously silent way, into the doorframe.  He said,

"Mother, I just feel as though I need to be near you.  You make me feel important and big and safe.  Please can I just spend a few more minutes and have you to myself, nearby and all mine?"

He did not say this.  They never say what they mean.  This is why you need a PhD to be a mother.  It requires great deciphering abilities.  Instead, he said,

"I'm hot."

But, I caught this one.  To his surprise, I offered my bed, right next to me, it was cool and comfortable.  He at once slid into the sheet and sleep easily.

That is all any of us really need, to be honest.  At the end of the day, to slip easily into sleep, feeling safe and cool.  Like in a boat on the water.


Jennifer said...

Just exactly what I needed to read today. How did you know?
No time to figure that out - I am in a hurry to go look at my kids differently!
Thank you
J (katy's friend from tx)

LCFrohm said...

i, like jennifer, just want to say thank you. and wow. you are seriously a poete with your words. i feel those same tugs. wanting to lay in there. be close to them. because, these moments are fleeting. and when they're teenagers, and they "hate" you...they'll not want you close or to cuddle. and it breaks my heart each time i deny that tug to go watch them breathe.

Heidi said...

Thanks for these words, Jordan. They hit home today. You put it so beautifully.

Brookeanne said...

I reel from the same thing daily regarding memories of my own compared to our children's experiences. Great post!

Ann said...

This has been one of my favorite of your posts, Jord. Love you.

Rebekah V. said...

sometimes I find myself almost screaming "shutUP" to the voice inside me that says "you know exactly what they are feeling. you know exactly what they need because you remember feeling and needing the same." I want it to be quiet so I can keep doing what I am doing. I loved this reminder of yours to listen to the voice "eh, speak up, what's that yer sayin?" Honestly, you have inspired me to listen today.

Ann said...

Love it. You need to write.

The Original Mangums said...

Well said, and very true!

Katrina said...

thanks for this reminder, jordan. beautifully expressed as always.