Wednesday, March 14, 2012

struggles (a mother's heart)

I believe we each come here with tasks to attend to if not in this lifetime, then in future ones. I believe there are lessons and skills that are mine to master and challenges are opportunities for me to dig deep within and summon forth my courage to grow.

I suppose I envision each of us carrying an invisible laundry list, every item upon it essential if we are to manifest our full potential. I know myself to be stronger for all that I have survived; I know myself to be more powerful because I rose to meet my challenges even when I really wished they weren't mine to face.

I know no one else could do for me what I needed to do for myself.

I know all this and still my heart breaks when I see my girl struggling. I want to swoop in and scoop her up and away from any danger, any potential heart ache or self doubt. I want to cocoon her and her tender heart in bubble wrap and secure her away from danger, from meanness, from bullies who need to inflict their pain and shame upon others.

My brain is incapable of imagining the cruelties that exist in today's classrooms and playgrounds. Lord of the Flies seems mild in comparison. I have heard stories this past week from other mothers's that would stop hearts and freeze blood.

I try to arm her with the tools she will need to face her challenges head on, but each time I send her back out into what appears to be an increasingly dangerous, cruel and lopsided world I panic and fear I have failed her. I haven't given her enough. She is so very tiny and the world so very large and fast moving.

I have no insights here, no positive spin on what is really the beginning of her journey. She's only in first grade and it has been a frustrating and challenging year although truth be told, I believe it has been tougher on me than her. I freely admit I tend towards over-sensitive on the scale of feelings.

I just know this is my struggle and place for growth: to trust in myself enough to know what I pass on to her will be sufficient, will lead her to discover the tools resting dormant inside of her own warrior's heart. I believe in her and she has coaxed some fragile tendrils of faith in myself to take root; I just need to relax around my own anxieties and remember we both came here for this particular journey and there are no refunds, no cancellations. Only living fearlessly because after all, we are joy warriors to the core.

And whenever I do forget the truth of all this, she reminds me.

It really is a karmic dance where we each take turns leading. I love it. Oh, and how I love her.

postscript: I know I am being vague here ... the events being Cowgirl's story and not really as Dickensian as I may be making them out to be! Just to clarify: Cowgirl was not the victim of bullying though I mention bullying because so many mothers this week shared with me their children's stories of torment and pain which only intensified my angst.


  1. oh my dear Lis, how you can make me cry. this is so beautiful. the reflections and again, how you weave words together. i feel this every day with my first grader (a trip to the dentist for him yesterday being one of those challenges...) my heart breaks, but yes, deep down i know, he is here for this too, this is what we do as humans, it's why we're here as humans... but still.
    here is to the courage-hood of mamahood.

  2. ~everything you behold in your your seeping out upon her...your bravery and warrior spirit she will carry possibly without even knowing it now...growing into such...becoming strong...little by little...

    being a mama is gut wrenching at times...our mama bear protective defense...never goes so true...we can only shelter so much and hold faith that we have given them the very best tools to get out there and walk the road they are meant to travel...your words are a touch stone to i think us all...emtions that cross our minds all the time...thank you for sharing these words with my friend are a beautiful mama who is and has been creating a solid sound foundation for well and much love light and blessings~

  3. Your words are so beautiful and wise. And that powerful universal pull to protect our young seems so much intense since I just have the one small soul to focus on. If I had 12 kids they’d have to figure out a heck of a lot more on their own! I approach all parenting issues with two hats – the personal and the professional. I’ve spent the last 25 years working with kids and parents, and have seen the profound negative effect on kids when their parents protect them from every pain and disappointment. These kids have no resiliency, they cannot cope with even the most minor inconveniences, and since they are not successfully navigating their childhood, it seems unlikely they will successfully navigate their adulthood. It is easy for me to spout advice and see the best way to do things when it comes to other people’s kids.
    But OH the mama-bear in me is a fiercely different story. I too want to hold my boy close and take away his hurt and fix his every problem. It’s hard to practice what I preach, and always so hard to let go, but I truly believe I do him a disservice if I don’t. I love your reminder that this struggle is not just about his growth, but also about mine! - Karen

  4. oh.

    you have touched my very soul with this....

    one billion YESes to all of it. it's soooooo hard to hold back and let them find their way..i feel like what's the point of everything i've gone through if i can't TELL her and SHOW her so that her journey is easier? but it's so true -- this is their journey and while we can offer scraps of our own experience, it is just that - our experience -- so fundamentally different from theirs. this was a HUGE lesson for me when Savannah decided she wanted to go to school...beyond my educational philosophies, my reasons for not wanting her to go were all about my experiences there. And of course, hers are so much different. i'm trusting (with a hint of desperation) to the idea of foundation...and that if i can help her build a strong one..then it will serve her well.but it still kills me to think she'll be hurt or confused or scared....

    hard lessons, for sure. but i think we help them best by always listening...hearing what they tell us (and don't tell us), bearing witness to their journey....i really think that's the key. they are so small in such a huge and noisy world, it's magic if they feel they are heard.

    and when they know they have that soft place to makes all the difference.


  5. My three children are all grown up and off in the world and I still want to protect them and show them where the danger lies and teach them to be strong and cushion their falls and help them from being "hurt or or confused or scared" but it is their journey and I have to let them work it out themselves now. But it's hard