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Saturday, December 3, 2011
Even life forms we consider to be simple are uniquely rich in their complexity. They cannot survive alone, but must cling to something else for nurturance. Solitude is precious, so too is connection. Finding a balance between the reality of inter-being and our cyclic desire for separation is a dance we are ever engaged in.
I am watching this in the relationships between my two teenage daughters and me, their mother as they become increasingly more independent —- “Mom, are you kidding? (exasperation) Leave me alone!” —- “Mom (in tears) what should I do?” -- a back and forth, not so gentle tug on my heart.
I see this in my own need for assistance from others due to the physical challenges resulting from Multiple Sclerosis and my longing (like my children) to do things on my own, to be by myself, and to figure things out in my own way in order to continue my human development.
There is a healthy clinging, we must acknowledge, in the midst of blossoming into who we are becoming; sometimes it is subtle, other times gripping, still despite yearning to detach, differentiate, be “ourselves,” we inter-are, and that is the way it is.
It is official. I am no longer a "cool" mom. Not even to Rosie:-( --almost 15 and for Belin being almost 18, this is not news. Somehow it is harder with the youngest, more surprising, though you'd think it would be the other way around. I am in the thick of it now! I'm not sure exactly when the turning point happened, when I became more exasperating, annoying, irritating, tear-provoking instead of the fun, funky artist mom to be proud of, the go-to hugger and comforter with absorbent shoulders for tender tears (ok that still happens, occasionally). I suppose it has been gradual, and is of course developmentally appropriate. That doesn't make the poison dart comments, eye rolling or extreme sensitivity and misunderstandings of pretty much anything I say any easier to sit with, but having been a teenager a long time ago with the same feelings about my parents back then (we are very close now!) and having taught teens for years, listening to them complain to me (I was still "cool" then, I wasn't their Mom) about their perfectly loving and admirable parents (my peers)...I get it. When I think of all that I know about child development as an educator and my own experience, it IS a relief to recognize that none of this has anything to do with Multiple Sclerosis. While it certainly has an impact on our family life, these are all par for the course growing pains that every family must endure. The really good news, and there is some, is that like all things in life, everything changes...and gauging from my relationship with my own parents, in 10 or 20 years, give or take, this too shall pass:-)