Saturday, September 13, 2014
mini-mid-life crisis, focusing on what matters, connecting...chapter 4
it has been a year and nearly a month since i last wrote. in some ways i've continued writing in my head, random journals, e-mails, facebook, etc. but it isn't the same. there are many reasons i stopped writing, but i'm not analyzing those for this post. i woke up this morning nearly jumping out of bed needing to write. i had gone to bed next to sea who was crying (and trying to hide her tears, chin up and smile/laugh through it). i had told her it was alright to be sad, her tears were telling her something and i wanted to hear what she was upset about. but she felt like she needed to be strong, in control, above sadness and maybe even be happy for me (one of my childhood issues i had hoped to not pass on to her). she doesn't want me and my m to leave on a trip to berkeley (conference for him) this next weekend and just wanted to "be with me". i have mixed feelings about being needed...independence versus independence...these have been life-long struggles and i think they both are important but in this moment i was alright she felt dependent and wanted to snuggle her 9-year-old body on top of my lap. doing so i realized just how big she has gotten. by big i mean "growing up" and not size, though i realize they go hand in hand. my son on the other hand had been like me with regards to the departure of my parents "can you stay away an extra day?" he was looking forward to the adventure and socializing with mimi, auntie and cousins.
so back to my daughter since this was where my focus was going to bed. we hadn't gotten resolution on her feelings and what we were going to "do" though she got some comfort with the idea maybe they could go ice skating while we were gone. we went to bed with me hugging her and not trying to offer a quick fix. i had been reading J.D. Salinger's daughter Margaret's memoir "Dream Catcher" and over-relating with some of the crazy things from her childhood...mainly the way she dealt with her feelings and slow development of her identity and being true to herself through her desire to please her dad and be a "good girl". the struggle for perfection and the shame of not measuring up...sea had been excited to write a narrative for school..."the adventures across the mountains" in the vein of chronicles of narnia and the hobbit with more fantasy thrown in than i was attracted to at her age (or maybe because i wasn't exposed to it?). i was excited her teacher mr. l, who is very passionate about teaching and looks at his students as his family, had told her he would teach only writing if he could. sea has always loved telling stories through her drawings and reading stories but i've always hoped she would also share my love for writing. not even what she produces, just the experience of writing being part of who you are, something you are compelled to do but brings you great joy/meaning/answers questions...i'm not sure what it does but it is something i must do to be true to myself and i wanted to share this with my daughter at some point. i've been trying to let her be who she is without the pressures of what i hope for her. this writing is all over the place. good thing it is just an un-read blog where i get my ideas down :)
the point i was trying to get at is when i went to bed last night i was thinking about my role as sea's mom, my own experiences of childhood, what i wanted for her and her childhood, lessons of life she could take beyond this incident...and in the back of my head were the ideas about sea loving to write (and missing writing myself) and relating with the memoir i was reading right up until i was too exhausted to stay up any more. so when i woke up this morning i HAD to write. i'm still not clear that i have anything in particular to say, but i've missed this part of myself so much i need to rearrange my other priorities to make it nearer to the top. i also woke up with the idea that sea is almost grown up...not an adult, but almost to the point where she will look to her friends and people outside of me and her dad for answers. she will try to differentiate herself from us and not want to sit on my lap and cry because she will miss me. so i'm on the horizon of a new chapter in our lives.
i was thinking about the mini-mid-life crisis i've been having over the last few months and though i don't want to go into that here (not enough has been resolved...i keep adding more variables in!), i'm sure that will be important blog material if i do allow myself to write more frequently. one of the variables is my struggle with narcissism...from my childhood, in myself, in my husband's childhood, etc. and how not having your own childhood needs met means you limit the childhood your children get become overly focused on oneself. i've had a life long struggle with being someone who genuinely loves helping others, giving of myself quite unselfishly, having a "good heart" as my husband calls it...usually this gets me praise and appreciation and i can find myself through the reactions of others but as a mom and wife over the past few years i realize this giving can mean taking from those you care the most about. not balancing what matters in the pursuit of giving and doing more. so recently i've gotten much better at saying no. and not only being ok with it but HAPPY about it as a sign of mental health and good for the people i'm turning down, too. i tell them i will help them find someone instead of being that someone :) i haven't fully resolved how to be true to myself and my genuinely giving nature while focusing on my number one priority of my husband and children. this will be a huge theme in the near future.
even as i typed that last idea i was aware that subtracted me from my daughter. she is an old soul who thinks about big, existential issues and has a certain confidence she got from both myself and her dad...i'm just worried it is a false confidence and i want her to truly know who she is and be that, not who she thinks we want her to be. i haven't been a very good role model on this. so i feel like i need to fix myself (again, to be perfect) to show her how to be but really more than that i want to show her we all struggle and it is more about HOW you struggle, how you deal with the negative, pain, hurt, sadness and use it to learn something and be true to yourself instead of shutting down, cutting off the pain, trying to be good, perfect, etc. i want to be real with her and show her all sides of myself including the floundering and show her how i get through. i want to connect with her while i do this so she knows i not only have her back, but really want to know HER and be be there through her experiences. i want her to share her secrets and fears with me. i want to listen to her stories both imaginative and real. i want to BE THERE not only being physically present but actively involved and PRESENT, feeling what she is feeling and how i feel in response.
this is getting too psychological and abstract. one positive change i've made in my life recently is exercising more. i feel like i need to get off this computer and go "quick walking" as i call it...nearly as fast as i jog but without the bounce and strain on my joints. i've found i need to go at least 20 minutes, shoot for 30 and if i get 40 it is the golden number for me (back to OCD issues and trying to control things--not sure what this perfect number means really).
i usually try to end an idea by "wrapping it up". i don't really have a wrap up for these ideas and real life mommy, wife, daughter, individual issues i've been struggling with. it is a process. but i suppose i'll try to have a goal instead. i titled this "chapter 4" because i look at my childhood (adolescence, college age and early adulthood) as chapter 1...finding and being ok with who i am...chapter 2 would be my relationship with m and being ok with being connected to someone(these issues are still spilling in to the present chapter)...chapter 3 would be figuring out my role as mom staying home with my children...so i suppose now that they are both in school i am on to chapter 4...i'm not sure what that chapter holds but i'm terming it a "mini-mid-life crisis" because i have to throw a lot out, resolve things i've held on to that don't work, demons i haven't faced, integrating and overcoming my weaknesses, allowing myself to be more vulnerable and real, focus on what really matters and connect...these are just a few of the ideas in my head before i head off to go on a fast walk. i suppose this post is more of an introduction to what will be than adding on to the end of what is. it feels like i should start a new blog. one that doesn't focus on myself like "mommy's journey" does. but ultimately this is my story. that is the nature of a blog. i can bring other in through what i share and how i connect, but it is still told through my experience. maybe my walk will help me clarify what i'm searching for in chapter 4.