Mother Moves, Child Moves More

This is an update about me and my work with my son, K-. I'm finding that, lo and behold, the moves I make against my own rigidities and narrowness of thinking affect how I'm able to be with my son.

It's been a few weeks now since I had an intensive. It made a huge difference to be able to discharge that much and to be the center of attention. (I am, after all, a parent-what a contradiction!)

I had a glimpse that part of what I need to be able to do better is just "be" with people, that the sole purpose of my existence is not for whatever job I can do. I don't know all of what "being" means, but I expect it includes taking up space, being part of the equation, and being able to keep a hand on my own pulse-with the flexibility to respond. I have a sense that this is what I need to figure out to be more present and a better ally to K- and others.

I've had a lot of feelings up that I normally don't notice-hopelessness, despair, not wanting to do things-feelings that I think I usually operate on top of in a less-than-flexible way. All of this has felt confusing, as if it is real and present. It's been useful to finally realize that at least part of what I'm experiencing might be old. It's like what I tell my fundamentals students: it might not seem like a positive thing, but feeling is a step forward from numb. You've finally got something to work with!

There's been a detectable shift in the way I do things. It's like when there's an incessant background noise that you accommodate and cease to notice, and then at some point you notice that it's gone: hmm, when did that dog stop barking? Anyway, there seems to be less worrying and less filtering of everything I do or say, an ability to be in the present instead of being driven by "shoulds."

My parents visited recently for a few days. Things were very different with my mother. Although she was every bit the same as always, I was much less upset, impatient, frustrated, and resentful. I even started thinking about things I appreciated about growing up around her. This change seems nothing short of world-altering. If this can be different, then anything can! If this can change, then any groups of people can come to see each other's humanness.

Things with K- seem to be going well. He and I are much better at regaining a connection when we lose it. He's in better spirits more of the time. I've seen many improvements in his ability to interact and attempt to communicate with others. He was just invited to a classmate's house this past Sunday afternoon. This is only the second time he has been invited to someone's house, and I see it as a very encouraging sign. Academically he seems to be doing well. Homework time has typically been a time of a great many sessions. Now things are changing. He's doing well in learning how to read, spell, and do math, making far fewer reversals of numbers and letters.

Whatever way I've been able to be involved with each of my Co-Counselors has made a big difference: that we can think about and assist each other, that we don't need to see the hand we were dealt or the blows we've endured as insoluble and indicative of the future, that we can take things on, make things different. Anything that intervenes is just distress or the (temporary) irrational conditions of life. Figuring out how to be close is important.

Making things different for K- means taking on old rigidities and making things different with my husband, with our family, with friends and extended family, with the schools, and with society, and somehow not just doing this out of decision but also with my heart . . . including joy in the equation. One of my challenges is remembering that I'm human, with all the attributes that brings. Perhaps most basic is for me to remember that I'm good and to know that it's somehow okay to include and even pursue joy in my life. I have a glimpse of being able to hold out greater and greater possibilities for changing the world, from a place of each of us enjoying good lives that include art, poetry, music, closeness. Joy. You.


(Present Time No. 110, January 1998)

Last modified: 2016-08-22 02:11:22-07