Tuesday, January 16, 2007

When she's not home...

I wash her clothes when she's gone for the weekend. Shake my head when I find a baby snickers bar in the washing machine. Fold her jeans just the way she likes them and stack them on the end of her bed. I listen to music in Spanish fighting the lump in my throat. I am reminded that she is not really mine. That her world is so different from my own. Yet the crossover is amazing...often surprising. I brush a long black hair from my coat when I get into the car. Smile when I pass the Mercado. Glance down 33rd when I pass by, wondering if she's there or not. She is my daughter. Yet she belongs to another. Another mother. Another family. Another culture. Another country.

"She holds my heart out in the wind

She laughs at me when I feel this way
Windblown, restless and so afraid
But there's more to life than yesterday
So she laughs at me when I feel this way."


Here I am watching my heart out there in the wind. Watching it walk around outside of me. And, yeah, she's free. She's laughing and alive and opening her arms to the world. Laughing that I am so worried...that I find this all so painful. And, yeah, there's more to life than yesterday. There's today and the whole rest of the future. There are the places where our paths meet and run along together for a while, where she is not wholly an "other." Where she is part of me and I am a part of her in spite of not being part of each other's yesterdays. And I am windblown, restless, and so afraid.

So, I fold up the laundry, the towels she brought with her and insists upon using. I hang the jazzy shirts in the closet and breathe deeply the smell of her. I plan a trip to the science museum for when she's home. Plan to make the foods she'll love. Push down the butterflies in my stomach wondering what I'll say when she comes home. How to comfort her sadness. How to speak love in a way she understands.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Thoughts on Parenting

I have a friend who describes her sister as a really great mom. I asked what she thought made her sister such a great mom & she said, "She doesn't get her identity from her children." She went on to describe how her sister doesn't see everything her kids do as a reflection of who she is as a person, and that keeps her from jumping all over them when they do something wrong or overreacting when they get a little crazy. She has her own inner peace (that's peace from God, people) & sense of identity, and that allows her to help her kids through their stuff without getting all tangled up in power struggles or punitive discipline. It's sort of like being able to look at things from the outside, where you can see the whole picture and find the real problem, rather than being so close to the issue that all you can do is react.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

At the edges of faith

I suppose that when you start wishing that life was easier and that you could just run away and live a quiet boring life somewhere, then you're probably exactly where God wants you.

When I start to get that scared feeling I know I am at the edges of my faith. I am at the place where all I can do is pray. Literally. Many are the times in my life when I've been frustrated by the placating response, "I'll pray for you," or, "All we can do is pray." I have never ever before known what it really feels like to be in THAT place where all you can do is pray. I mean, sure I've been in places where there isn't anything I can do. But, that's just the point. There's nothing I can do. Try being in a place where there are lots of things you can do. You must, in fact, do something. And you have no idea what the right move is. That's where my life seems to exist right now. In that place. ...where all you can do is pray. And then, slowly, quietly the move you must make unfolds. It comes from without you, not within you. But you will not get the answer before it is time. You must wait. Patience. And all you can do is pray. I don't have words yet to explain what happens next, when it's time to make the move.

This is a place of great anxiety for me. I suppose I will have learned faith when this place is no longer a place of worry.