Monday, May 31, 2010

The Nature of Love

So I prepared myself as best as possible for this thing we call parenthood. I took classes read lots, talked to other parents, and did internal check-ins about what was happening to my body, my life, and my mind as I progressed in pregnancy.
But to be honest, nothing prepared me for the emotional wallop of having a child. I know it sounds sappy, but I never thought I could love someone so much. Yes, I have been in love, have had long-term relationships, etc. But this is different.

The experience of loving an adult is like building a house. It is a deliberate act to create something nurturing and sheltering with someone. If you do it right (and often we novice house builders need more than one pass-through to create a house that will stand!), you start by building a great foundation, and add bells and whistles from there. I have built fancy turrets without a proper foundation, only to have it crash down around me. I have also built huge deep foundations and failed to build a living space that was fanciful enough to capture my imagination for the long haul.

Loving my son, though- that is more like being a force of nature. (Because I am!) Sometimes I feel as though I could rip through someone, utterly destroying them, if they went to harm my son in any way. BEWARE the mama bear.
And the intensity of this love scares, exhilarates, and surprises me. I know I can never be the same again, because of this love. I know that I will never be completely worry free ever again, either. But it is a fair trade-off, I think.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Learning About My Son

This post is from my previous, now defunct blog.
Original post date: Sunday, May 9, 2010

In most of the religious traditions that resonate with me, deep and meaningful spiritual practice depends on “being present”: living in the moment, realizing that THIS moment is really all we have. This practice of mine used to be so much harder than it is now. My son has helped me to remain present more often than a daily sitting practice ever used to.

When we are together, I am constantly checking in with him emotionally and energetically to suss where he is and what he needs in that moment. And while I may have “plans” for my day or evening, if my son “derails” them, I am not as upset as I have been in the past when someone else has derailed my schedule. Being present in the moment is my main priority and goal for the day, everything else takes a back seat. It has meant opting out of some fun things, taking an incomplete this semester (in which I am struggling to catch up as we speak), and looking a lot more flakey than I ever used to (and man, do I hate flakes!). And you know what? It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that my son is well loved, attended to and learned about each and every day.

My attentiveness has been rewarded. As his personality is unfolding, I am learning more and more about this tiny human and what he will be like.

My son is shy. He prefers small intimate gatherings to large boisterous ones. He is curious, but only so not when overwhelmed by stimuli. He likes meeting new people, but usually one at a time and he likes to have mama or daddy nearby when it happens. He likes staying at home and exploring things slowly.

He is energetically quite sensitive, and picks up all sorts of things from people. When confronted with people with crazy, tweaky, or angry energy, he moves inward. His eyes unfocus and he retreats. He uses this coping skill in large crowds as well. He has learned to go internal when facing uncomfortable people or scenarios- where did he learn that? I always thought these tendencies (as well as being an extrovert or introvert) were socialized, learned behaviors. But these appear to be “how he is”, as if he were born that way.

These things make him appear rather boring to the large crowds that have met him at Beltaine, Pagan Pride, and PantheaCon. But nothing could be further from the truth. While he is still developing who he will be, I can assure everyone he is fascinating, quite smart, and engaging. You just have to meet him on his terms!