Swan Mothers

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

On Allowing 

Whether we allow it, or not
Life moves through us. 

Events happen. 

We are changed. 

When we cease resisting, we Allow,
and the flow of Life and Change THROUGH us,
is not impeded. 
It does not get stuck
in our muscles and bones. 
It moves. 

We shake and tremble. But we do not stop the flow, 
so it doesn’t stop us. 
This is why we cannot resist sleep.
Our KNOWINGNESS gets us out of the way for a while. 
And sleep is fine. 
So is conscious relaxation into life. 
So is conscious allowing. 
So is conscious accepting.
This is Loving What Is. 
This is Loving Our Selves. 
This is Love. 

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Focus Finding Mission

I open Twitter and see the people doing it right: they focus on their niche, consistently tweeting on the same topic; their tweets have a distinctive voice and are routinely clever, or inspirational, or snarky, as befits their persona; their posts are nicely spaced, appearing every hour, around the clock.

I know this is the right way to build an audience, establish credibility, and attract a following. Every now and then, I attempt to follow these rules. Then, I get distracted. I retweet something, just because I like it. I type a random thought that came to me in the shower. I tweet 50 times one day, and then don’t tweet for days, or weeks.

I have a jumping-around kind of mind. My interests and thoughts scatter a hundred times in a ten-minute conversation. Ideas spin off, sometimes on rapid straightaways, sometimes into deep rabbit holes, sometimes in a thousand directions, like sparks of fireworks.

Source of Scatter

For 30 years, I was the consummate good girl. I created lists and schedules. I color-coded my school notes and files. I adhered to guidelines, suggestions, and shoulds. For 30 years, I thought the true me was the ultimate rule-follower.

From 30 to 40, courtesy of my children, I discovered all the ways that rules do not work. I stumbled upon books about alternative health care, natural living, positive parenting, and expanded world views. I realized that my rule-following youth was not a projection of Me, but a coping mechanism for surviving in a crazy world.

For the past few years, I’ve been learning to recognize my multidimensional self, to honor my non-linear thought process, and to unearth the real True Me. My tweets and blog posts reflect my winding, confusing journey. I may not be doing Twitter and blogging, right, but I’m doing it my way. I celebrate that.

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Work in Progress

Thirteen years ago, my mother-hero’s journey began. My almost-three-year old’s teacher stopped me at the door. “We’d like to have someone from special ed come in and observe Ellana. She’s not like the other children.” My heart raced. My world whirled. Hours passed and I began to assemble the teacher’s words into meaning. She thought something was wrong with Ellana. I wept. I raged. I decided that Mrs. Francis was wrong. I refused the call to adventure. I rejected the labels the teacher and observer wanted to associate with my beautiful, brilliant girl.

Twelve years ago, I acknowledged that my child was very different from the other preschoolers and accepted the challenge to be the kind of parent (I thought) she needed. I decided to overcome the autism spectrumy thing. I donned my battle gear. I read, researched, and planned. I drove my daughter to therapy appointments and sampled treatments and therapies of many flavors. I had a goal. I would help her to modulate odd behaviors and acclimate to the ordinary world. I would fix the glitches in her system. I would make my child normal.

Eleven years ago, when my second child was two, he was evaluated and given an autism diagnosis. While Ellana’s way of being defied labeling, Daniel had never spoken a word. He pressed the buttons on his toys repeatedly. He flicked his hands in front of his face. He was happy, affectionate, intelligent, and obviously autistic.

Nine years ago, my first grader was in her fifth school in five years, and we were asked to withdraw midyear.  I plunged into the abyss. Amidst deep, dark despair, I experienced moment of insight: I would teach my daughter at home.

After five years of homeschooling, after much yelling, crying, and foot stomping from mother and child, revelation dawned: I did not need to fix my daughter or her brothers. They were not, and never had been, broken. None of them resembled the children I had envisioned, but they were perfectly themselves, and I loved them, no changing required.

Four years ago, my three children went to school. For the first time in eleven years, I was home alone during the day, so I decided to write a book. I interviewed mothers of autistic children and wrote about the transformative power of our parenting journeys. I was healed and enlightened. I recognized my children’s inherent awesomeness. Life was easy and good. And we lived happily ever after.

~ The End ~

Cue the laugh track. While the above is an accurate, though drastically abbreviated, telling of my parenting experience (the whole is here), and though I did feel as if my mother-hero’s journey had come to a natural conclusion, I relaxed on my (virtual) lounge chair on the beach, margarita in hand, rather briefly. The end was not The End, but a curve in the spiral of life, circling into another loop of The Journey. I had arrived . . . somewhere, yet felt more unmoored than ever.

 

Mother,
      a small BIG word, 
       gave my life purpose and meaning.

It was I,
         who knew what my children required.
It was I,
         who fed and healed.
It was I,
         who soothed and strengthened.

I was
     needed,
     heeded,
     indispensable.

Until I was not,
             not needed to fix, for they were not broken,
             not heeded, for they invoked their own wisdom,
             not indispensable, for they were competent and complete.

Mother,
      a BIG small role,
      forged the woman I am today.

It is I,
       who practice non-interference.
It is I,
       who aim to advise less and listen more.
It is I,
       who teach and support.

I was
     heated,
      hammered,
        beaten into shape.

Until I became,
               cool and unrestricted, flowing like water,
               expansive and pliable, open to constant change,
               sovereign and free.

Thirteen years into the journey, I am trying to not try to figure out a new purpose for being, striving to adjust to the flow of life’s currents, and learning to thrive in this uncertain space. I do not remember what I know every day. I relearn lessons I previously mastered. I slip, stumble, and fall. I notice twists, hills, and valleys on own journey honor the journeys of those around me.

I know that in every moment, we are all flawed, and we are all stunningly beautiful. All is perfect, even when it does not seem that way. Everything is in creation. I am a work in progress.

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