Saturday, December 18, 2010
My children traipse in and out of my writing, never lingering too long. This is probably because I am healthily wary of trying to figure them out, trying to figure out what their futures may or may not look like. Their lives, so intertwined with mine since their birth, are essentially a mystery to me. Rightfully so. Any parent who imagines otherwise is living in a fantasy. At least I think so.
I have this feeling of late around my children, both of whom have hit six feet and radiate pure life, pure strength. I feel as if their blood must be so much redder, their breath so much more powerful than mine, their muscles and hearts galloping without effort. They remind me of thoroughbred horses, with steam coming from their noses in the cold, skittish and unpredictable. They are so obviously beyond anything I can offer them, except for my support and undying love.
I have this feeling around my children which has been so hard to describe in words to myself, which is why I haven't written about it here. I feel conflict. I feel proud. I feel lost. I feel powerless. I feel hopeful.
Conflict, because I sometimes suffer for the fact that my sons seem to be constantly bucking the system they are forced to live in everyday. Questioning everything and everyone, authority above all. Questioning the value system that the school and government and culture in America, or lack thereof, seems to want to force down their throats. My conflict lies in the fact that I know my husband and I have likely been the greatest inspiration for these eternal questions, and what could be more natural than non-conformist children coming from non-conformist parents? What on earth did I expect? There is a part of me that wishes I had been just a bit more conventional, just a bit more silent, just a bit more of a believer in standardized testing and planning my children's futures from kindergarten on. But then I get over it. Who I am I kidding anyway? At least this way I actually like my children...
Proud because my children are creatures of power and thought. They move through the world in bodies and minds which are so far from slothful. And they are not afraid. Proud because they look you in the eye and have firm handshakes. They are kind and do not judge their neighbors too harshly, and they have minds as wide open as the Milky Way. They do not live on pretense or doctrine. That makes me proud.
Lost because I know I have long surpassed that moment in my children's lives when they truly needed me for everything. I remember those moments still, and while I was so tired and often frustrated with the hands that clung to me endlessly, I now know that there was indeed an end in sight. I just didn't see it coming.
Powerless because I am.
Hopeful because I can see all the greatest aspects of my husband reflected in my older son, and some of my own ricocheting around the aura of my youngest, these mixed in with sparks from somewhere else far away, beyond the boundaries of my own imagination. I do not know what their futures hold. I do not know if I have been a good parent or a failure. I try valiantly to stop the voice in my mind telling me what I should or should not have done. I am holding on. Tightly. Eyes squinting shut against the next hairpin turn in the road, the next cliff and next patch of ice, seeing all of us slipping and sliding wildly towards the future.