Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Epicenter

The Adventurer

I loved the ladders of these grain bins when I was a child. There was something so exciting about being "Up, UP, UP so high I could touch the sky". The backside of the roof was a favorite hiding place for hide and seek. These ladders were portals into rocket ships or castles.  An exciting tangible portion of our pretend play. They were also a link to an adult world that I wasn't allowed in. Sometimes I would pretend that I was working with the hired hands to fill the bins up with grain for the winter.  Little House on the Prairie provided a lot of inspiration for me.

They were so blissfully HIGH.
High is a world that children don't often get to visit. 

"Get down!! Be careful! You'll fall! Do you want to break your neck?! You gave me a fright! Are you trying to kill yourself?! Do you want to give me a heart attack?! GET DOWN!!!!!" 

Those are phrases I heard a lot as a child. :o) 
They're phrases that I've tried not to use unless they were absolutely needed. 

Testing the limits of their bodies and environment is the work of children. We are here to guide that testing so that they have a more experienced head than theirs as they make their choices. (For instance, I know that you can easily jump from the second rung of this ladder. You CAN jump from the third and it only hurts a little. But if you jump from the fourth rung your ankles hurt the rest of the day....which kinda ruins the fun. {and it lets the adults say "I told you so". also no fun)

We are the epicenter of their lives. They want us to be involved in everything they do. "Watch this."    "Come see!"  "Will you help me?" 
It can be frustrating sometimes to fulfill that need. A frustration that I constantly fight against because I know how important I am to them. I know that they need me. My energy, my guidance, is just as important as the food they eat and the air they breathe.

Children need us to be available. They need to be able to run up to us at any time during their day and borrow our calm. They need our reassurance that everything is safe. They need rhythm. They need our constancy.

Then they can run away again, as fast as their little feet will carry them to continue their explorations. When their port is compromised then they are uncertain. They become whiney. Clingy. They try to desperately grab what they need. They insist in ways that are so abrasive to us that we want to push them away and stuff them in a box (or turn on a show) just so they will leave us alone. (at least that's how I feel when my children are out of sorts) 

Shoving your children away when they need you never works out as well as we'd like.  They are genetically programed  experts at getting our attention. 
(Isn't survival an amazing thing?) 

My children just spent a few days in Oklahoma with my family. They LOVE it there. It's a circus full of ice cream EVERY day! Who wouldn't love it?
When they come back they are always sleep deprived, over sugared, over stimulated, and just plain worn out. It always takes a few days to even things back out. Yesterday evening Kiska started sobbing every time I took a step away from her. It had been a very long busy day for me and I was exhausted. I was NOT feeling much like giving her anything of myself. 
I honestly didn't think that I had that much to give. 

After 15 minutes of letting myself be INCREDIBLY annoyed by her behaviour I gave up and embraced her needs.
I held her while she finished her cry. Then I focused ALL of my attention on her. 

Her sweet little cheeks, the shape of her mouth, the twinkle of her eye, the way her hair fell into her eyes, the softness of her hands, the weight of her in my lap, her smell.
We sat and breathed together for a bit. 

Then I decided to get some lavender oil and give her a little massage.
I started to move her to the couch for a moment so I could get the oil and she wrapped her arms around my neck hard as she could and cried, "No Mommy!! It hurts me when you're away!!!"

I'm proud for her that she can articulate that. 
It was a shocking thought. Shocking in the intensity, and conviction. 

As much as my children need to roam. As much as they need to wander. As much as they need to explore. As much as they need adventure........
They need me to be there for them to come back to. Welcoming them home with open arms, and heart. Watching them from afar.  Reveling in their roamings, wanderings, explorations, and adventures.

How else can they go again?

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