You wouldn't believe all that has gone on in my heart since I last wrote here. Maybe you would?
Even small encounters are full of meaning. Life is HUGE and overwhelming. Symbolism and symmetry are everywhere I look.
I'll try to share little bursts over the next couple of days, but here's a little something:
I love my therapist. She's known me for more than 25 years. She can sink into a small detail -- like E playing blocks -- and understand all of the levels on which it might reverberate for me.
For comic relief, I sometimes stop in the middle of a hard session and tell her something cool about E.
I did this the other day and mentioned how great E was at staying focused while we made Valentine's cards for each of her classmates. It took two days, and there were lots of stages to the project, and she got tired of it, but she understood that each and every classmate would appreciate a card. So she kept at it.
After she finished, we went on a celebratory walk, and we told one another stories. That’s what we do. We go on walks and take turns telling stories that we make up on the spot. It’s pretty fun.
When we came home, I said, “I’m really proud of you for doing all those Valentines, and I want to thank you for the fun walk, but now Momma needs to go do a few things by myself before dinner.”
She said, “Okay… I’ll play blocks by myself for awhile.” And she did for almost AN HOUR! She created a neighborhood with houses and tall apartment buildings and a road and bridges and stuff. It was the most elaborate block play she's every done.
I was thrilled that she was so focused and that she did her own thing for so long.
After D got home, she asked me, “Will you not put away my blocks tonight?”
I said, “Okay… I won’t put away your blocks tonight, and we can play with them more tomorrow, but Thursday night I’ll have to put them away so that we can begin cleaning up the house for your uncle and cousin's visit.” She agreed.
The next morning she was THRILLED to find her blocks still out. It seemed to relax and affirm her. She practically praised me because she was so happy to have her wish honored.
So I told all of this to my therapist and said, “See… I’m trying to be a different mom than I had.”
And K said, “No, Cathy… you *are* a different mom than you had.”
I hadn’t ever thought that before.
I always say to myself that I am *trying* like it’s some excruciating thing I’m trying to do and must be failing at. But here was evidence: a productive, content child. Not only that, she had enough self-possession to verbalize her wish that the blocks stay out, and she was able to negotiate with me on a reasonable time when things would get cleaned up, and she understood why that was important. I honored her, and she honored me.
K said, “You are a good mom to Ellie, and you already are a very different parent than the ones you had. It’s not something you need to *try* to do. You are. You are making your way.”
I felt very relieved, happy. I don’t “see” myself in a positive way when I think of myself as a mother. But if I can turn this around and look at my life clearly, there’s some stuff to be proud of, and maybe it would be possible for me to ENJOY being a mom. A radical thought.