Sunday, April 10, 2011

Standing at the Threshold

In therapy every week my therapist and I set an intention for the session. The first week the intention was new beginnings, something I need, as this Queenpin feels very stuck in the middle. I'm not moving forward, yet I don't feel stuck in the past, just mired in the now. The daily practice of survival.

As I got centered on the therapist's futon, eyes closed, breathing in and out, the music started and he said, "Imagine you are at a threshold..." at that prompt a curved stone threshold appeared in my minds eye. Rough grey stones carefully arranged, solid as if they had been there for hundreds of years waiting for me to step through. Beside me stood my children, one on either side. We held hands and looked forward into the future. Everything behind us was black and empty. Not charred black, just pure emptiness. There was nothing there to hold onto.

Through the threshold there were earth tone colors, but no picture. I was stuck. I kept trying to move forward, but I could not see what I was walking into, where this new beginning was taking me. After a moment I felt myself let something go. I stepped forward and the world before me began to unfold. The pop, the break, the separating, the freedom I felt was me walking away from my children. Walking away from my children and into my future.

As I left my children behind, my little girl began to cry, but then I thought no, that's not right and both of them watched unfazed as a moved along cobblestone streets toward my future.

When the wusband left a child psychologist said to me, "There will come a point when what is right for you will not be right for your children and what is right for them is not right for you." It sounded very once or twice in a lifetime when she said it. When I walked out of her office I had no idea how many times I would struggle with that paradox and suffer under the weight of its responsibility. As a mother, a single mother, a Queenpin, where does my life end and their life begin? Where does their life begin and my life end? Is it truly that black and white?

When the session was over the therapist asked me how I felt about leaving them behind, "Guilty!" I cried (there's a lot of crying in this friggin' therapy). The shiv of mother guilt was digging into my heart. "They have so many strikes against them already and they are all from choices I've made." Sob some more.

But this is life. This is mothering. It is the way that it is. My sister is married and has three children. She related to my story of an unclear future. She cannot see where she is going without tripping over a child, a diaper, a dog. We are so focused on raising these beasties we cannot make plans, yet I need a plan. I need to figure out how to support myself so I am in school, I need to support us now so I work fulltime. Eventually, I will start my own business and maybe find a partner to share my life. Only one of those things are in my children's best interest, and that is my amazing day job. I get to teach where they go to school. Though working all day with kids makes me less willing to be super mom at night. Acupuncture school takes me away from them, and stresses me out. Starting a business will also add stress to our life and take me away from them. A partner? I don't even know where to start with that, but I can tell you right now, they like me just fine as their one and only Queenpin.

So how do I move forward in this life? How do I figure out where I'm going? As I walked away and left my kids at the threshold something became so apparent to me. Down deep in my soul clear. My children are not me, they are individuals, he and she are their own people, with their own thresholds. They do not need to walk through mine. They do not want to walk through mine, (though I swear that if my daughter could crawl back into my uterus she would, but I'll save that for another post).

My kids may have some rough grey stones in their threshold, their streets may even have cobblestone, but they will be their own to make. They are already building thresholds with my help, but they are not taking mine. As I write this I am imagining three thresholds side by side. Each person standing infront of his or her own. My beasties stand with their futures only visible to them, I stand with my future becoming clearer to me.

1 comment:

  1. As I read this, it took me back to one of the favorite books of my youth... The Prophet. I thought you might like it if you have not yet read it and if you remind you.

    On Children
    Kahlil Gibran

    Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them,
    but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children
    as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
    and He bends you with His might
    that His arrows may go swift and far.
    Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
    so He loves also the bow that is stable.

    I tried to use it as a guide when I was trying to do right by my boy-now man. ♥