"It could all be so simple, but you rather make it hard. Loving you is like a battle, and we both end up with scars. Tell me who I have to be, to gain some reciprocity...No matter how I think we've grown you always seem to let me know..." -Ex Factor, Lauryn Hill**
I feel like I am on the eve of many eves though tonight is just one. Perhaps a big one. Tomorrow the kids and I start back our schedule/year of homeschooling. I look at them and notice that they are not the little ones I taught to read, count, and add five years ago. They are maturer and more independent in grand many ways. Gone are the days where they would sit next next to me and mimic my moves, my moods. No, this summer they have made their own way and forged their own paths of discovery and creativity, coming to me only to show off a proud creation, ask about snack-time, or question if they could venture into the garage to scavenge for robot parts, doll furniture parts, and things of that nature.
Of course there are still days like today, where Mommy hugs still reign supreme and magically soothe a sore throat away. But by and far, they need me less.
I need them more though I don't have the time to dwell on it. As the boy is learning to paint his first acrylic painting and the girl is teaching herself how to braid her dollies' hair for play class time, I am negotiating my time and trying to balance writing papers, planning a large research project, and figuring out Grad school applications. As if not to be left out of our family's subtle outgrowth, E is researching and applying for new jobs in anticipation of finishing his MBA.
We are a maturing family.
On so many levels it feels so right, so simple. The law of change and growth. Evolution. But nights like tonight, I'd rather make it hard. I am feverishly working on and trying to finish a ten page Comparative Religons paper and from time to time my thinking switches to the past. Past summers and autumns where I quilted tirelessly, made leather bags, worked on paintings, started gardens, baked, and danced all the while. The only demands of my time were the kids and they have always been patient and understanding of my artistic ways. They were content to color on the kitchen or studio floor, or mix up their own concoctions in the sink as I worked out and pondered my dreams in a mixing bowl or with my hands on a quilt.
Oh, I dreamed.
I thought of great things I could do and wondered where life would take me now that I had two additional companions holding my hands. My wonderful E was no longer at my side, but standing tall behind me, with his hand in the small of my back as if saying, "I got you...I got your back...Go ahead and dream Mama." And dreaming is what I did while holding my babies hands.
This evening, while E was making dinner (the roles have surely reversed themselves), I came downstairs to get a 'refresher hug.' A hug from him and a bit of reassurance that I am on the right path and I will get through this semester. As he went back to cooking I watched the little guy and remarked how tall he was getting. I noticed his forever teeth now half-way in and how they are arranging themselves his mouth. Too big for his face, I thought, but soon he will need braces and by then he will have grown into them. I remarked how tall he is getting and pointed out that at seven he is more than half the height of his 6'2" father. And that is when he told me soon he will be tall as Papi and of course, taller than me.
Soon, my boy who still needs my hugs to chase away sore throats will be towering over me. I thought, as if the future had come to pass, I grew you and nurtured you. A rather empowering thought as I try to grow and nuture me.
And so that is what this post is about, growing and nurturing and watching the future come to pass. Tonight is hard. Hard because I can think of so many other creative things I'd rather do than write a comparative religions paper. But this is what I dreamed about when I watched dough rise on my counters and quilted yards of pieced fabric. I dreamed about becoming taller. No different than the little guy saying this evening, "I know I will be taller than Papi one day."
At seven how does he know that he will be two feet taller one day? Where does he get that confidence and that willingness to dream bigger than he is and the strength to believe it?
Lauryn says "It could all be so simple..." and she is right. Tonight is hard, but I am so damn smarter tonight than I was two years ago when I started this journey. In distinct and measurable ways I know I am taller though I am the same 5'1" of eigth grade.
E would always say that I am the smartest person he knew and my response would always be that it was only because he doesn't know very many people. Well, I feel capable of owning a piece of that tonight. Not all of it, but some of it. I have begun to realize my potential. Why? Because I know I can write this paper, in totality tonight and still wake up in the morning and school my children. Because I have learned to harness my mind and focus on things I'm not interested in.
Because I am smart enough to achieve my dreams and I finally know and believe this. It is no longer about me believing what somebody else says I can do, but about me realizing myself what I can do.
I will never be one of those people who believe that college is for everybody. No, I believe that God in his infinite wisdom has armed us all with gifts and purposes that contribute to the greater good of humanity and some of these purposes and gifts need not capital letters to follow our names. But for me, I believe that this path is making me taller, smarter, stronger.
I don't know how late I will stay up writing tonight, but I know that as my fingers dance around the keyboard sending words flying onto the screen that I, no matter how much I still doubt myself, am damn smarter and taller.
My creativity is on pause, but my life is racing ahead and I am growing taller.
And you know what, Lauryn is right, it is so simple--I am now a writer.
I hope you all are like my boy and able to see the tall heights of who you are before you get there.
**I don't know why that song decided to play the soundtrack to this post...but in the end, it's fitting I believe. I think it's a subconcious ode to my inner doubter.
"No matter how I think we've grown you always seem to let me know...it ain't working...and when I try to walk away...you hurt yourself to make me stay..."
We all have a nasty, inner critic we need to silence.