What I want my children to learn from me
Singing is your heart smiling out loud.
Passion is that heart getting warm, and flexible, and strong.
Quiet is laying your head on a pillow,
gently, as though it were a feather on a cloud.
Food is a gift we give ourselves,
our mouths for joy, and our bodies
for the next generation of our very cells.
Love is something that grows
each time you give it.
Start by gifting yourself and see.
Gratitude always feels good
unless something is in its way,
which you can always just remove.
Peace is standing in a different place
or turning a different way
so that your soul
can shine out
and reflect everyone else’s.
Today I decided to start with the poem rather than the backstory. In talking with a group of friends about volunteering this morning, one shared that she has chosen to only do things that put her in contact with her children at school. I, by contrast, love the intellectual tasks of planning events and the networking of reaching out to other people for a cause. But what do my kids learn from that? That I spend a lot of time on the computer?
Today was the dedication of a wetlands-building project I worked hard on last year, even to the detriment of my health, I probably have to admit. My son saw me put together a big event and saw how successful it was. So that was great. And I hope he heard in my voice somewhere how much I believed in the cause, and how dearly I hoped he would benefit from my efforts for years to come — that he’d spend time in and around a beautiful, natural place every day and get to use it for study.
But often, the volunteer work that moves me is not so tangible for my kids. It takes me to meetings and events outside the home, events that I can sometimes bring the kids to, but not always at their young ages.
The rest of the time, the work I do in the home is only tangible: cooking real food from scratch nearly all the time; trying to unpack, reorganize, make things look inspiring; doing laundry.
Where is the time for reading and playing amid all this? Kind of scant.
We will not always be just moving in. I will not always be on such a strict diet. But if I look back on my life at least since high school, I’ve honestly always wanted to do too many things for the reality of earthly time. And have always been somewhat disappointed by that.
So there are a lot of messages and lessons my children are learning that I’m not thrilled about. I wish I could kid myself they were not taking notes, but they are so clearly my children, it’s nuts. I really am their first teacher.
So the poem above is my attempt to get at some of the things that I value that I think maybe I am actually teaching them.
It was helpful to make a few lists of some of my parenting goals for a blog carnival in September. At that time, I also got motivated to start another post that was going to keep me on task for things I want to do more homemade and intentional when the house renovation calmed down and my health rounded a corner. That list is still in draft.
But at least I now have this poem, something short and a little prettier to look at to remind me what it all boils down to for me, regardless of how big my garden is or how well I do a calm bedtime routine.
After casting aside my poetry hat for far too long, my NaBloPoMo plan is to write a poem — and to take and post a photo — every day in November, spending less than half an hour on both. The hope is to drill down, to focus, to look for and create beauty.
Day 1: Eleven One
Day 2: Shoreline
Day 3: Damage
Day 4: On Parenting and Sunrises
Day 5: When will we?
Day 6: Voting Line