Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Up the kite string

Lily's been wanting to be with me lately – like really close and snuggly. Just us. So, she set her alarm for 6:15 am, a half hour early, and crept into my bed. Tad was up at 6, so it was just the two of us. I had forgotten how wonderful that can be. So much melts away. She has always had a loud bark, which, often, makes me forget how young she is. The snuggling reminded me that she still does need and want my care and touch.

We both fell back to sleep. Later, she asked if I felt her medicine. I thought a minute and said, yes.

Ever since I've discovered I have fibromyalgia, she has physically comforted me in particularly bad spells. Either I haven't had as many lately or I haven't remembered to ask. So much of parenting happens in a blur that special nuances and rituals get lost. Even forgotten. I am so glad to be reminded that she is my medicine. Wild thing that she can be, she has a really big heart.

I have always loved the book,
Where the Wild Things Are, and get a lump in my throat when I watch the movie because Lily is Max and every kid who feels alone, different or isolated ... until he finds a kindred spirit. As Carol, the wild thing, and Max are medicine for each other, Lily and I do the same. I have that relationship, though differently, with each of my daughters.

What intrigues me most about Lily is show different we are. Autumn I know like the back of my hand, which has its pluses (I totally understand her) and minuses (because I do, I often pay more attention to Lily and her wildness). I am learning that Lily and I are mirrors for each other. I teach her about discipline, dedication and respect and she reminds me to be fierce and playful. Sometimes together. Some day, I want to write a book called
Letting my Lily out.

I had an interesting dream several years ago about being attached to what seemed like a kite string and looking up to see where it went. When I did, I saw Lily boosting herself up and waving for me to follow. She is fearless. It was as if she knew the grand adventure of climbing into the mystery and had no qualms about starting.

I'd put my child-development books away and hadn't thought much about them until a month or so ago, when Lily's behavior perplexed me. Then I read a really revealing article from the Waldorf School on the development of nine-year-olds and how it is such a pivotal time as they move away from the comfort and safety of childhood and familial closeness to gaining a sense of singleness, isolation and identity. The whispers of individuation. I feel that on the opposite end of the spectrum as I grow beyond middle age and into new, uncharted and wild territory.

Guess I will always be following her up the kite string. Thank heavens I have a trusted, though sometimes feisty, guide!

• What are my children or the children I know teaching me about myself?
• Is there anything in their development, fears or anxieties with which I can identify?
• Is there anything in their fearlessness and enthusiasm that I should reclaim?
• Who is my medicine? To whom am I medicine?
• What's up my kite string?

I've been

at the
that I
noticed the
the string
looped around
my wrist
so as not to
get lost
for me,
not to
get lost
the tugging
made me
notice and
look up
up to
into the
with a
smile and
wild wave,
begging me
to follow
I did

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