Tuesday, February 13, 2007

hands outstretched

okay, i think i am finally coming out of the fog that has encapsulated me for the past couple of weeks. my head feels clearer today than it has in weeks. i have the mid-winter blues and as i told liam this morning that i have felt like winter had me by the ankles pulling me across the floor to a very dark room, my fingers were raw from trying to stop the abduction and i realized that in the past couple of days i had finally stopped fighting.

this weekend was filled with deep sighs, lots of tears and feeling the emotions that i had been avoiding for weeks. there is a lot happening on my emotional landscape. not so much that others would notice, but i have finally figured out that i have been trying to keep the balance in our home while a lot of healing and recovery is happening, and it's not my job to do. i'm exhausted.

my overly responsible, first born status had kicked into overdrive and while the things that are happening are positive and will bring a lot of healing, they do throw off the equilibrium in our relationships and i have been overcompensating. so via la imbalance. helter skelter it shall be. i know we will find our way through this all, and it might look like chaos for a while, but it is our chaos and we will learn from it.

i have been thinking through m. scott peck's four stages of community lately. our church here is expert in this and it's teaching us so much.

from wikipedia

Community building

In his book The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace', Scott Peck says that community has three essential ingredients:

  • Inclusivity
  • Commitment
  • Consensus

Based on his experience with community building workshops, Scott Peck says that community building typically goes through four stages:

  • Pseudocommunity: This is a stage where the members pretend to have a bon homie with one another, and cover up their differences, by acting as if the differences do not exist. Pseudocommunity can never directly lead to community, and it is the job of the person guiding the community building process to shorten this period as much as possible.
  • Chaos: When pseudocommunity fails to work, the members start falling upon each other, giving vent to their mutual disagreements and differences. This is a period of chaos. It is a time when the people in the community realize that differences cannot simply be ignored. Chaos looks counterproductive but it is the first genuine step towards community building.
  • Emptiness: After chaos comes emptiness. At this stage, the people learn to empty themselves of those ego related factors that are preventing their entry into community. Emptiness is a tough step because it involves the death of a part of the individual. But, Scott Peck argues, this death paves the way for the birth of a new creature, the Community.
  • True community: Having worked through emptiness, the people in community are in complete empathy with one another. There is a great level of tacit understanding. People are able to relate to each other's feelings. Discussions, even when heated, never get sour, and motives are not questioned.
i have seen this work here in our new community, differences are embraced and the right brained, sincere, creatives are given as much influence as the left brained, organized intellectuals. it is a beautiful thing.

i have been pondering this in relationship to family, specifically ours. chaos is terrifying for me. to think that there must be this stage of development in my own children's lives means that i don't control everything. that they get to do things in their own ways and learn from their own mistakes. the mama bear in me wants to keep them in the cave, safe and sound forever. but in my heart i know that is not true. i long for them to be whole, healthy independent individuals who aren't my little minions or robots.

i finally admitted yesterday that i was grieving this last stage of their childhoods. i have so enjoyed it. i know there will be much to enjoy in the future, but these past few years have been so wonderful. my kids are truly a joy. it has been the 'paycheck' for staying at home with them. i will miss it greatly. they are becoming more independent, so capable and their needs have changed from "mom can you" to "mom can i"...

sitting with the grief of this has been difficult. finally admitting it has helped though. i think this might be where those "surprise" babies come from. the panic of feeling not needed, the panic of "what now?", the panic of "what's next?". no, i'm not contemplating adoption or getting pregnant again, but i do need to say I AM A GOOD MOTHER, it was something that i excelled at. and it feels so 'over' - i know they're only going to be 9 & 11 in the next couple of months, but this stage was glorious. i really felt like i was doing one of the things i was made for.

i know that there are other ways to use these skills, giftings and desires - and that i am not done mothering my own two. i just know that by not acknowledging the end of this stage and grieving it properly i would find it cropping into other areas of my life. so here i sit. wondering where my little kids have gone. looking at the beautiful young tweens they are becoming and rejoicing in what lies ahead, but still missing those stages we have been through together.

so, that is where you'll find me today. not clawing at the floor anymore, but sitting with my hands outstretched, one back letting go, one forward reaching to next - missing and yearning, and most of all trying to be present to what that means today. just for today.


Deb said...

I hear you and I completely understand. This past weekend Jeff and I frequently found ourselves wishing we could turn back the clock as we watched families with younger children. We miss those years desperately. Parenting is different now but it's also very enjoyable. I too dreaded the thought of not being needed. But guess what...they still need me! And better yet, they want me. They want me when they need to talk to someone about a decision that needs to be made; they want me when they don't feel well; they want to talk with me when something good happens.

Thank you for declaring that you're a good mother. I've never done that and I need to.

I'm so glad you're writing again!!

Love you!

Patchouli said...

One, Different Drum is one of my favorites--it explained so much re: churches, familiy, micro-communities--and how they disintegrate in the chaos stage.

Second, your girls are always going to need you as a mom--maybe not all the time, but we always need our mom. My 17-yr-old ran to me the other day to sit on my lap--"Hold me mommy, tell me I'm pretty!" "If you were any prettier, they'd have to pass a law..." and she was fine. Just wanted to make I was still her mommy. They do that.

Third, you are a good mommy--and always will be.

anj said...

Good on you! That tenor of knowing where you need and want to be is beauty to my ears. It just sounds so good on you.

sue said...

Nine and eleven huh, the best is yet to come. I so enjoyed my kids while they were teens...seriously.

Triathamom said...

beautiful post. thank you.

Heather said...

My heart is with you in this. I went through this when we were considering a third child, but I recognized that there are other ways I can expend my "maternal" instincts, not just with my own kids. That helped me a lot, and I hope that God will show you more and more the outlet that will be beautiful for you.

As always, thanks for your heart.

Erin said...

You are such a good mother!
Great to see you put it into print :)

bobbie said...

thank you ladies, it really feels so good to have typed those words. i am a good mom. wow. i never thought it would be so freeing.

your encouragement and cheers mean so much to me! thank you!

atticus said...

this was beautiful, really.
i agree with sue about the teens (and the 20's) chaos abounds at times, but i love seeing them mature, change, grow on the inside. i never feel like i really know them, which used to make me feel like a bad mother, but i have come to realize that that is the part of letting go that is so important. how can we really know someone when they are a separate being? They need to be NOT known...at least during certain phases. i always look forward to the next phase. (mine are 16 & 21)