Have you noticed how hard it can be to see your children? To really, truly see them? To look beyond who you want them to be and who you’re afraid they just might (in spite of your best efforts and intentions) turn into. Who they remind you of and the crazy that all of that reminding triggers. And of course there’s all the noise that comes with just using your own eyes, clouded as they are with your particular history. Is it even possible? Sometimes I’m not so sure. There’s just so much that gets in the way, that distorts and disfigures.
Yogi hasn’t been in the world a full four years yet and the ideas I have about who he already is could fill many, many notebooks. The weight of that struck me yesterday at the playground. I was venting with another Mom, outlining (in florid detail) the overwhelming evidence that my children have been brought into this world primarily so that I might suffer. I was going on and on, becoming consumed by my own story when I felt her palm on my shoulder. “I don’t see your boys that way at all.” Simple words, but they stopped me. Gave me pause.
The part of me that was relishing my own victimhood was shouting, Sure, we spend quite a bit of time together, but you don’t know what these guys are like at bath time/bedtime/4am, but I was doing my best not to hear. Listening to all of that wasn’t doing me a bit of good, so I decided instead to try to see what she saw. She shared her impressions and I resisted the urge to correct and amend and refute. The boys that she described were so lovely that I wanted to gather them up immediately and cover them in kisses. And so I did. After the morning we had had I think I surprised them, but they welcomed the change.
The day wasn’t all roses after that, but it was better. Smoother and more hopeful. When the (inevitable) fighting began and I felt that ugly story churning up, I shifted back to the kindness of the morning. Reminded myself to try to see differently. To keep trying.