Insomniac that I have become, I was up late at my computer last night and came across an article on the Huffington post, written by Deepak Chopra's daughter Mallika. I was on a techno dig of sorts, for my blog fodder, when a title caught my eye, "Well-being in the Dawn of Social Media". What I sought was data and what I came away with, a renewed sense of hope, left me pleasantly surprised.
"sublimi feriom sidera vertice"
Or for those of you not familiar with Latin, an English translation...
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
We all have intentions. I intend every day, as I lumber, to complete a to do list that has no end. All the while, I long to take a walk in the woods, with my dirty dog Jack, work on an art-project, long in the making, do homework with my youngest, when she comes home from school, and speak with two teens, who would rather play X Box, breathe, breathe, breathe, cook a fabulous dinner, in which we would each have a hand, do the dishes together,and finish the job, sit down side by side, share a book aloud, smile to myself in quiet admiration, wonder how I did it all in one day, breathe and then soundly slumber, content that our life is as it should be. Which planet do I come from?
It began in a flash as my cell phone alarm awakened me, fresh start, a new day. I arose slowly and pulled on a pair of socks from my floor in silent hope for a quiet morning. It has been difficult to do that for awhile now. Suffice it to say- and most parents of a teenager will agree- morning hours do not make for our proudest moments.
I tapped on my oldest son's door, heard no reply, so I ventured into his lair. I called his name and tapped on his shoulder. I was greeted by a sounds that no mother should hear. He grimaced, rolled over and his tirade followed, "I do not need you to get me up! I know what time it is! Get out of my room! I don't feel good anyway! Can I stay home from school?"
I broke the cardinal rule: "Morning is not a good time to engage a tired teenager!" What should have been a quiet exchange escalated into our predictable, morning battle to get him to the bus on time.
It was on to teen daughter's room from there. It was such a disaster zone, I could hardly open her door. I stumbled my way around her piles and at her bedside I said, "Time to wake up." No answer. " Let's get going sweetie." Silence. "You will miss your bus. I can't drive you today. I have an appointment this morning." At last, I heard a response, "Then I'll just walk! Go away!"
Strike two! Time to make coffee.
As I walked into the kitchen my dressed, brushed and ready to go youngest daughter, hugged me and said, "Morning Mama! How are you? I slept great last night. How bout you?"
My saving grace in the form of an eight year old girl.
I love them deeply, all three, but must admit, I sometimes have a favorite. Today I would have to pick my baby girl.
Teenage years can be tumultuous times. Could I have possibly put my own mother through this? I do not remember. I will have to ask when I speak with her next. I hardly recognize my two oldest children as they depart from childhood and move into adult frames of mind, so different from the babies I knew so well. I long for butterfly kisses, skinned knees, and tiny toes. Laying in bed reading Good Night Moon fifteen times in a row, would offer sweet respite from the now and sure later. Time for me to loosen my grip, at least a bit.
Really what is my intent? I cannot hold them back from who they will become, what a fine line I must walk. As my teenagers move into adulthood, I must pause, wait for them to make the first move if need be. I reach out and take their silence, at times, as rejection. My own confusion, not their own, causes my heart to ache. Time for me to change too, ask rather than tell, and listen rather than speak as circumstances arise. I have already been over this well-trod terrain. My job here is to guide them, be their leader. I cannot play dictator, seize control of who they are becoming, no matter my discomfort or ocassional heartache. As I slowly ease up on parental reigns, a new door appears before me, with a plack that reads, "Open to change".
Parenting is the oldest profession. As the world evolves, so must it; as my children develop, so must I.
I have always been a fan of self help books. Got a problem? I probably own a book to help solve it. I am not sure that they did their jobs, those books. After all is said and done, the best teacher is experience, and the ocassional hard knock at our doors. My intent is and always has been to be the best parent I can.
This point brings me back to where I started. Mallika created a website called "Intent". It is a place on the net, where anyone is welcome to post a daily goal, a.k.a. intention. It was built on a simple premise, with the support of a strong social network, all things are possible. Intent.com seems a great way for a person to strengthen her resolve. Tell me? Who among us couldn't use a bit of help now and again? Social media to the rescue! Why not? I ask you. Beats a bill from a therapist. A new way to lighten the proverbial baggage is more than welcome in my book.
I registered earlier today. This is what I posted.
I will be firm, but kind, listen when I would rather speak, keep calm and carry on.
On a last note. If indeed the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then surely a road to heaven must be paved with friends, wherever we may find them. Here's to following through on my intent.
confabulate: to converse informally; chat.