When?

Silence

Silence

When to be a parent?

When to be a friend?

When to speak the truth you feel?

When an ear to lend?

When do Moms and Dads step in?

When Jack or Jill are hurting?

When do Moms and Dads bow out?

When they’d rather you were averting

When is it okay to speak?

When they’re obviously in pain?

When it reaches the point of no return?

When there’s nothing left to gain?

When Moms and Dads knew what to do

When hugs & kisses soothed

When Jill or Jack were little ones

When life’s wrinkles could be smoothed

When two in love be-came one

When the sun set on that day

When is it the time to speak your heart?

When all you’ve done is pray

When confusion, hurt, and anger come

When sorry just won’t do

When their hearts hurt you know it well

When your heart breaks in two

When to be a parent?

When to be a friend?

When to learn it’s not your concern?

When they tell you so

That’s When

 

Mommy Dearest

I’ll go out on a limb here and say for most of us, being a parent is, quite literally, the hardest job we’ve ever had or ever will. And, at the same time, it’s the richest, most fulfilling, most rewarding contribution to our own lives and always will be.  alex

One of the most surprising aspects of parenthood’s lifelong journey is finding out that one split second is all it takes for you to come to know the best and worst of being a parent…the span of that second is the distance between loving another being so much it hurts, to wishing you’d gotten a dog instead!  True dat  🙂

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But in looking at this most difficult most rewarding dichotomy, it’s not so hard to understand when you consider first, our tendency to place the highest value on that which was hardest won, and second, our amazing capacity for forgiveness (as parents at least).

But what is it that takes parents to the depths of the difficult to the heights of reward when it comes to loving our children? How do we survive the splintering of our brains in a thousand directions trying to figure them out, yet tarnishes the love in our hearts never?

I don’t question the reward; I think it’s obvious. I do, however, ponder the difficult. Is it because we love too much?  Is it that even possible?

I don’t believe so…

However, could it be that we love too much for too long?  Is that it?  Does parental love need to be doled out in stages or degrees?  Or fit into categories in order to not overload these little overlords once they come into their own?

So what (you ask) are these stages/degrees/categories you ask?

I’m a little cuss who can’t (and don’t want to) function without you so love me, love me more, love me most!

I’m a teenager so love me lots, and with patience, but for God’s sake, don’t let my friends see it!

I’m a young adult now so love me from a distance, but not too far ’cause I may need the car!

I’ve met someone and we’re going to get married.  Can ya help, can ya pay, can we have it there? (ps Mom and Dad…you’re gonna love him/her!)

I’m going to have a baby so love me, love me most, and love me now ’cause we’re going to need babysitters! (ps Mom and Dad…you’re gonna love it!)

Mom? Dad? I’ve never felt this way before…I love this kid so much my heart hurts!
(ps honey…we know!)

And so on…..

The short answer to the too much / too long question is…yes, okay, maybe, a little bit. But we parents come to this conclusion naturally I think. We instinctively know (or learn soon enough if our instincts are not as honed as they will be), which stage or category we’re dealing with or which degree of parental love to douse them with, simply by living it. Organic knowledge.  We just have to choose to go with it.

Does that stop us from loving the same soul-deep way we did when they were newborn?

No.  Perhaps it does in theirs though.  For a time.

I know that they love us the same way we do them…in the beginning.  Outside of themselves, we are their world. Their universe. Their moon and their stars, and they are ours.

Parents and kids grow up together.  That’s a given.  No matter if you’re 18 or 45 when you have your children, you have to grow up with them to be able to give and receive all that these little selves need, and later, need to share.

We may grow up more with our first.  Then again, it may just be that we grow up differently with the next one or two or three.

But…if we’ve played our hands well, we are love.  All of it.  Every stage, every degree, every category is of the love, by the love, for the love.  And they are right there with us.

Completely (in the beginning)

Mostly (in the middle)

Until (still in the middle but getting further towards the…the…well shit…not the end, but you know what I mean right?)

Until…they find out there are more people to love and to be loved by; more stars to shine the light of love on their heads and in their hearts; more room in their world for other loves.

As it has always been.  As it was with our own parents to be sure.  Just another way of experiencing the circle of life.

Consider…

Our children are loved as only a child can be loved and they in turn, love as only a child can love. The universe is secure.

As time goes on, they thrive and grow in that forever, universe-spanning, parental love and love them right back. But as they continue to grow, they s l o w l y  recognize that their world is expanding to include the many, many different kinds of love; each addition a glimmering star to their universe thus far.

But their recognition is as single-minded as their love for us was in the beginning. When they venture out from underneath the love-cloaked expanse of their parental universe, they don’t at once realize that their hearts are big enough to add new loves without setting aside old ones.

Our time will come again (usually around the time the grand-kids show up!), but as parents, it’s only natural that we do feel the initial loss of that connection when our love is no longer the moon and the stars in our child’s heart.

BUT…

Facing this fact head-on is hard, but absolutely necessary.

For our own well-being as well as theirs.

If we don’t, we run the risk of pushing them further out into the expanse by clinging too close, depending too much on their always being there, pining away for their childhood days when they aren’t there, regretting what we didn’t do, or forgetting what we did. Even romanticizing the harder times and not counting our blessings.

We all can probably think of a parent in our experience who has done, or does, this. Think back to the last time you witnessed a parent who cannot let go and re-live what you felt. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling.

I’m certainly not completely innocent of it still.  I sometimes catch myself feeling guilty for not being ‘that mother’. The one who always can, always will, never says no, never says can’t. Who wouldn’t want to be considered ‘the perfect mom’?  But that’s not perfection. It’s limiting to both your life and those of your children.

However, even knowing I am not (and never could be) that mother…(nor is their Dad ‘that guy’) it nevertheless hurts (and in the dark of night, makes me wonder if they’ll still love me enough to ask again- I know, just silly ) to know that we are the ones disappointing our children.

But we get over it because we know we are good parents who have raised good people.  We all deal with disappointments in our relationships.  We have difficult conversations followed by deafening silences.  But we’ve loved each other long enough and well enough to know what’s really important.

So there is hope. Once we’ve matured enough in our parenthood to realize this fact of life, we can recapture that sense of oneness, specialness, absolute love not felt anywhere but in your parents’ heart of hearts.  It is, after all, our hearts that need to make preparations for the day when our children learn there is a love flow-chart.  This will fluctuate during their life spans, but it will always show a solid heart-red line for us.  Mom and Dad.  Steady as she goes.  What more could we hope for?

And an added benefit to this stage of parental maturity is…we can (and hopefully do) look back at our own parents with a new appreciation for all they’ve done, all they’ve been through, and all we’ve learned from them without even knowing it.  Score!

Cheers and happy parenting (and I mean that!)

Dearest Mommy

Dedicated to my Mother and Father and to my Sons
I’m proud to be one of your stars

The Eye of the Human Storm – Repost

As you know, Superman passed away Sunday, February 15.  I am re-posting what I wrote for him back in July because, though I thought I understood the emotions of what was looming…I couldn’t have known how I’d feel at this moment.

But, this comes as close to my feelings now as anything I’ve ever written about my father.  About how it was more about how we live than how, or when, we die.

I love this man even more for leaving me with a deeper appreciation of the life he lived, than fear for the sorrow at the loss of his life.

I love you Superman and I thank you with all my heart.

You truly were…

My First Love ♥ My Only Hero


Today’s forecast
Pain with a chance of happiness
Life – It hurts
Our first breath
Born in and out of Pain
Our last breath
Born in and out of the fear of Death
Beginning to end
The human struggle to keep moving
Beyond the current pain so we may endure the next
To begin again
The circle, the cycle of life, of pain
To reach our destination – Death
So what is the point?
When one ends where one begins?
What is the point?
The middle is the point
To feel the heart beat
Of a lover
To hear the laughter
Of a child
To know the touch of another
The touch that completes our circle
Ones who will rejoice with us
And for us
And those who will mourn us
But more – Remember
That we were here
That we mattered
That we made the difference
That we closed a part of their circle
As they too, closed a part of ours
To gather at the end of the day
To hear the sounds of silence
The human sounds we make without knowing
The sounds of love
And life
The middle
Those sounds our ears miss
But that our hearts hear
These are the sounds of silence
So loud we are compelled – T0 listen
Struggle to keep moving
From one pain to another
For in the end It is not the pain
We Remember – It is
Love
Our circles have no true beginning
They meld with our ending
We only have what is in
The middle
Today’s forecast
Pain with a chance of happiness
Take an umbrella if you must
Wear your raincoat and galoshes if you have to
But
Prepare more for getting swept into the middle
‘Cause that’s where life happens
In the middle
Never be afraid to get wet
Put the fear aside
Go beyond the tropical storm of prologue
Fear not the hurricane of the epilogue
Walk into the wind
Get pummeled by the rain
Get to the eye
The middle
Where the calm allows us to hear
The human sounds of silence

The sounds of Love

For My Father

My First Love ~ My Only Hero

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Simon (& Garfunkle) Says

A stanza from The Boxer keeps running through my head…

In the clearing stands a boxer,
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev’ry glove that laid him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame,
“I am leaving, I am leaving”
But the fighter still remains

Yes. Yes he does.

And this naturally, takes me to The Sounds of Silence…

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted
In my brain still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of
A neon light that split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share and no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

Fools said I, you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the signs said, ‘The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls and tenement halls’
And whispered in the sounds of silence

And, in my own mind, I live in Kathy’s song…

I hear the drizzle of the rain
Like a memory it falls
Soft and warm continuing
Tapping on my roof and walls

And from the shelter of my mind
Through the window of my eyes
I gaze beyond the rain drenched streets
To [New]England where my heart lies

My mind’s distracted and diffused
My thoughts are many miles away
They lie with you when you’re asleep
Kiss you when you start your day

And as I watch the drops of rain
Weave their weary paths and die
I know that I am like the rain
There before the grace of you , go I