we are everywhere

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A View from the Other Side of 49

I am over the edge. Or, rather, over the hill. In many ways, decades spent in exile from my child left me hanging by my fingernails and living life from the periphery. It is hard to play center from the bleachers. This is my only life and I should at least be a starting player. Ya' know?

Time has also nudged me over to the other side of 49. Why, only a few days ago, the clock spun to midnight and it was again my birthday. It was unstoppable. I had a couple days of midlife crisis meltdown last week; tears and all. Most of it was a reiteration of my growing awareness of all the effects of surrender on my life and on all of those in my life; a reassesment of where I have been and a questioning of where I want to go from here. Yada, yada, yada... Midlife crisis with very intense surrender/adoption themes.

Time's relentless pressure can build enough force to flip the day to night. And with constant pull, spins warm summer breezes around to expose underbellies of icy winter blasts. And powerful enough, with silent perseverence, to flip the numerals of one's age from 15 to 51.

My view from the other side of 49 is that it is not really so bad here. There really is a little spring of wisdom from which to drink on this side of the hill that I didn't see on the other side.. It could be there too, and I just didn't see it.

And I think that if I continue to try to write about time passing and attempt to create any seemingly original metaphors, anyone reading this post will close out this window within the next 2 seconds flat. So, enough time imagery.

I do, however, have one image that has been persistently popping into my head for several weeks that I have been wanting to write about. I have a very strong image of a thick glass lens embedded within me. It is powerful and unpolished around the edges. Movement or repositioning of this lense causes pain. And most of what I perceive is filtered throught it. One side of the lens allows me to focus internally. I can focus on my feelings, thoughts and my internal life and through it I see my grief.

I think that when the lens is turned to focus on my grief; pressure begins to build. Tears, both physical and spiritual build up enough to flip that lens so that my focus becomes external. With an external focus I find I am better able to see others in the world around me and see myself as a part of that world. And I become more aware of others' pain. I begin to know that my own pain has a reverse side. Perhaps it is called compassion. If the other side of pain is compassion for others and my own self, it might not be too bad of a place to be.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Picking Up More Pieces

No, I am not going to draw another analogy to reunion and quiltmaking. Not this morning, anways. And I did not just accidently knock the stacks of fabric pieces, pins and paper sketches, measurements and calculations off of the dining table top and on to the floor.

A year ago, I took over the whole dining room as my sewing and work area. And I have plans for one of the walls to be a work wall, or a place to plan out quilts in progress. I decided that I need my own space in this house. So, the dining room is my work area. My space. Mine, all mine; even though I do enjoy it when the "men" come into my work area and sit to talk, watch, or want to try the rotary cutter; machine or even sketch. Most often, they are just using my work room as a short cut to the back yard.

The pieces I need to begin picking up are many of the details of my life since reunion. It has been about 5 years since the beginning of my reunion and given this very short period of hindsight to reflect, I believe that reunion with my son has had the same kinds of effects on me and my life that the days, months and years of caring for my other children as newborns, toddlers and preschool children had.

My nights since reunion have often been sleepless. I have worried and ruminated. Much of my productive daytime energies have been channeled into learning about my son, reunion and in trying to build a relationship with him. I have wanted to really better know him. I want to know his likes, dislikes, his talents, and all the quirks. A mother to a newborn child does this. She wants to know about this wonderous being who has entered her life. Since reunion, I have read more on adoption/reunion than I ever did about baby/child care.

I try to balance on that delicate tightrope between knowing as much as I can about my son and respecting him as an adult who gets to decide how much to tell me about himself and his life; who requires his own space. I know I must try to honor his own feelings and responses to reunion. I am so thankful for the times he does let me into his space. Often, he invites me into his life to talk about himself or his days; his recreation and his work. Sometimes, he welcomes me into his work studio and there I can sit to talk with him or simply watch and listen.

And in like having a newborn, toddler, or preschooler in the house, many tasks have been left half done or undone in my house since my reunion. I have closets that need cleaning, outgrown clothes to be sort, washed and passed along. Gardens in the front and the back need lots of thinning and cultivating.

Ok, I will fess up and say that I not a very good housekeeper to start. And I procrastinate. Often. So, not all of the clean up and organizational projects needing to be done in my life are because of the energy I have put into reunion.

When my other boys were little, I did put my energies into them. Dishes could wait and they did. Children do not wait. Clean towels, a wise person once said, are just as absorbent when pulled from a basket of unfolded laundry as from a neatly folded stack.

Friends taught me to be gentle with myself after each of my other children were born. They taught me to look upon the time following the arrival of a child into my life as an opportunity to enjoy and get to know him. And to consider post arrival as stretch of time to live simply by focusing on the basic necessities of life. I learned to make sure that during such an exciting and emotional time that I am focused on healthy eating. And enough sleep for all. Self care is imperative. Oh.. and to keep that laundry going. Eat, sleep and laundry; the basics

And these first few reunion years have been like that for me. On some, or rather most days, I have to focus on the basics. I get food on the table for everyone. Get myself to work. Try to get enough sleep. Help to meet the needs of the people with whom I live. Oh, and keep the laundry going.

Reunion has been so much an act of picking up the pieces. I think that reunion has helped my son to identify parts of himself and to better fit them all together. I believe I see him as more comfortable in his world now than five years ago. And I think I see him fitting more easily in the life and the space that he is creating for himself as an adult.

Over the past five years, I been searching for and collecting pieces of myself that were lost at surrender. I have been working at fitting them into me; a reconstruction of sorts. I think I am beginning to fit more comfortably into my own space. However, I am still picking up some pieces and finding better patterns for them. This has been a huge and exhausting process for me.

It is a gentle, early fall day here. And I am going to cut through my work space and go out into the overgrown back yard and get a small start on that garden work. I know I have closets holding overflow of outgrown clothes that I can begin to wash, fold and bring to a local support program for mothers and their children.

Do I regret that I have let these household tasks and chores go for so long and that I have put so much of my energy into the reunion process? Not at all. It seems only to have been a strange parallel in development to what happens normally in the early years between child and mother.

I don't know how I will reflect on reunion when even more time passes in having my son back in my life. It has only been five years and is really a relatively short time; but these are some of my thoughts after five years.