Thursday, June 14, 2012

We Are Young in Life, Still

On the Eve of my oldest child turning the big FIVE, I blog. 

It has been a very long time since I've posted. There are many reasons for that, I won't list them all here because it would take me one week to type that many words; I don't have that kind of time. 

I've written this post in my head several times over the last few months; tweaking it and mentally editing it.  The thing about putting your raw, unfiltered, brutally honest thoughts and feelings out for public dissemination is, well, you never know how it will come across. 

I've been told my writing style is very "conversational."  I like that.  I like sitting here, having a conversation with all of you.  I like to think it's very J.D. Salinger but a little more socially engaged.  Today, the conversation is about the issue nearest and dearest to my heart. And I assume social scientists will study it; likely are studying it.

The effects of staying home to raise your children. 

I'll let that sentence stand alone.  Give it some thought.  I have, over the last four years and 364 days, given it much thought.  I've cursed it, sworn at it, blessed it, thanked it, looked in and around all the letters in that sentence, debated it, encouraged (and discouraged) it, and I've come up with one conclusion:  whatever anyone does for their family, is the right decision for their family.  Period. 

That said, let me let you in on a little discovery of mine.  It's kind of big.  Are you sitting down? 

By way of background to my ground-breaking discovery, let's talk about having kids.  I would argue that the person you are after you have kids is very similar to but astoundingly different from the person you are after having kids.  Kids make you aware of every single little thing about you. 

Why?  I call it The Mirror. 

Not literal, of course.  But those little tiny people, growing up before your eyes and ears, become Little Mirrors.  They imitate you.  They learn and regurgitate from you.  They react to things the way YOU react to things.  They yell at the dogs they way you yell at the dogs.  They can spit out, word for word, exactly what you said three days ago, when instructing another child who is younger.  It's amazing.  It's breathtaking!  It's horrible! 

And it's a mirror.  So what, what happens when we look into a mirror?  Really look into our own eyes?  We see ourselves.  Completely

Here's the funny thing about seeing yourself, over and over again, whether or not you want to...  you DISCOVER things about yourself.  Maybe they were there and you knew about them.  Maybe they were there and you didn't know about them.  Maybe you've been... ignoring some of them for a while.  Maybe you celebrate some with gusto, thanking your lineage for being so kick-ass.  But with a mirror, you see them.  Those.. tendencies about ourselves that we hate and love. 

So then, back to the person that you were, taking the serpentine path through to the person that you are now, and knowing that you will choose to continue becoming the person that you want to be, that Self Discovery starts to happen RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR!  Right in front of your own child, every single day, they are getting to know a person (and you are getting to know them) in medias res.  In the middle of the journey of Self Discovery. 

And that is it, right there.  That Self Discovery.  That is what makes staying home to raise your own children the most magnificent experience.  In all its ugly, banal, brutal, agonizing, rewarding, happy and joyful glory. 

Your children get to know you in the middle of you getting to know yourself.  They get to participate.  They get to help.  And Wow--do they love to help.  They're holding up that little mirror whether or not they want to.  It's how we are; it's part of our humanity. 

And they get to discover that we have discovered a whole new level of Love that we never knew existed. 




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