Life is about contrasts. Contrasts help us to determine how we feel about things, what we want, and remind us of what's possible.
Today Manny watched a little bit of Arthur. If you don't know, Arthur is an aardvark and his friends are various other creatures. And they go to school and learn life lessons and do amusing things, etc, etc. Manny loves it and the part of me that faithfully watched television series as a kid loves it too.
Sam worked from home today and emerged from his office at one point to grab a bite to eat. I seized the opportunity to go to the bathroom and took my sweet time to make the break as long as possible. While I was in the bathroom, I could hear Manny telling Sam about Arthur. Sam, trying to engage Manny further, asked what Arthur's best friend's name was. "He's a white bunny, right?" I'm sitting in the bathroom trying not to raise my hand and jump up and down. "I know the answer!" I wanted to shout. I actually felt a surge of excitement that I knew the rabbit's name was Buster.
Manny, if knew or not, did not answer and Sam eventually shouted to me to see if I knew, so I had the satisfaction of blurting out the right answer. What was this about?, I wondered. Why the thrill? I pondered this for a while and I think I spend a lot of my time feeling like I don't know anything conclusively. I don't know what to do with Manny when he's a pushing monster, I don't know how to keep my eye on all three children and cook dinner, I don't know how to complete a thought more complex than "I'm tired" and I don't know how to feel about most of the complexity I feel inside me and see in the rest of the world.
I miss the days of elementary school when I knew everything. I always had the right answer and I was usually one of the first people to get it. I identified myself as a smart kid. Somewhere along the line, I stopped being smart and just started being interested in boys. And you can draw a straight line to motherhood. Some people manage to stay on the smart trajectory and add in boys as an interesting side dish, but I've always been a single focus sort of gal, and right now the focus is pretty clear.
But there are no right answers, short of love your children. And sometimes, I don't even feel like I do that all that well. I've been surly as a sailor on the inside a lot lately. Every day, I have moments of total amazement over the beauty of my children. I lay on the floor and the three of them crawl all over me, pulling my hair, catching my eyelids with their sharp fingernails and biting the ample belly I keep hidden underneath my stained shirts (Elena). And it's painful. But amazing. How did I get so lucky as to participate in the creation of three people who desire to be so close to me?
And then there are other moments where I think all the thoughts that well-adjusted people are not supposed to think and I feel much, much too weak to be available, kind, loving, wise and present. And I start to think that any random person on the street could nurture them so much better than I can. And then thankfully, it's usually close to 5:30, Sam comes home, I get a grip, the kids go to bed and before I know it, we start all over again.
Tonight, I went to a lovely evening of music that my friend Amy Eernissee produced. Daniel Berryman and Friends. It was marvelous and as I listened to these young people sing, I experienced a host of feelings that have laid dormant for quite some time. The desire to create. The desire to tell stories - momentary ones and ones that require a journey, in search of resonance, truth and the illumination of spirit that gives birth to change. I have felt my whole adulthood that I have something special inside me to share, but I can't ever quite find it and I sure don't know how to let it out.
On my way to the show, I was afraid I would leave feeling like crap. I wasn't sure I wanted to watch teenagers more talented than me and more driven than me, shine. But thanks to Daniel and Amy, I left with a much different feeling. Some people live out their gifts in a way that don't make us feel small, but instead ignite in us a sense of possibility. Too often, I live as though I believe that if I'm special, it means the next guy isn't. And if he is, then what does that say about me? And I get stopped there. But something about tonight assured me that the mystery and the majesty is that we all have something valuable to contribute. We each have our song.
I hope I can teach that to my children. I hope I can learn it myself. Why does there have to be such a big difference between knowing and embodying? I just looked down at my wrist and my mom bracelet that I wear every day. "The Journey is the Reward" it says. I guess there's my answer.