Thursday, March 19, 2015

Peace about Provo and Packing up our Stuff

This is not going to be the large essays I have been previously prone to (and will be prone to again, I am sure). Rather, in the absence of facebook, I wanted to pop in with a few thoughts and updates.

First, regarding facebook, things have been going actually really well without it. I feel like I have been more productive with my internet time, and feel like I do not spend as much time on the internet as well.  But when I went to a baby shower for a woman from church I kept being reminded of all the things that I am actually missing from my current, in real life, social (and religious) group.  So...I don't know. The jury is still out on whether I will resume facebook or not.  Plus I miss being able to share pictures with family that does not live close by, without having to take the effort to individually email them all out.  Of course, one could say that I could blog and post pictures of my family, but....that would require blogging, and uploading pictures. So maybe what I am really saying is that I do not miss actually uploading pictures for family to see, but rather I miss the idea that I was always about to upload them, but actually only rarely carrying through on that intent.

Second, it's a really good thing I gave up facebook, because I have been spending the last week and a half, and still have a week and a day left, helping Avram edit his dissertation. He has edited it before, as has his advisor, but this is the editing of pulling it all together into one large, cohesive piece, with adding sections that support his introductiona and conclusions (and hence, the main points he makes). Plus it is a good, thorough copy edit, because his advisor does not do any copy editing. So I am reading through each of the thirteen chapters twice as we do edits back and forth (with the intro and conclusion getting three edits, since they are the most important parts).  All of this means I basically have an unpaid part time job, with me spending two to six hours a day on editing and reading and editing. Just the kind of mentally tasking work that before would have made just checking facebook a teeny, tiny bit really tempting, but ultimately meaning that I would end up checking it, and then avoiding the heavy-duty hard work through the easy "catching up with the really, really, obviously essentially important work of reading about friends' and family's lives."

Doing this has also helped me appreciate all the work Avram has been doing these last two and a half years. I have helped him do extensive edits on papers before, but not on something that is approaching four hundred pages, and the immensity of such a task has given me much appreciation for what Avram has been working on all this time.  All that said, I will be very grateful when it is handed in, and we can all relax a bit (until it is time for his defense, at least, which comes at the ides of April).

Lydia also turned nine this month, and I took lots of pictures, and had lots of thoughts on how old she is, and how she really is becoming (or rather, has always been) her own, unique person that Avram and I have the responsibility to shephard through he first fourth part of her earthly journey, but who has always been, and will always be, her own person with her individual strengths and weakness. Our responsibility as parents, therefore, becomes helping her explore her strengths and resolve her weaknesses, but not to mold her into some generic "good" or "responsible" person with all of the strengths, and none of the quirks that real people share. Plus I went to a play she was in yesterday (yes, I took pictures there too, and yes, they are still all on my camera, and no, I will not upload them to this post).

What became driven home into my mind from the experience (besides that Lydia has a lot of stage presence, which another mother even complimented me on Lydia's behalf for, and which I also know was generally felt because the audience audibly reacted to her delivering her lines - and that maybe I should consider getting her into some kind of theatre for kids, but that would take knowledge, time, and money, so....) was, seeing all of the kids that are not as short as mine, the reminder of how old nine really is. And how old that ten and eleven will be even moreso (driven home by seeing the 4/5 grade class performing their play after Lydia's third grade class did their's).  Oh, my, and then she will all too soon be grown up, and so old (even if she never gets big), and then she'll go out into the world and be a grown up.  It brought home to me how much motherhood (and fatherhood) is doing all you can to bring a prescious soul into the world, holding them, loving them - but only to ultimately let them go.  Dave Barry said this better than I can, which is why he got a pulitzer prize for that piece, and I got to self publish on blogger. Also, I am sorry that this link doesn't go directly to the actually column - see above, I am busy right now. So busy I ought to be eating lunch right now....

And how with all of my kids, not just Lydia, will grow up, and become beautiful, smart big people who drive and date and go to college, and I am sure that I will be very proud and happy for them, and even moreso, I do not actually want them to remain little forever, but still, why does it hurt so much to do that which is so right and good? Why is it poignant, why does my heart and throat feels such a small, stabbing sadness to see them getting older and bigger (a little) and smarter?  Because then, I am not their all encompassing, all wise mother. Of course, I will be their mother forever - but Athena needs me, loves me, and it is very validating, even if it also includes what Avram and I lovingly refer to as her constant need and desire to go for the jugular and  ripe out our throats with her little (loving) claw hands.

But the best mother love of all is the one that lets go, that is all encompassing, but only because it is also all releasing.  That I cannot fully be a proper, true, archetypically meant all-mother unless I can let go.  I realized that sometimes when I treat my kids like not fully-thinking independent people (when I expect them to automatically follow what I say, without their own thoughts, when I as a knee jerk reaction say no to a request of theirs, without first actually thinking about what they are asking, and giving it the same kind of weight that I would give anyone else that were not my child or another small kid) it is really sometimes not just lame (but it can be that too), but also a backwards way of trying to deny this fundamental truth - that I am not their overlord, they are not my faithful child army I have (slowly, laboriously, even) conjured up to be mini-mes that reflect me exactly, but that they are eternal beings, souls that, as Dave Barry puts it, are like comets in their trajectory. And although sometimes I am just being selfish when I am not remembering or acting as if my children are independent beings, but sometimes I do think that it is a sort of love that becomes twisted in its expression, so that in a way I am saying "My refusal to see you as a real, separate person is my refusal to let you move up and with that comes an implied move away from me."  Yet, taken too far and I would become like the mother in the Great Divorce, who cannot accept her son as a real, adult person (and that God is more important than her son).  My job is not as a mother to smother my children with love (or, because I am kind of a lazy, laid back temperment, to just not see them as separate beings, but this could manifest in others as a martyr complex for our children, like the mother in the Great Divorce).  My job is to help them shoot through space, not try and hold them close to me forever.

This also gave rise to all sorts of thoughts about Heavenly Father's love, and why he gives mankind the freedom he does, even when we tend to use it so poorly.  Anyway, these are all deep thoughts, and I didn't mean to hijack my own post into musings on the big picture questions of life.  But, all these things do make me appreciate more that I can simply hold and nurse Athena without having to incorporate eternal parenting principles of agency and respect - even if I do end up with a few scratches.

And now, back to editing.

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