Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Time - and Arm Wrestling

Come on Mom, let's arm wrestle!

Over the past couple of years, my oldest son Marco had enjoyed testing his growing strength against me. So had I. It was fun to feel him resist my pull and it was also fun to lay his arm flat on the table, shortly thereafter. 

Last night, he asked again and I walked over to the table with him, feeling warm with the anticipation of this familiar ritual. Come to think of it, last night was a full moon and we all seemed a little giddier than usual.

So, there we were. Ready to start, eyes locked and smiling. 

And then it happened. In one tiny second. 

As I flexed my muscle against his, he effortlessly flattened my arm on the table. 

We were both shocked. 

Time stopped for a moment as we looked at each other without talking and this time there was a little bit of something like fear in our eyes. 

Could things have changed this dramatically in the last few months? 

In an instant, we acknowledged time. Time that had made his arm start to look like a man's. Time that was slowly melting a little bit of muscle away from mine. 

We were still holding hands when he snapped out of it and asked me to do it again.

Ready to fight harder this time, I braced myself. 

No difference at all. 

And that is when he embraced it; when he hooted, did a little happy dance, his eyes shining bright.

It was a huge moment for both of us. A little bit like giving birth to him again.

My love for this kid has grown so deep over the past couple of years. Watching him dive into teenage-hood while remaining open to his intrinsic goodness, spirit of fun and wit. He fills my cup - and yes he often drives me nuts. 

And now he kicks my butt at arm wrestling. 

Forever, I am sure.

(oh, as soon as the excitement was over, I quietly walked over to the phone and called the gym to inquire about memberships. As it turns out Marco - and his sister Tanissa - are joining with me. There is no escaping time, only loving it for its sweet assortment of gifts)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"La Tete Sous le Robinet" WTF?????

A few days ago, on a walk, Chris and I arrived at a beautiful spot on one of our favorite beaches. 

We walked to the end of the pier and Chris decided to pick me up and lift me onto the rail. 

As he explained (much) later, "he had a vision." 

My guess is that he wanted for us to enjoy this moment fully and liked the idea of holding me close while we watched the view. Being about a foot and a half taller than I am, this would look something like that famous romantic Titanic scene. 

I would have none of it. 

As soon as my feet left the ground, I asked him to put me down. Intent on savoring the moment, he did not hear me fully. I asked again and he again did not hear me fully. The third time, I demanded. By the fourth time, I am a little embarrassed to say that I kicked him out of my way. Heart racing, I screamed past him and ran down the pier, stopping only when I was very far away. 

I knew my reaction was strange and somewhat extreme and yet it was not unfamiliar. Several times, in the past, I had found myself in a similar panic. 

I always reasoned that "he had a control issue" and just had to use his big body in an effort to overpower mine. 

Last night, as we were falling asleep, an image came back to me. Along with a sentence. A French sentence. 

"La Tete Sous le Robinet." 

This translates, roughly to "The Head Under the Faucet."

And it refers to a practice (apparently not hugely uncommon in France) of calming an hysterical child by picking her up and forcing her head under a faucet of cold water. 

From what I now remember my mom saying, it works great. 

From what I am guessing, it should: the kid goes into shock, quits crying as he or she becomes more invested in survival, quiet returns and everyone is happy. 

Until forty years later when being picked off the ground triggers similar survival mechanisms. 

So here I am today. Outraged, shocked, embarrassed and a little enlightened. 

I understand better why, when my daughter was three days old and her dad picked her up gently to wash her under the kitchen faucet, I panicked. Why, until this morning, I still resented him for what I somehow perceived as abusive behavior. That was 16 years ago. 

There is more I could say about this, including the fact that even today, knowing why my reaction was so strong, I still feel that it is important for people (esp. people with larger bodies) to pay attention to other people's requests about their own bodies. This is how safety is created and fostered and as Al Turtle wisely says "Safety is the number one need in human relationships."

But I am still too triggered. 

So I will simply hit "send."

Monday, February 2, 2009

Permission to Paint

A cold got a hold of me. 

I think it had been chasing me for a few years and was possibly so glad to have finally caught me (I like the idea that a cold caught me!) that it decided that it would pack a wallop. And that it did. 

So, this is day 3.

And it is also Monday. 

I love Mondays. 

I love the open expanse of a week ahead of me, of calls to make, calls to take, things to create ... I guess I love my work. 

But this morning, there was no way I would make or take any calls. No way I would create anything. 

Energy, of which I am usually blessed oodles, is barely here. 

So, I am "forced" to look at my list and I am "forced" to admit that, really, none of it HAS to get done today. 

It is almost shocking to think that I can actually postpone all of it with no problem. 

So, now, what do I want to do? 

I want to go paint

That's right. On a Monday. 

And I know that I just learned something important, here. Something bigger than I can glimpse right now. But my brain is too fuzzy to articulate it. 

So I will later. 

For now, I am going to paint...