Friday, March 18, 2011

They’re Not Heavy, They’re My Children

This week has been filled with tension for me. I have found myself, more than once, in a situation where I was advocating for my children in a setting where I thought their needs were being set aside in favor someone or someTHING else’s interests. What I learned about this is that advocating for my children awakens in me a primal protective instinct more powerful than I ever realized. I also discovered that it’s fairly pointless for me to try to maintain an even tone during these encounters. It’s like watching those nature shows where the rattlesnake bites the hiker for just walking too close, or when the mama bear or lioness bears her teeth and makes a show of aggression to discourage any passerby from even attempting to make contact with her brood. I AM that mama bear, I AM that rattlesnake, and honestly, I’m a little bit proud of it.
Children are our most vulnerable resource. They are so tender and fragile. Not in their bodies, but in their minds. They are impressionable and so easily hurt, manipulated and scarred. It angers me when I see someone, especially someone in whom children are supposed to trust, disregard that fragility. I look at my children like they are Faberge eggs; intricate works of art, extremely delicate and only to be handled with the utmost care and sensitivity. Any crack that develops now due to mishandling will surely split wide open as time wears on.
I marvel at how my children experience the world. Each of them experiences it differently, in his/her own way. My son lives wide open, like riding a rollercoaster, the ups and downs thrilling him at every moment. There is no let down, just the build up to the next wondrous moment. My daughter prefers to ride the merry-go-round, opting for predictability, even pace and security.  I provide different tools for them in their quest to experience life as they choose. For my son, it’s varied adventures, independent time and a warm snuggle for him to come back to after exploring the world. For my daughter, it’s being her partner, holding her hand and warm snuggles along the way. I am there as a safety net when she takes those tentative steps away from me.
I’m trying to find a middle ground between the rattlesnake and the pushover. It is a very difficult thing, to find objectivity when it comes to one’s offspring. The love and fierce protective instincts that I have for my babies make it a struggle for me to maintain an even emotional keel sometimes. I guess if I have to choose, I’ll pick fiercely protective. For now, it’s a choice I can live with. Just be careful you don’t walk too close to my nest.

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