Yesterday I had a wretched day. Last Saturday was the first anniversary of my mothers’s death and in these last few days since, it has felt like no time has passed at all. I’ve been right back there, in the midst of the initial loss, sadness and pain. And, on top of it, in the last few weeks, I have been dealing with feuding family, behaving as mercenaries, in the handling of her will. Yesterday I was fuming after reading a gamut of emails between my sister, brother and one of the executors. So, with summer holiday kids in tow, in a bid to change my mental scenery and pause my limbs for a moment, I took our son and daughter to the cinema at lunchtime and, slightly regrettably, headed straight afterwards to the supermarket to buy new school trousers.
It was like a jumble sale in the kid’s clothes selection. The uniforms were all over the place and I had to burrow my head to search for the right size boys trousers. Leaning down to forage, I bashed my forehead into a pole jutting out carrying school shirts. I hadn’t seen it. It hurt like hell and I yelled a mighty OWWWWW! A woman with her daughter turned around and asked if I was all right. Indignantly (towards the pole, not her) I spouted a hefty NO! She stared, turned to her daughter, commented, said no more then walked away. It triggered instantly the hurt and rejection I felt from my family and consequently was the straw that broke my camel’s back. I complained to the manager about the pole and, as we left the shop, tears started to fall. I felt too I was starting to fall, physically. The kids and I sat in the car as I tried to gather myself. When we returned home I realised I was mildly concussed.
Thankfully my husband was soon back from work and I went upstairs to rest with ice on the bump. He kindly put the kids to bed after supper whilst I recovered from the pain and the shock. Yet, in my retreat from the day, it meant I didn’t properly say goodnight to them until I got ready to go to sleep myself later in the evening.
I had bitten emotionally at our son during the afternoon, in my overwhelmed sense of unjustness with what I had been reading through that morning. He had grabbed one of his sister’s toys from her just after demanding one of his back earlier in the day, which, in my blinkered eyes at the time, I swiftly judged as unfairness and inequality. Yet rather than talking to him calmly and offering a conversation, I barked and snapped. And thereafter, it was like opening a can of worms. I continued to bite. Usually, I feel more capable of empathy, patience and fair-mindedness, but even on waking in the morning, I felt not myself, mentally eschewing in the background of my mind the volcanic landscape of my family.
I was grateful for my husband’s hand with both our son and daughter during the evening. It gave me a chance to find my breath and internally reconnect. But I knew too there was a little conversation I needed to have with our son, even though by then he was asleep. So, resting my head beside him, I lay my hand on his belly and explained where I had been during the day. I apologised for my harshness, telling him how much I have been struggling lately. And, as I spoke, suddenly I became aware of an incredible light shining forth from the top of his skull. OH MY DAYS! The light that was shining was so, SO bright. It’s force so, SO strong, so, SO powerful.
I stayed with what I saw before me and it didn’t stop. He kept shining and shining through. And then I realised, this light, his torch, is always there. It has been me that has not always been seeing it.
Returning to our bedroom, I held this in my thoughts and started to make connections. Despite choosing to learn him through listening as a newborn, I realised I had also listened to others. When he wanted the breast all the time, I heard their negativity. When he barely slept at night, I heard their negativity. When he scratched other children or wouldn’t share his toys, I heard their negativity. I had felt so keenly the connectivity of his mind to the universe in the first few months of his life, but as I became, learned to be his mother, I realised how my sight of him, over the years, had been dampening down his light. People had been quick to judge, pass comment. He’s a bit of bruiser. He’s a nightmare…. And, slowly, tragically, unknowingly, I took this onboard. Despite wanting to honour the fullness of his being, I realised increasingly, over the years, I failed to see him shine as radiantly as he so effortlessly does. And I see now how he has been calling me to witness his radiance. For myself, but truly, fundamentally in my eyes, for him. For I know how fundamentally my perception is so vital and integral to his sense of self-worth, for now and the future to come.
And so, as I lay in our bed, I decided to make a pledge to him. It is thus:
I am sorry my beloved that my eyes narrowed, my mind dimmed, my heart grew closed to YOU. You deserve my whole, everyday, to say yes and embrace your incredible luminosity. You shine so magically and I have been putting you in shade. I will change this. From now, I seek to reframe my thinking, my viewing and endeavour to hold your brightness, in it’s magnificence, in my vision.
And I made a pledge to myself; to open my eyes again and keep the image of his torch each day alive in my mind. I know my patterns of mentally and emotionally shutting him down. I may not voice them aloud but I know the energetic detriment they can carry. And I know he can’t grow fully, as he deserves to, if I continue to critic him, even in seeming silence.
For now, this is all I can write about our son’s truth that I had the privilege to see last night. I am deeply grateful, in amongst all the heartache and pain from the day yesterday, I was able to witness this gift. And I know each of us has our own torch that glows with greatness and each deserves recognition and to shine in it’s fullness and breadth. I know I will continue ruminating on this and write more soon as my pledge to him, and the one to myself, unfold. For now, I am curious.
Image: Brad Goldpaint