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12 seconds

January 23, 2010

Puddles are perfection.

Last night, Gray told me he’d prefer it if I hurried up with my silly blog writing thing. He really really wanted me to read to him.

“Will it be 12 seconds mom?” he asked just before bed, rubbing his eyes.

“Maybe a little longer,” I answered, reminding him that Mira was standing by ready to read him a story.

“13 seconds??!” he responded, incredulous.

“Well…” I hedged. “Probably longer.”

Gray frowned and shook his head, a serious look on his face. “No…you gotta read me a story in 12 seconds.”

I encouraged him to go with his sisters to brush his teeth, then let me know when he was finished so that, yes, I could read to him. He was okay with that idea and I figured it would buy me enough time to write something coherent.

Ten minutes later, I was still sitting in front of this screen trying to wrench words from my brain. I’ve been lame with this blog in the past week. Much of my energy has been going into my Birds&Clouds project. Not much is left over for this one. My thoughts are all jumbled, ideas disjointed.

Ironically, the chaos in my head has been undermining my ability to write about the chaos in my life.

So…I read Graysen a story and went to bed.

I’ve been thinking a lot about parenting lately. Running up against such challenges as lame homework and stressed out kids…debating whether or not to let the older kids miss a day of school in order to go skiing (answer: yes, they should go skiing)…hearing from Gray’s teacher that he is, shall we say, an “out of the box thinker…. NOT that this is a bad thing but….sometimes he needs to think inside the box…”

Yes, like all the other good little boys and girls who sit quietly and pay attention in school.

I am parenting four children who are in the system. Further, I’m parenting four children in such a way that I’m fairly certain they’re going to grow up to reject the system…it’s an odd and troublesome irony I wrestle with constantly.

The thing is, homeschooling is just not an option right now. I need my space and they need their friends.

So we make do, and I continue to stay focused on my goal as a mother. Fortunately, that’s rather simple (I’m a bit absentminded these days, so simple goals are best!).

The goal that eclipses all others is simply this: to protect and encourage my kids’ individuation.

I need the space, you see, that comes with having independent kids.

To that end, I put away the one thing I really wanted to do last night, as I mentioned earlier. I saved the draft of this post and attended to my sleepy little boy who really needed a story. I wanted so much to write without interruption….but life called. And I answered.

Sometimes, individuation is best protected and encouraged by saying yes.

And many more things besides. But now, I’m tired. This took far longer than 12 seconds and it’s getting late. So over the course of a few more days I’ll muse further about this idea. It’s “up” for me right now…something to do with having teenagers, I’m sure.

And a willful little five year old who thinks outside the box.

Guess I’m doing something right. 🙂

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