Sunday, January 20, 2013

blue eyes

Pictures of Zao are usually blurry.

Because to be Zao is to be in motion.

"Stand still, I want to take your picture," I said.

He heard: "Put your face about an inch away from the camera lens!" 

He stood there for a few moments, impish grin hovering in the corner of his mouth, eyes bearing into mine. "Do you see me? Am I still here to you?"

Admittedly there are times that I don't see him, all I see are the things that need to be done, all I see is the unruly and trying behavior. I see interruption and interference. 

Dr Laura Markham, on her blog Aha! Parenting, writes a lot about connection. I think it is the single-most valuable thing I have learned from her. Connection has become the most effective tool in my parenting arsenal. It turns a craptastic day completely around. Every single time. 

Connecting with my children is actually quite a challenge for me. I am a doer, go-getter, motivated worker bee. I am efficient and quick-thinking; I know how to get sh*t done, man. Ask Zao's Daddy. He'll tell you. It drives him NUTS sometimes. 

Connection doesn't call for any of that, at all. Being a restaurant chef, or a good housekeeper, sure! I can make a tight ship of a kitchen; I can keep this crib so sparkling clean it'll blind you. Connection, though, that's a different speed, that's a whole different side of existence that does not come naturally to me. Yet it is the most important thing I can do for my children. 

And so I try. Some days I succeed, and those are always, always, such brilliantly marvelous days! Most days I'm still just trying. 

It helps to have reminders around. On my refrigerator I have a piece of plain computer paper on which I've written the words: "There are no emergencies. BREATHE. CONNECT." Oh, it also says, "They're acting like children because they ARE children." :) I am not exaggerating when I say that having it written out like that has helped me a lot. The Daddy uses it to hold me accountable, too. 

Connection means I have to stand still and stop doing in order to see and to be present. Though presently it is difficult, in the long run I know I will be glad to have worked toward it. Otherwise, it's all just a blurry picture of a life. 


  1. You are one amazing woman! As my friend Kay says, "You are a Lotta Woman!!" It is very true. It it awesome when you see a person "getting it" about life and whatever situation they are in. But of course, we are all there and still working on "getting it" as time goes by because life does not stand still nor stay the same. And THAT MEANS PEOPLE mostly, really. You are a part of an amazing generation. I think yours is extremely gifted but hasn't had the advantages of the one your grandparents or great-grandparents had.

  2. I LOVE Dr. Laura Markham and have similar reminders around my house. Silas has even said to me, "Mom! I'm just a little kid!". Living in the moment can be such a challenge for me, so often I justify my task-orientedness with the idea that the busyness of our life requires it-- when in truth LIVING requires connection more than order. SO often I find myself letting a "need" be bigger than it is, and focus on the task rather than people. For example: Dinner NEEDS to be made, Silas NEEDS a bath. These things are both true, but they can both be done in the context of SILAS and FAI rather than in the context of obligation... and we will all be happier.

    All this to say, THANK YOU for your eloquence and you heart! <3