Before the Light
My boys are in bed–one nursing a cough that I’ve been coaxing out of his body lest it morph into a bad asthma attack. We’ve been all about nebulization, hydration, foot baths, medications, steam inhalations, eucalyptus chest and back rubs. I am proud that he knows how to cooperate to take charge of his health. The other is in better shape, though his allergies have been giving him the daily sniffles. It seems all we do is try to get our balance back. It’s the season. This time last year, my older son was confined in the hospital for a bad asthma attack and my younger boy was home battling the same. December is never easy.
It doesn’t help that my boys have to deal with two households, each with its own sensibility. One household is all about adventure and trips, movies and more media and the other is about trying to create balance. One is about building up their health with the view of making them strong adults and the other is about only the present, and let’s deal with what happens later. Well, I mostly deal with what happens later anyway. Build up, tear down, build up tear down. In the end all I feel is utterly spent. Right now the holiday schedule is in limbo over a trip I do not think will be be supportive of my children’s health issues. In the end, I feel they will suffer the most and I feel that as their mother I shouldn’t have to struggle so much to create–not take away–an environment that supports, nurtures and builds.
Children need to rest. Adventures are welcome, but they also need stretches of time at home doing nothing, allowing their bodies to grow and be at their own pace. Just because we can afford to give them every adventure doesn’t mean we ought to. It’s also good for them to experience the festivals simply, without getting on a boat or a plane, but at home, absorbing the changes in the wind and weather, feeling the nuances in the darkness that only this season can bring. Life is not just about moving, moving, moving, it is also about staying, listening, and being. But this is my biography. This is their biography. Like yours it comes with its share of joys and sorrows. Right now I teeter dangerously towards the latter.
So, it is December and Advent is here, yet there are all these issues and stories that lurk and unravel, and much as I would like to be the picture of equanimity, I find myself waking up at night with hives the size of giant bugs. It is a time of quiet and introspection, yet questions, frustration and exasperation are constant companions.
I am not alone, it seems. Here and there I get a glimpse of what other mothers are going through and it does seem as though it is not going to be an easy season. But tonight, I decided, I would make a difference for myself: I will sit and write once the kids have gone to bed. I will make sure I take my remedies, take a moment to meditate, perhaps light a candle and read a verse. I will take care of myself the way I take care of my children and I will trust that all will be well for them, that the angels in charge of all children will swoop down and cloak us all in song, each note rounding our edges. We will wake, not just knowing what is best for them, but always putting it forth in our will. For them.
We are called to be quiet at a time when there is so much rushing at us. I told a fellow fretting mom last week that it’s doubly hard for us because we know what we ought to do, but we are pulled to go the old way anyway–the season of rushing, thinking up presents, stressing out, of allowing people and things to get under our skin. We do have a choice, don’t we?
I put one foot forward daily towards that choice and realize that it is a conscious decision towards a similar journey made thousands of years back. The darkness is made darker so we can reach deep within, fiercely if that’s what it takes, to make space for light–that we find it, honor it, walk towards it, carry and bear it.
It was never meant to be easy.