Live from the Lilith Blog 1 of 2

September 24, 2013 by

Autumn Moms

medium_7215337374Another season of frog catching, ice cream licking, wet green hill rolling, firefly chasing, and lake swimming has come to an end. The long days are becoming shorter, and the first blushes of fall are painting a faint tinge of reds, yellows, and oranges into the lush green canopies. The kids are back to school, to the months of routine, rushed mornings, and scheduled afternoons. We’re about to launch them into another year of growth, charting their progress, measuring their successes, and cheering them on as they trip, falter, and get back up.

It always amazes me how much kids grow and change over the summer. They shine out in all directions, limbs elongating, hair tugged down by gravity, bones shooting up to the stars. My five year old learned to bike and swim; her big sister to roller skate and shower by herself; and the three year old was toilet trained. They are all working on keeping their passionate emotions in check when they over boil, and sharing their feelings in open, productive ways. I once attended a professional conference, where, during the initial icebreaker, we were asked to share something new we had learned to do over the course of the year. Many of the participants struggled to think of something. One of the participants had brought her young son with her, and when it was his turn to share, he started rattling off a list: I learned to play basketball, tie my shoes, count by 7s, play the piano, cook an egg, walk my dog, wash my dishes…his list went on and on. We all can grow and change; kids do it at a relentless pace, and without hesitation.

One of the greatest frustrations I had in my earliest parenting days, with my newborn daughter, was that just when I thought I had figured out her routine – her fussy times, alert times, hungry times, tired times –her entire schedule changed, and I had to start figuring her out anew. What I didn’t realize then is the extent to which I would have to keep reinventing myself, uncovering layers of patience and creativity, passion and discipline, to model and encourage continued growth in my children.  As my children grow and change, I am both forced to keep up with them, but am also reminded that growth is perhaps what this whole game of living is all about. So many of the frustrations, challenge, and excitements of parenting comes during those moments of transition, and perhaps the most important life skill we can teach our children is to navigate those moments of flux with grace, humor, and perseverance.

 The Jewish High Holidays celebrate the cycle of growth and change. At this time of year in the Jewish calendar, we are asked to dedicate ourselves to re-examining who we are, and whom we could be. Mothers, women whose lives are so consumed with caring for others, have the extra challenge of ensuring that they are nourishing their own personal growth and potential as well as their children’s. We must remember how closely our children, and our daughters especially, watch us, and check our words against our deeds. Are we engaging in activities that nourish our passions? Do we even know what those passions are? Are we trying new things, taking risks? So often, children think that it is the parents who have all of the power in the parent-child relationship. But, in the realm of growth and change, it is definitely the children who are actively powerful; often, we draw on past experiences, rather than present ones, to guide our children as they grow. Mothers can benefit from leveling that playing field, and allowing themselves to keep diving into the messy waters of life, imagining and re-imagining who they wish to be, whom they could become, allowing themselves to grow, to learn, and to change. I may actually try surfing this year. Who knows? Maybe my kids will even have some good advice for me along the way…


 

photo credit: WanderingtheWorld (www.LostManProject.com) via photopin cc


  • askabigailprod

    beautifully captured! a lesson for us all.

  • opa

    good for you Maya for pointing out to all of us “assured and understanding” types–change is the essence–that children lead the way only show how backward we seem to be–have become–to be uninhibited–what a goal–remember growing up is not all that it is cracked up to be