It’s a perverse sort of life

I had a random itch to call up some christian music I listened to obsessively as a teenager. Thanks to amazon, I can get the likes of Mark Heard and that Brow Beat album from amazon sellers. It’s oddly comforting knowing that. Not sure why.

Further to this, I wandered around youtube. I came across Flood by Jars of Clay, and apart from a flash memory of my sister and dried flowers glued to a fake wooden door, I found it fairly depressing. I lost my faith a few months before I lost the kids’ dad, thinking to start the whole belief in a deity thing from scratch. I haven’t come up with anything in the intervening years between then and now as I sit here feeling fairly sorry for myself for not having any supernatural being to guilt trip me into being productive and to carry me when the mind-angst is at it’s worst. Listening to this music I try to recapture what it was that burned me so. Sardonic fellow that I am, I recognize it all as the natural mental path of a deeply internal person, given the influences at the time. I was honest, for all I knew how to be honest. And now I’m honest in my lack of belief. It’s not for lack of desire, perverse as that sounds. I hope if there is a god, when it comes to the end of it he quirks a smile and falls for my pathos.

I wonder if it’s the normal thing to have an emotional personality that acts as a leveller more than a filter. Apart from a couple of instances in life at the extremes, particularly when I was grief-smacked, it doesn’t seem that I desire to laugh or cry any less, regardless of my circumstances. I think what has changed as I age has been my lessening capacity to internalize things. It’s a bit unnerving, the penchant I now have for getting lumps in my throat and jaw tremors. On the other hand, I suppose I’m also a lot more likely to enjoy something outrageously. Is this my mature self? There are times I would really like that pressure cap back. Tools are good.

So it’s no wonder that my kids are completely neurotic, nor should it surprise me that I’m fairly bemused by it all. The other day Joseph was called to come join an activity of some sort, but, with a worried expression, he requested that he be allowed to finish watching the BBC News report on the financial crisis. Nyssa got out of bed last night because she was having frightful thoughts–apparently in Crieff she saw a kid get turfed out of a corner shop for trying to buy porn. My response? To the former, I let him watch the news and later tried to convince him that the world was not in fact going to run out of money because the concept of money had long since been removed from any concrete thing. To the latter, I attempted to regale Nyn with a story of my once busting a tough teenager trying to shoplift girlie mags and reducing him to tears. Today we were harvesting potatoes and Joseph was getting eaten up by midgies. I consoled him with a stern ‘deal with it and dig’ and tried to distract the kids with an enthusiastic retelling of Stone Soup.

Basically, I don’t know how to do this parenting thing. The above are examples of life just poking at the edges of our composite mental health issues. I try to be serious, but wry, to be deeply involved in my kids’ emotional lives, but give them a fair amount of independence. I just often feel that we’ve got that one deadweight of agonizing, ongoing grief and I have a hard time knowing which of these life choices I’m making are positive on balance or if they’re dragging us down further. Should I have stayed in the States? Should the kids be in school? Is it really the course of wisdom to put all of their eggs in one big flawed mother of a basket? I do my best, but really, I don’t know how well I’m wired for this. As far as being happy and healthy, my continued mantra for them, I certainly don’t lead by example. And don’t all the parenting books hold that as the deadly sin? Regardless of my bouts of pathetic handwringing, I know that there is no perfect homeland, no infallible curriculum, and certainly no parenting benchmark, no matter how much I wish for all these, perhaps even insist that I deserve them.

I suppose the goal for the kids is this–to see them into an adulthood in which they feel equipped to make their own decisions. My goal for myself is to be able to look them in the eye and say, entrusted with their care as I was, that I taught them what I thought was true and gave them the best circumstances I could, given my resources and personal resilience. Well, I have to allow myself caveats, don’t I?

If nothing else, it is interesting to see how motherhood was perhaps the unmaking of the stoic young lady I used to be. Nyssa and Joseph are everything for me. Any fears I have for myself are rooted in concerns I have for how I effect their lives and are perhaps compounded because of this. The tempering effect they have on how I live my life does have a sweeter edge to it though–I adore them and I revel in that. It’s not the 21st century thing for a mom to say, but I’m much more interested in them than I am in myself. Perhaps I’m recalling more primal urges, but I can’t help it and I don’t care to help it. If I live an average lifespan, my time with them under my wing will have been so short. There’s plenty of time to sort myself out later. And maybe I’ll actually have some energy to do it. In the meantime, when I have nights alone I can sit and youtube myself a little soundtrack and have a good think about it.

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One Response to “It’s a perverse sort of life”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    “Is it really the course of wisdom to put all of their eggs in one big flawed mother of a basket?”

    I ask myself this constantly. But then I try to reason that – despite home educating – I am not the only person in their lives or their only influence and besides, there are a lot of other flawed baskets out there and at least this one loves them with the power of a million She-Ras.


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