Our new beginning

Today, I am sitting in a newly renovated kitchen, with yellow daffodils in an orange vase opening next to me. I am starting this blog as we open a new phase of life,  as individuals and as a family.

My girls are sitting each in their new bedrooms after having grown up together in one 11’ by 11’ room.  After six months of construction and renovation, we still have small mounds of moving boxes stacked in corners as we fit ourselves back into the house. Every day we tackle a few more boxes, but we’re weeks away from being finished.

At 8 and 10, the girls are as different as night and day, as shown by the colors they picked for their rooms: school-bus yellow with a ceiling fan with rockets on it for the 10 year old, shades of sky blue and lavender for the 8 year old, whose ceiling fan is white with little Victorian swirls on it.

They are big girls now. They rarely look back when they leave me now, usually don’t want me near by when they play. They were upset we didn’t put locks on their bedrooms doors (I simply couldn’t), and we have granted them their own CD players and the space in which to play music away from us. And I’m mourning every bit of it.

This morning I unpacked some of my clothes out of an old sturdy diaper box that has been my seasonal storage for eight years, and then I threw the box away. It’s way past time for something new. Gone too are sippy cups, night lights, tiny little socks. We’ve divided the furniture of their old room between their two new rooms: the bookcase I painted while pregnant with my second daughter in one room, the circular rug with lions and giraffes in the other.

I hardly remember the days when I lugged one girl on each hip, banged my head  on the car roof after clipping both of them into car seats, and dressed them in adorable dresses of my own choosing. That forgetting makes me panic. Now that they are in their new rooms – the homes for their increasingly independent inner lives – it’s an obvious, disquieting demarcation: my little girls are growing up.

The first years of our family were very intense. We started out with many of life’s main stressors: a parental death, a move, chronic illness, and having two children close together. My feeling is that I didn’t cope very well. But they taught me, I managed somehow in a treading-water sort of way, but in a deep sense I was hardly present. A lot of moms have told me it’s been similar for them, and one friend told me that her sense of being present, feeling somewhat competent, and enjoying herself, didn’t happen to her until her third child.

Well, we are sticking at two, thank heavens, so I don’t want to miss any more of this intense and precious job that is the core of my life. It’s time to reflect more, write down more of those beautiful moments, think more coherently about those parenting questions that haunt me. Because when I became a mother, that became who I was. I just had to do it that way. Now, there also is this post-diaper-box woman and she needs to grow stronger and louder. Many moms seem to have pulled that off earlier in their parenting, but I couldn’t. I’ve hardly written in 10 years, except for desperate journal scrawlings. I think that can change now.

Here is my mothering practice, my whole-being practice. The goal: that I dip down inside myself further, see them more deeply, become more present as I grow out of frantic motherhood. So that when they go, my heart will be full, knowing I have been present as they became women.

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11 Responses to Our new beginning

  1. Cynthia – First, I am impressed at how fast you were able to learn WordPress – wow!
    I was moved to tears by your first entry and the fabulous photograph. I also love the color scheme. Your writing is beautiful and evocative, just as I remember it when you were immersed in it as a newspaper columnist. Brilliant and Bravo!

  2. Michelle says:

    Beautiful, Cynthia. Thank you for sharing.

  3. growingmygirls says:

    Thank you, both of you. It’s inspiring to get started at this!

  4. Your lucid writing brings you to a new phase of expression, creativity, and awareness. Congratulations on your new blog. And a perfect first piece.

  5. Meg Ferguson says:

    Lovely, Cynthia! and congratulations. It’s hard to hold your own center when you are consumed with helping small ones develop their own healthy selves and centers. But it is important – parents with their own strong sense of purpose and achievement are healthier and are the best role models; and, should be too busy to smother their kids? And, it’s a long process — our kids are now 22 and 19 and we are still wrestling with the emptying nest transition. (Note I don’t say “empty” – thankfully it’s way more gradual than that!)

  6. I LOVE IT! The pic. and tile of your blog are great. The writing is beautiful- I can’t wait for more!
    When you get stuck on WordPress email me and I’ll try and help out.

  7. So glad to be here in your living room watching the girls romp and grow! (-: Your writing needs no critique or comment. It is. It works so well! Don’t obsess. Just let it flow and let us enjoy. I’m happy for you that you’re doing this.

    Meg and I are in that elder stateswoman boat. We’ve unpacked and packed and unpacked and opened and closed…and opened again. I can’t wait to read your blog as you all approach the adolescent years. Rich jumbled period with plenty of oxymorons, and just plain moronic behavior. Good fodder for print. Good time to develop a sense of humor about all that we cannot control. Meg makes great brownies. I make a double chocolate cake for their birthdays. After leaving for a while, they come back. And they leave again. I can’t wait to re-live parenting vicariously through your writer’s eyes. Love, Me. P.S. – I talk a big game, but in truth, I haven’t been able to let Morgan’s first ride-on firetruck go to the curb. He’ll be 24 tomorrow. We’re mothers. Whaddya gonna do, eh? xo

  8. An admiring friend says:

    Thanks for sharing these delightful musings… with you all the way!

  9. Joanie says:

    Dear Friend, Oh how wonderful this is – on so many levels! Thank you for sharing your fabulous girls and yourself with me, with us, on this blog. You do write so eloquently and with precision. xoxoxo, J.

  10. Kim says:

    Wow! I love it! Your humor and honesty about mothering is so delightful and inspiring. I can feel how much you deeply love your daughters. How lucky they are to have you as their Mum.

  11. mimi says:

    Congratulations Cynthia! I love having a little window in your world with those girls. Have heard about them for so long, it’s nice to get to know them a bit. Keep it up!

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