On finding peace, solitude, and solidarity at the 9/11 Memorial


This gallery contains 9 photos.

I began blogging well after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. Even though the focus of my blog is Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders, I have always tried to post something in remembrance of this day each year. It’s … Continue reading

Friday Soother 01.20.12: Windows of my soul

by jashir @flickr.com

"Los anos dorados" by Jashir @flickr.com

The windows of my soul I throw
Wide open to the sun.
~John Greenleaf Whittier, My Psalm

(Original photo sourced here)


We are ALL Mother Superiors

According to Wikipedia, a mother superior is an abbess or other nun in charge of a Christian religious order or congregation, a convent or house of women under vows.

She is not defined as a particular ethnicity.

She is not defined by her language.

She is not defined by her skin.

She is, however, defined by her beliefs.

She is defined by her practice of those beliefs.

A Mother Superior is in charge of a household.

She rules the roost. Expects things to run in a particular order. HER order.

HER order may be perfection.

It may be defined by acts.

It may be defined by compassion.

It may be defined by dedication.

It may be defined by achievement.

It may be defined by satisfaction.

It may be defined by mood.

But ultimately, it is HER decision to decide how to rule her roost.

Not the decision of any other Mother Superior. But HERS.

As Mothers, in a home, we are all our own MOTHER SUPERIORS. We rule the roost. We call the shots. We ensure our philosophies, ingrained within us by our own Mother Superiors and HER Mother Superior and her Mother Superior and her Mother Superior and so on, are also ingrained within our offspring. Or not.

In each of our own private Abbeys, we rule.

Our children gather together at schools, at churches, at public events, at parties, play dates, and museums.

Enter the beauty of Chaos.

Our children play together. They learn together. No matter what our practice or beliefs, they play and learn together.

Or not. They play together IF they are allowed to play.

They will grow up to rule their own roosts one day.

Do we want them to grow up to do this as judgmental cynical women?

Do we want to encourage them to judge every move they make by the achievements of others? Should we do this? Should they?

Why is it in our nature to compare ourselves to the Mom down the block? The overachieving Betty Crocker? The PTA Mom who works tireless nights? The ultimate attachment, co-sleeping, EC training, breastfeeding, home birth mom who has done everything perfectly compared to us? Are we ready to send our own daughters helplessly down that same road? Are we?

Do we want them to grow up thinking that they have failed at Motherhood simply because they are the wrong ethnicity, the wrong class, the wrong everything?

Do we want our daughters growing up to think they have failed at Motherhood because all they can manage to put on that day is the same pajamas they have had on for two days?

Or do we want them to realize that a LOT of moms are exactly like that? That life happens. And sometimes? Life is depressing. Sometimes life requires we work harder at it to be successful.

I am not ready to sell my daughters down Keeping Up with the Joneses Lane. Not ready to ship them off to Just Keep Smiling Circle or Snap Out of It Drive.

I’m ready to send them soaring down Robert Frost’s Road in a Yellow Wood – urging them to discover the path not taken and make all the difference in the world. I want them to be Free to be themselves, not the vision I have for them. I want them to amaze me. To blow me away with their own dreams, their own passions, their own realized wisdom and growth. I want them to be happy. Happy and Free.

I want them to know that some of the best things in life don’t require awesome grades. They don’t require the bank account of Donald Trump. I want my children to value life. To value family. To realize that the best things in life cannot be bought. For any price.

I tell my daughters on a consistent basis that they can be anything they want to be IF they work hard enough at it.

I also tell them I will always love them as long as they are working to the fulfill their potential. If they are slacking, yes, I will chide them. But not to the point of derision. Not to the point of sleepless nights. Not to the point of bordering on abuse.

I will love them when they get a B.

I will love them when they decide to skip college.

I will love them.

I will love them because they are my children.

I will love them and hug them and squeeze them forever, successful or not, I will love them with all my heart.

If that makes me a Slacker mom, then so be it.

My kids, I think, are okay with that.

Sweet Freedom

The first lesson I have learned this past year is never ever to take anything for granted. The second? To truly hand over the reins of life to God. As long as He is in control, doors will be opened.

I had no idea how much my life would change when my car glided so gracefully in the mist into another vehicle at 10:00pm on a dark March night.

But it did change. My husband’s addiction was exposed. Lies and dishonesty was brutally served up on a broken platter that had been gilded with gold but was now covered in dust and cobwebs. Once again I very easily could have found myself in the depths of despair, dirt beneath my fingernails, struggling with every shallow and panicked breath to reach the top for fresh air. Instead I swallowed deeply and exhaled, strengthening every fiber in my being to stand planted firmly in my faith and my belief that this beast would not knock me down as long as God’s compassion and support remained on my side.

The beast may have won some skirmishes but it did not win the battle. My resolve, along with God’s strength, are no match for whatever may come at us through life.

Today, this particular battle ended.

My retribution has been paid. My probation has ended. I am blissfully a free member of society and no longer under the shadow and ever attentive eyes of the criminal justice system. Man it feels good to be free. One of my college professors oft quoted that one truly cannot appreciate joy until one has experienced the burst of sour grapes upon the palate. What an applicable quote for today.

I am also reminded of a bible verse which instructs us to put things in the past behind us and move forward – remind us that this is true wisdom.

photo courtesy Pezlet of Flickr

photo courtesy Pezlet of Flickr

So this is me. Putting it behind me and not looking back. Much like a butterfly freeing itself from the cocoon in which it has miraculously undergone so many changes. It’s my turn to fly away.