This post might meander a bit. I’m feeling meandery.

First – I composed this post in my head sort of. I haven’t done that in awhile. Remembering when blogging was new and I was sort of obsessed with it, and maybe just maybe the blog might have taken the place of the companionship that was missing in my marriage, because I remember very clearly thinking in blog posts as though I was thinking of clever ways to communicate a story to my lover, or my best friend, or my husband. It would be nice to regain that a bit. Writing to the muse – being the conglomerate of all of the inspiring people I have in my life, and my desire to offer inspiration and hopefully BE inspiring.

But I was composing a post in my head in the car driving home from a friend’s house. Because my head was still buzzing with thoughts sparked by our conversation.

There’s this awesome part about parenting where you sort of get to remember how you unfolded as your children unfold before your eyes. When they reach that age that you remember was integral to you becoming who you are, which was, apparently for me, probably between the ages of 16 and 17. And while my eldest son is a completely different person than the person I was, I respect that he is who he is. And even though I’d like to mold and change him – even if I could – I need to remember that he’s still unfolding. I can’t force him any more than I was forced. I can only live my life regardless of him, and set whatever example I can set, and accept that he might or might not learn the lessons of my life until/unless they become lessons in his life, too. And just hope that he sees the lessons for what they are before they become “learning experiences.” Hopefully I can pass those lessons along, the important ones. The ones that were difficult for me. And hope that he finds his own difficult lessons to learn, and that he learns from them.

My eldest son. He turns 17 next week. Can you even believe that? 17. As he told me last night, my work is done. He’s already become the person he’s gonna be. I can’t influence him anymore. These things were walked back a bit after further reflection, but in a sense – he’s right. And yet, he’s not done growing. And I’m certainly not done influencing. And as long as he’s alive, he’ll be doing the former; and as long as I’m part of his life, I’ll be doing the latter. Even if from a distance – physically or emotionally. And from what I’m being told, I need to brace myself for some emotional and physical distance from that child. And I need to not take that too personally. And understand. And abide. Which I’m known to be good at for all of the wrong reasons, so I might as well be good at it for the right ones.

I respect that my children have known some degree of tumultuousness in their lives. As does any child of one parent who has a somewhat unconventional way of doing things and another parent who is vastly more conventional. I respect that it must feel like a warzone to those guys. And they are smart. And they are sensitive. But they might both need distance at some point in their lives to decide exactly how they feel about it all. And I have absolutely no control over whatever conclusion they come to. And I feel like I need to accept that, slowly, starting now. Starting sometime last year, actually.

And this all made me think about my own growth through the years, and who I’ve forgiven and what I’ve mended and all I’ve left behind. When I’ve made dumb mistakes, and when I’ve made smart ones. Things I rejected, only to accept and embrace later in life. Things I miss and things I wish I could get rid of. And all of the growth, forgiveness, leaving behind, mistake-making, rejecting, accepting, embracing, missing, and letting go I’ve yet to do.

***

The other thing I was thinking about was how absolutely beautiful it was today to meet still more new people doing food distribution to survivors of the Halloween Onion Creek flood. Two women who I hadn’t met were there today. One had worked with the group before, but I hadn’t met her. The other woman was brand new. They were both older than me by probably 10-15 years. The woman who had worked with the group before was telling the new woman “What I love about working with this group is there are no bosses. No one tells anyone what to do. We just show up when we can, figure out what our resources are, work out a plan, and it all comes together.” Perhaps it was presumptuous of me to assume this woman didn’t know she was perfectly expressing the principles of anarchism, but it made me happy, regardless. We live in a world where helping other people in the spirit of empathy and community is a radical act, and yet it instantly makes sense as soon as you participate. The most radical action is the most mundane.

 

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