nine years ago I nearly transitioned shortly after bringing my first sun into this realm. it makes his birthday a strange experience for both of us. one where my body remembers things like fear and trauma even when they aren’t in the forefront of the mind, and responds with things like anxiety and sudden emotional overwhelm, no matter the time or place. and very little patience. for him, it manifests in many ways as well. ways I won’t divulge here because that’s his story to tell (if he chooses to). we’ve talked about it every year and other times in between, because I believe in transparency. because I want him to understand that this is a trauma response and he doesn’t have to be shackled by it his whole life. together we have been healing, and this year has been a little more gentle than past ones. maybe because I can finally see that my children are the miracle I never would have asked for. the one I never wanted, yet has saved my life countless times. maybe I’m finally learning to accept this role in all its fullness.
becoming a parent was never in my life plans. but spirit always knows what we need. it has forced me to make literal life and death decisions. left me confronting my (then)15-year depression. face to face. teeth bared and breath hot. it stared me down and played back all the times I’d prayed not to wake. for miscarriage. for courage. for accident. it was exorcised from my body then as I used the last of my strength to sign a sheet of paper. permitting doctors to conduct a surgery my entire body/spirit was violently against. to save the life I wasn’t sure I wanted. because of him. 2 days old. 2 doors down. and the knowledge that he must have chosen me for a reason. that I had to stay. so here I am. thirty. almost thirty-one. with a nine year old and a soon to be seven year old. figuring out what to do with the years I never thought I’d see. deciding that I want the focus to be gratitude. joy. patience. and love.
today, he told me he didn’t want his birthday to be full of sadness and challenges. that he was happy and he wanted to enjoy that. and we did. and the tension in the wound eased a little. we celebrated his radiance. this completion of a cycle as he prepares for pre-teenagehood. celebrated the lives we both fought for, because I almost lost him too.
today, I'm grateful I chose them back. I'm grateful that for all the times I've run, spirit has dragged me, humbled me, and waited for me to try again. they are my teachers. of me, yet separate. I do not believe in the mentality of owning one's children.
they have always belonged to themselves. parents who give birth physically know the power in submission. in giving oneself over to a task. in being a portal. we are their way back. meant to guide and protect, to observe and set free into the world to live their purpose. to learn from their pureness and let them remind us where we come from, for so many forget.
if you’d asked me at twenty-one if I wanted children, the answer would have been a strong no. when people ask me now if I want more, it’s still no. that answer may change, because nothing is stagnant. because while I wouldn’t have asked for them, I am so blessed to know and experience them in this way. because I wouldn't be who I am now without them. because they have grown me beyond verbal expression. and I give thanks.
I’d like to think most parents have no desire to hurt their children, but trauma happens regardless. in big and small and momentarily intentional and oblivious ways. trauma happens, and I think being a “good” parent is not always about how little pain you cause, but rather how you handle your own humanity in front of your children. we all make mistakes. and we all know our first child is a sort of experiment. for both the parents and the child. in a situation like that, we are all doing this for the first time (in this lifetime), and we are bound to make choices that, in hindsight, we wouldn’t make again. that’s how we grow. we must set the example. we must apologize when we’re wrong, even before they have words of their own. we must listen, because sometimes they do know best. we must remember that they come here as whole people, with whole personalities. and encourage them to be the brightest, boldest, version of themselves. we must observe. and change our minds. and release attachments to what we want for them. let them show us what they need. we must be flexible. and we must know when not to bend. because we must also strengthen them, like wolf mothers and their pups. we must love ourselves, so that they know what that looks like. so they know it’s okay to love themselves too. that no matter what the world thinks, they are worthy.
to break the cycles.
to break the cycles.
to break the cycles.
together, we are mending. it is time to sing a new song.