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Archive for the ‘Letting go’ Category

Darwin said that it isn’t the strongest or the most intelligent that survive, but the ones most responsive to change.

I’ve always been responsive to change, thrived on it in fact. There’s a nomad somewhere inside me who loves the idea of constant flux.

And yet….

This last year has not been an easy one. There have been many changes and many areas over which I have not had control. Growth comes with pain, and while, I know that and have learned that lesson and am able to sit with my own pain, it is the pain of my children that is so hard for me. Because I am unable to ease it, I am unable to take it from them and ‘make it all better’.

What I am feeling isn’t something that is easily passed from heart to page. It’s a sadness that is impossible to describe. Every road is winding, every window is cracked, and the distance between a mother and a child continues to grow ever wider. A distance not measured by centimetres, inches, feet or miles, it is the distance between a child’s pain and a mother’s inability to erase it, prevent it, circumvent it.

My heart and my head sit at opposite ends of the spectrum. I know that this will pass, and that there is no growth without pain, but how do I share my truth? How do I share my self in the truest, barest of hues.

My truth, or any truth for that matter, is not beautiful. It is broken, blistered, tainted, and yet it is the only thing I have to offer. It can be dangerous and yet, my darkest moments have shown me who I truly am. Have allowed me to look in the mirror and accept my darkest faces.

Witnessing my children’s journeys to self-discovery slices a dagger through my heart, bringing the trepidation and fear and growing sense of horror that engulfed me as I embarked on my journey of escalating memories and cerebral turmoil. Thoughts whipped through my head, clashing together in a mental cacophony of voices. At times they melded together to form concepts I still struggle to put into words. My thoughts were my avatars representing me more justly than I represented myself.

And yet, here I am, pretty much whole, content with the person I have become, yet feeling more insecure than ever in the role that has for the better part of 18 years defined me. As my children reach inevitably towards the adults that they are struggling to become, I cling desperately to the children that they were/are. Trying so hard to give them my truth, because in the face of the fact that I am unable to absorb their pain, my truth is all I have to offer. (the love goes without saying)

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Dear Kinmond,

Today is your 18th birthday.  It’s such a cliché to say that I can hardly believe it and that time has gone by so quickly, but it’s the truth.

I feel tremendous ambivalence on this day, and it is not just the poignancy of a parent watching the maturation of a child and the accelerating passage of time and disbelieving that it could happen so quickly.  How could you get to be so tall, so independent, so capable, so complex, so funny, so far away?  How could eighteen years have elapsed since that astonishing, magical moment that our eyes locked and I saw all that you had ever been and all that you were to become.  You were disconcertingly serious, unconditionally present and absolutely real, and I have loved you completely ever since.

Like any first child, you were the culmination of such vast trepidations and expectations, the repository of such ineffable hope, the focus of so much concern and love.  What I’m feeling as I anticipate your transition to adulthood (whatever that might mean!) is beyond my ability to express with words.  In thinking about how well or how badly your father and I have prepared you for the world, I find that I am completely unprepared for how much more perilous and awful it feels to send you into the unknown.  There are so many more things I want to teach you, to tell you, to show you.

You are still so young and you’re at a wonderful stage of life, with so many wonderful stages of life still to come, but they are not without their costs and perils.  I want you to know that no matter what situation life may bring you, I will be there to see you through, if not in person, then in your heart.

There are, and will be more, days that you don’t have the right answers, or any answers at all.  You will find cruelty and suffering in your journey through life … but don’t let that close you to new things. Don’t retreat from life, don’t hide or wall yourself off. Be open to new things, new experiences and to new people.  If you close your heart to new people, you’ll avoid pain … but you will also lose out on experiencing some incredible people, who will be there during the toughest times of your life and create some of the best times of your life.

Always take responsibility for your actions, good and bad.  If you can’t change something, change the way you think about it.  You will fail many times but if you allow that to stop you from trying, you will miss out on the amazing feeling of success once you reach new heights with your accomplishments. Failure is a stepping stone to success. You are growing stronger in wisdom with each passing year. Don’t ever use CAN’T as an excuse, ALWAYS TRY.  Remember a mistake is not a failure unless you let it keep you down.

You will meet many people who will try to outdo you.  Remember, life isn’t a competition. It’s a journey. If you spend that journey always trying to impress others, to outdo others, you’re wasting your journey. Instead, learn to enjoy the journey. Make it a journey of happiness, of constant learning, of continual improvement and above all, of love.

Remember to be kind to others even when you feel they might not deserve it.  Let others see the real you from the inside. It’s ok to show your true feeling.  Share your amazing spirit with others.

Most of all, love yourself. While others may criticize you, learn not to be so hard on yourself, to think that you’re anything less than the wonderful, sensitive, funny, strong, loyal, multifaceted, intuitive young man that I am so profoundly proud to call my son.

Finally, know that I love you and always will. You are starting out on a weird, scary, daunting, but ultimately incredibly wonderful journey, and I will be there for you when I can.

With all my love

mom

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The work of accepting ourselves and our path never stops, even when it is so radically not what we want or what fits our idea of who we are. If you’re anything like me, you probably feel overwhelmed by all the changes you’d like to see in your life. I know the thing’s I’d like to change; exercise more, be more available to friends, have quality time with my husband and children… But it seems that the more I resolve to make these changes, the more I feel I’ve failed.

These past few weeks particularly have led me to re-evaluate once again, and this time, instead of adding to an already impossible to do list (both work wise and personally) I have resolved to cross things off and focus only on those things that are essential (in terms of making a living) or that I really want to do (personally). The questions I’m asking myself are “Do I really have to do this? Do I really want to do this? Why am I actually doing this?”;  and if the answers are not satisfactory, I’ll delete it. This may sound radical but don’t you ever feel that your life is just clogged down with ‘busyness’.

I took time out yesterday afternoon to visit with one of my best friends. Yes, on a work day! We took our kids to lunch, she highlighted my hair and I got her signed up to facebook. I don’t remember the last time we spent time together unrushed by work and commitments. I feel so much better for it. So instead of long to do lists that hide out in the dark corners of my mind I will resolve firstly not to worry about things I have no control over and as far as possible to concentrate on the things I really want to do and are manageable. One week at a time.

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As you may or may not have gathered, the last few months have been rather stressful and, unlike my usual flee into the written word, I’ve lived completely in the real world. No-wonder I feel so out of control. No way to bring structure to the chaos if the words stay inside. No linear “sorting” of things confused, into orderly stacks.

It’s been an interesting time. A difficult time. A heartwrenching time, filled with pain and doubt and moral debate. And I’ve had to sort through it all in my head, unable to share on paper, the words unspeakable, absorbing the confusion and anger, the guilt and the anguish of those around me.

No, don’t get me wrong, I’ve spewed out my own anger and guilt and grief, but not very constructively. What I’m trying to do here is say thank you. A really big thank you to those of you who have told me I needn’t apologise for cancelling arrangements, going to bed and leaving a house full of guests to be entertained by my long suffering husband, crying drunken tears of rage and despair, having loud and inappropriate arguments over religion at a very respectable dinner party. So instead of apologising, I want to say thank you, to my husband, to my mother-in-law and to my friends who have been there to listen to me, to hold me and to indulge me in my very public falling apart. I think I’m okay now. Because of you!

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Dear Isla,

I can’t take away the pain. I think those are the hardest words a mother can say out loud. Actually, they’re the hardest to acknowledge in the quiet spaces of my soul too. The fact that my love, as all encompassing and profound as it is, cannot protect you from experiencing life and death and loss is one of the most painful realisations of my own life.
All I can really do is provide a space for you to be. A space for you to mourn and to feel your pain, because bunny, you do need to feel it. I can try to make that space as secure as I can by surrounding you with my love so that all the sharp edges of your reality can bump and cut into me and you can see that no matter what, my love remains unbroken.
I want you to know that despite what you think, despite all the anger and hurt that you’re feeling right now, you will get through this… we’ll get through this, and as much as you feel that you’re all alone, you’re not. I’m right here beside you and I’ll “keep bleeding love”.

love
mom

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“It’s astounding, time is fleeting, madness takes it’s toll.” Riff Raff in the Rocky Horror Picture Show

The photo on the right is courtesy of my very talented son, Kinmond Robertson


It’s astounding how far off course we can get without cognitive realisation. One day, you wake up and wonder “Where in the world am I, and just how the f*&ck did I get here?” (those of you offended by my colloquial language, please click on the X in the top right corner of your screen)

Life is four dimensional, while our plans, goals, dreams and aspirations tend to remain in the realm of the two dimensional. I haven’t shared here in a while. I’ve been bogged down with so many different responsibilities and completely underestimated my ability to cope with any degree of panache. My plans for this blog were most certainly stuck in two dimensions and ended up way down on my list of priorities when life threw me a curve ball (well, yeah, more than one).

I dropped it. The ball that is; and, in dropping this thing that I had so many plans around, realised that sometimes it’s necessary to drop the ball and take a step back so that you can refocus, and realign yourself.

The truth is that life will throw you a curve at least twice a year. At least, that’s been my experience, every six months or so I find myself in a situation or circumstance that has knocked me off course. There’s nothing to be done about it. We cannot predict the future. That’s just life. But if we are not setting our goals with these unforeseen ‘bumps in the road’ in mind, we will only become discouraged. When setting your goals, be aware of this. Be prepared to set things aside for a time, deal with the crises and then refocus your efforts.

As time slips by it is important to open your eyes and take an honest look at your life. Have you allowed the “bumps in the road” to alter your direction? Are you happy with your current course. If not, take the time to refocus. Be kind to yourself. It’s not too late to re-centre your heart and your mind.

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Okay, so I’ve spent the last several weeks debating. Well, truth be told, I’ve always been quite an advocate of home schooling, but it’s always been a sort of romantic notion, quickly put aside when I imagined my poor offspring growing up with my (very narrow) opinions of the world and how it should work. Imagine having only the input of your parents, regardless of the views they hold or the belief systems they live by. Imagine having no counterbalance to the opinions expressed within your home.
Well, this is a moot point since the decision has now been made to register my oldest son in a home schooling programme.
He’s seventeen and I would hope that he has formed some strong opinions on all sorts of things by now. I, myself, was an extremely opinionated young person and my opinions were always, and continue to be, totally diverse to those of my parents. (Oh, and I’m still extremely opinionated. )
So before I get dozens of e-mails about the ills of home schooling and dozens of others saying that it’s the only way because I can then keep a handle on my son’s spiritual life, I want to say that, the decision was not made for religious reasons and it was not a decision that was made easily.
The school system does not work for all kids – in fact, it doesn’t work for most kids – and it has not worked for Kinmond. Forty kids in a class with one teacher does not constitute good education. And while I sympathise with the schools that are forced to work within a system that is so obviously floored, my focus has got to be on the best interests of my child.
After much research and a weighing up of the options available, we took a joint decision, Kinmond, Gordon (that’s my husband) and I, to move forward with the home schooling option.
The programme we will be following is Brainline and what I like about this particular programme is the structure. Feel free to browse their website – try to ignore the occasional spelling and grammar errors, the programme has been put together by an Afrikaans team and the actual content is really good.
So, am I writing this to justify a decision that we’ve made? No, this is purely to put my thought process down on paper and to share with those of you who have expressed an interest, why I haven’t posted for so long.

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