Category Archives: Oprah

It’s In The Middle That I Falter (Or The Critical Face)

Lately, I hear myself saying things like:

Take your hands out of your nose.

Don’t wipe your hands on your shirt.

Stop clicking your tongue.

Focus please.

Why are you under the table?

Why are you screaming like you’ve been stabbed with a dull knife?

Don’t say “butt hole” when you’re standing three feet from your principal.

Are you clicking your tongue again?

Speak. Clearly. Please.

Stop the potty talk.

You’re clicking again!

Stop mumbling.

Why are you hitting the car with a plastic cup?

Calm down.

Is it possible for you to eat your cereal with a spoon instead of your fingers?

Why are you running in a parking lot?

Please. Stop. Clicking.

I could go on.

I’ve come to the unfortunate realization that my child has transformed into something akin to a pet peeve.  My pet peeve.  Sometimes.  Okay, a lot of the time.  I spend a good part of each day preparing myself for afternoon carpool – for the moment when after several hours void of tongue clicking, potty talking and mumbling, I’ll be reunited with this (gulp) annoying little person.

Ugh.  Did I just write that?

He and I are both a perfect match and a paradox.  He’s my son and my love and my light, but…  He’s a boy.  And I’m not.  He’s six.  And I’m not.  He’s making his own way, and he doesn’t want my help, except for all the times when he does, which is awfully confusing.  And, oh, he’s an emotional creature!  His feelings are raw, extreme, and often surprising, and his way of processing the world is vastly different from mine.  I don’t know what it’s like to stand in his shoes any more than he does mine.  I sometimes marvel at how different we are given that he once lived inside of me.

I begin each day giving him a gentle good morning hug, and I end each night giving him a tender good night kiss.  It’s in the middle that I falter.  It’s in the middle that I forget he’s a young boy trying to figure out who he is, a kid working out the kinks.   It’s in the middle that I hear myself saying things like:

If you sit like that, the chair will fall backwards.

Why are you laughing like that?

What happened to please and thank you?

Stop clicking your tongue. 

I worry that I’m too hard on him.  That he feels judged.  That he feels criticized.  That my constant attempts to mold him – even if they come from a deep place of caring and love – will, in the end, only serve to make him believe he isn’t good enough.

I imagine him all grown up with thick layers of disappointment, loss, and self-doubt on his skin.  It’s inevitable that life will thrust these feelings upon him.  It happens to all of us.  But the last thing in the world I want is for any of those layers to be there because of me.

I woke up early in the morning thinking about something Toni Morrison once said on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”   She said, “When your child walks into a room, does your face light up?”

“When my children used to walk in the room, when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up.  You think your affection and your deep love is on display because you’re caring for them. It’s not. When they see you, they see the critical face. But if you let your face speak what’s in your heart…because when they walked in the room, I was glad to see them. It’s just as small as that, you see.”

– Toni Morrison  

I thought about the critical face – my critical face – as I drank a hot cup of coffee in the dark and quiet house.  (Grateful Mama.)  When it was time to wake him, I did so gently and lovingly, as I always do, and then I kept my mouth shut and let my face do the talking.

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Filed under aha moment, Grateful Mama, motherhood, Oprah

Resolution

I have one New Years Resolution this year.  Just one.  It helps that I painted my bedroom this past weekend, a “to do” that’s been on my radar for over two years.  It also helps that reading and running (mind clearing and creativity producing activities) will (hopefully) aid me in achieving my solitary resolution.

Here goes… My singular (monstrous, exhilarating, terrifying, crazy-ass) New Years Resolution is to write a book.  The Book.  There.  I said it out loud.  The current working title is Holy Crap, Am I Really Doing This?  (For the record, I’m also considering The Runaway Mama.)

This isn’t the first time I’ve had an idea to write a book.  No, my brilliant botched book proposals go way back.  Mike jokes that I was born with a book idea.  For instance, I Didn’t Go Through The Tunnel: A Memoir Of A Cesarean Baby.  Or, Coping With An Older Sibling Who Wants To Murder You.  (It’s a true story that my sister stuffed a box of raisins in my mouth when I was a baby).

For all of my inspiration over the years, I never expected motherhood to be the thing that finally gave me my voice.  In honor of The Book, here is a list of all of the failed (but earnest) book ideas that, for some reason or another, led me here.

First, there was an untitled “how to” book about being young, living it up and paying the bills in The Big Apple. The only snag was that my parents were supporting my Bloomingdale’s and Bumble & Bumble habit and paying half of my rent every month.  Then came Lift Your Leg From The Foot And Other Life Lessons (a working title), a book about all of the life lessons I learned in the dance studio.  Good idea, but it’s taken years to realize all of the lessons and I’m not nearly done.

Later came the idea for a book of poetry on the sadness and regret I felt about morphing from an aspiring modern dancer into a public relations professional with a cubicle.  (Rent and health insurance was a bitch!)  One of many problems with that book idea was that I’m not a poet.

You would think the depressing poetry anthology was my rock bottom.  You would be wrong.  Next came the idea for A Year of Un-gratitude.  It was just after 9-11, everything was scary and kind of sucked, and I was one pessimistic, CNN-obsessed chick.  The flaw?  I couldn’t sustain the cynicism.  Believe me, it was a grim time, but I was also newly engaged and planning my wedding.  On September 1, 2002, I had a New York City wedding with all of the personal touches I wanted, and not surprisingly, I had a novel idea to write How To Plan The Wedding You Want.   Because there weren’t enough of those books on the shelves at Barnes & Noble!

Soon after, my book aspirations went dormant.  In the summer of 2004, when we packed up seven years of New York City/Brooklyn life in less than three weeks to move to Miami, you might suspect I had an itch to write a “starting over,” “surviving new city culture shock,” “kick-starting a nonprofit career,” or “making new friends at 30” book.  I didn’t.  In 2005, I tried to write about my molar pregnancy, but my emotions were too raw.

As it turns out, this blog was my awakening.  For more than two years, it’s been an incredible opportunity to make all of my experiences – including the ones that inspired my crappy book ideas – relevant.  Even if I wasn’t actually born with a book idea, perhaps I was born to write a book.

“Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it.” – Oprah Winfrey

In 2013, I’m getting about my business.  I’m writing a book.

Dear marathon, five ten pounds, family photo albums, scrapbooks, and backyard garden:

We’ll meet again in 2014.

Sincerely,

The Runaway Mama

What are your resolutions for 2013?

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Filed under book, motherhood, New Year's resolutions, New Years, Oprah, September 11th