Monday, December 13, 2010


It has been awhile since I have posted anything, I know.  I have had friends asking when my next musing would come, and honestly, I thought this would be a daily thing.  Then I remembered that the creative juices flow when they want to, not when you attempt to summon them.  In short, I had writer’s block.

It is not that nothing has happened on my block ala “Nothing Ever Happens on My Block” by Ellen Raskin, but I think I have been so caught up in the holiday rush between being busy getting ready, and having so many more outlets for those secreted creative juices this time of year.  Or, I could simply be a Mom of boys that has been busy that simply needs to carve out 15-30 minutes a day to write, even if it is just random words or sentences.  That is how our Creative Writing teachers taught us to work through a block way back when, is it not?

I think as a Mom, I do a lot of blocking.  I try block my children from seeing and hearing too many horrible things that go on with the world outside.  The violence, the sailor talk, the overt sexuality of even today’s “Teen Idols”.  I try to keep their world as innocent as I can, yet try to discuss those things to try to ready them for that same world.  Isn’t that an exercise in futility?  We try to block our children from the very world for which we are readying them.

It starts with us, I think.  When our children are infants, we block our own exhaustion, hunger pains, body aches, and fears as we begin our fumbling attempts at care for this new life we’ve been given.  The baby needs to nurse NOW, s/he doesn’t care that you haven’t slept more than 2 hours in the last 24, your nipples are cracked and sore, you haven’t showered in 3 days and you *think* that you had an apple for lunch and it is now 8pm.  So, we hug and kiss that little babe, and put them to our breast.

Then, it is all of the blocking from the literal bumps and scrapes our little baby might encounter once they become mobile.  We cushion our homes within an inch of its life, and walk around behind the baby ready to catch them when they fall.  We are Moms, it is what we do.

At some point, however, we need to start blocking ourselves from blocking our children.  They need to learn to fall down, get hurt a little, and pick themselves up and try again or we will have failed them as mothers.  The older infant learns to put themselves to sleep instead of being nursed and rocked to sleep…they are nursed, rocked and loved for a bit, then put to sleep in their crib while drowsy, but not asleep.  The training wheels come off the bicycle; the newly minted driver is given the keys for the first time.

This, I think, is the hardest part of parenting.  Lack of sleep and endless diapers, teething, tantrums, and potty training are easy compared to the letting go, or the blocking ourselves from blocking our children.

Teen Boy became an Eagle Scout on November 16, 2010.  It was such a proud moment for him, and for me as his Mom (okay, his Dad was proud too).   It was a moment, however, that I was not always convinced was going to happen. 

He did a beautiful job on his project, and his paperwork.  It was the last couple of Merit Badges he needed to finish that I thought would be his undoing.  His father and I gently (and sometimes not so gently) reminded him that he needed to finish those before any paperwork could be submitted.  He “knew” that, and assured me it “would be just fine”. 

I finally told him that I was done reminding him, that this was not my Eagle Rank, it was his.  If he wanted to actually earn it, he knew what he had to do.  Months went by.  Literally.  His project was in April 2010, he finally submitted the paperwork in October 2010.  I cannot tell you how many times over the summer I heard “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do” and I had to block myself from reminding him of his work.  But, he did it.  Without anymore prodding (once he did pick up the work again I did continue to encourage him to not quit, telling him to keep his eye on the prize).

I have had my fair share of blocking myself with Tween Boy as well.  He went to his first Middle School “Fun Night” all by himself.  I did not walk him in, I did not stay to see how he was doing, I just dropped him off at the door and said, “Goodbye, I love you, have fun.”  It was very bittersweet for me on the way home.  Just a few short years ago, we were having picnic lunches on the lawn while waiting for the bus to come and pick him up for afternoon Kindergarten.  Now, he is off on his own adventures.

My children are growing so quickly, there is no turning back.  As I continue to release blocks from them, I think it is time I found some new blocks just for me.  I have always wanted to learn to quilt.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Betsy! I too suffer from the "oh here, just let me do it so I know it gets done and gets done right" syndrome. And as for the quilting- I'm with you on that! Actually bought a few magazines and a few fat quarters to just try it out.... about 4 years ago. LOL My sewing machine decided to stop cooperating at that point, (that's what I determined anyways- it was the machine being stupid, not me)and then I gave it back to my mom because we were moving and didn't have the room for it (it was mounted to a sewing desk), and I never was good at sewing, etc. So I didn't pursue it any longer. But I still drool at beautiful quilts and wish I could make one. But just because I admire a Rembrandt, doesn't mean I should/could try to paint like that. Sadly, I had to admit my limitations. Now give me some paper however, and I can create something beautiful for you! Just..not..good..with fabric.