Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Anatomy Lessons

Today, I learned how my legs worked. More specifically, I learned how the muscles that move my legs are connected to my pelvis and where the attachments are that, when combined all together, make my legs move. What I learned, with the gentle guidance of my Pilates instructor, is nothing like the mental map that I had previously held of my body. Now, when I walk, I feel myself moving in a different way. Eventually, I am confident that moving will feel more balanced, more connected. But for now, I am exploring this new body map with a sense of curiosity and wonder.

I wish that there was a coloring book for the anatomy of my daughter's inner world. I long to be able to pull out the volume, slide my finger down the index until I find just the right portion. Processing New 54, Managing Changes in 75, Feelings Connected with Daddy's 3. Such a reference would go a long way to helping me navigate the raising of this child who appears to be wired, in many ways, just like I am and in oh so many other ways in an incomprehensible tangle of converting the commonplace to the extraordinary.

Just when I think I've got something of a handle on what makes her tick, I wake up to a mornling like today where, turning on a dime, she becomes a screaming, flailing entity that I cannot either corral or comfort. Is it something she ate yesterday co-mingling with the remnant of a dream? Or maybe it's the mix of the start of a New Girl Scout year and the start of a new, short-term after school program. Maybe it is the shirt I put on, or the one she chose. Maybe it is the early stage firings of hormones and is only a glimmer of what is yet to come.

I may never completely figure out her internal workings, but this morning I learned something new about my emotional put-togethers, my emotional body map, if you will. It is not that somehow I am faulty, that my least stray negative thought or feeling sends an arrow arching straight for her heart to set her off. Rather, when she does whatever it is she does, what I choose to do next - or choose not to do - is the vibrational barometer for how the interaction plays out. For me, this clears up a whole body's worth of guilt and brow beating. I don't have to be perfect in every moment. Instead, I have a choice. I can hold my head and vibration high and re-direct the barbs flung my way, or I can jump off my perch and get down in the muck with her. What I find, though, is that standing on the dock and reaching a hand out helps her to pull herself up out of the muck of her own making. That is what I hope is positive parenting.

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