Surprise, surprise

Where to begin? Life has not lent itself well to blogging lately. Too much living and not enough time to write about it. Maybe that’s the way it should be.

I find I am content. Satisfied. Friendly toward myself even. And that doesn’t make for great subject matter or inspiration.

I spent last week on a meditation retreat, cupped gently in the hands of the verdant rolling hills of New York’s Hudson Valley and two skillful and nurturing teachers, the lovely Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli, and surrounded by a community of new friends and fellow travellers.

Stepping so far away from my day-to-day, away from not only work and family, but also my smart phone and computer, my patterns and habits, from TV and even reading, that I felt like I had taken a blow torch to some mental and emotional cob webs, set them alight, watched them burn and maybe even let them go. Yes, Shiva the Destroyer—and Durga’s consort—was in the house.

While the inner machinations of my own mental process is fascinating to me, I doubt it will be to you, so I won’t bore you. But one surprising thing did come up that I wanted to share.

It is this: this label, this story that “I am a parent of a child with special needs” is … changing. Feeling less precious, less necessary.

In the moments of stillness and silence of the retreat, when I expected it to appear like a gale force wind, it was merely a quiet breeze.

How strange. Surely, after these last couple of years, there could be nothing else worthy of my ruminations? But not only were there plenty of other thoughts to watch—most notably my profound and continuous striving to be someone other than who I am—I found that it just didn’t come up much.

By the end of the week, when I came out of silence to my first intimate conversation about what I had seen, I noticed that I didn’t even bring it up. It simply wasn’t part of the story. After years of demanding that there’s got to be more to life than this…I find that there is.

I don’t know how I feel about the possibility of letting go of this identity, or if I’m even ready to. It has been a liberator and a jailor, a lightening rod and a scape goat, a shield and a veil, a pulpit and a gallows. That’s a lot to let go of.

And “letting go” is too active a verb to describe what’s happening. I’m not doing anything. It’s doing itself. It’s letting go of me. Or maybe not letting go, just melting, melding, or pulsating between itself and something else.

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About Cristin L.

Earthling, pilgrim, peace warrior and special needs parent
This entry was posted in special needs parenting and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Surprise, surprise

  1. Sory says:

    OMG!! So happy for you, that’s a great news, with that said: Please “help” any advice? Class? Attitude? Anything that will help me become just myself?
    Don’t get me wrong I love being a mother of a beautiful kid with special needs, an advocate, anyway you know how this list can get long… And sometimes boring 😉 but that’s my life and I LOVED, let me say that one more time” I LOVE MY LIFE AS A MOTHER OF SPECIAL NEEDS KID” . It’s just that ironically after I read your blog today I caught myself thinking : wow! is that even possible to happen, be just me?
    Take care
    Xoxo
    Sory

    • Cristin L. says:

      I sadly have no advice. As I said, it doesn’t even feel like anything I’m doing. It’s just flowing through me. If I were to say anything about how it’s possible, maybe it’s that I had to really immerse myself completely in it so I could go through it? I sense though that it’s not over. Things will change for my son and our family, and I might be back there again. But for now, it feels really weird.

  2. Erin says:

    I get this. For a while I wore a puzzle piece necklace. When the chain finally broke and it fell off, I suddenly realized that I had actually been chained to that identity in some way. It was at times a badge of honor and at others a ball and chain. I agree with Sory- I love my identity as a special needs mom, but look forward to a time when I can recognize myself as more than just that seemingly all-encompassing identity. Good for you that you found that.

    • Cristin L. says:

      So nice that you get it. (That’s why I needed to write about it! So thank you thank you.) I love your insight with the “chain”. I wonder if we ever really get “unchained,” or if it’s more like a really good soup that changes flavor after a couple of days once all the flavors blend together. OK, that’s a weird metaphor, but maybe you get what I mean. I just don’t know if we ever get “beyond” it, or just turn into something bigger that contains it.

  3. Diane Engelstad says:

    I so look forward to your blogs! You’re going to keep blogging, right…?

  4. Debra says:

    Once again I’m reminded what an incredible writer and amazing human being you are. What a joy to witness your evolution. Keep writing!

  5. laurimedeiros says:

    I love your line “Or maybe not letting go, just melting, melding, or pulsating between itself and something else.”

    For me, being a parent of a child with disability was the vessel on how I became intimately acquainted with the world of disability.
    Being intimately acquainted with the world of disability, has broadened me… stretched me, deposited compassion and passion beyond words.

    In the movie Serendipity there is a line I love:
    “….You know the Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died: “Did he have passion?”

    (Not were they a parent of a child with special needs.)

    May my passions always move, touch and inspire me!
    (and may parenting, always teach me to be a good student)

    • Cristin L. says:

      Ah, those Greeks. We have so much to learn from them. It is wonderful to have passion, regardless of how we get it. Life is so much more interesting these days…

  6. Lisa O'Brien says:

    Breathtaking; I want to read this over and over. More to say, but children await…just had to thank you.

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