Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Blessed be the...




When I finished my son's baby book, a compilation of photos from his first year of life, for his fifth birthday, I recalled John O'Donohue's poem "For Your Birthday." I had read it somewhere during those busy early childrearing years. Now, I think of the poem as his birthday approaches. The poem reminds me of the wild beauty this universe exhibits in it's quest to express life in its many forms. 

My kiddos are both mysterious, loving, kind, unique, and cursed to have me as their mother in the sense of whatever bent I give them, will be a bent from which they must eventually find release. In contrast, I have been shackled, smothered, loved, hugged, weighed down, and lifted up by their beings, downfalls, and special joys. I alternate between conjuring and entropy. I'm a little push here, a smidge of prodding there, or just a stir of the pot kind of parent, hopeful but not always trusting in leaving well enough alone, yes, a helicopter parent at times. Parenting has been an amazing privilege at which I have both failed miserably (yelled my head off at an innocent child) and soared spectacularly (held myself back to allow them space to take off)-- somedays on the same day. Even though I occasionally wish they would turn off the widgets spontaneously,  play the piano without prompting, or clean their room regularly, I remain in awe of my kiddos and their special ways. Some of us get distracted, forget, or have lost touch with what pushes our buttons to dive deep, fly solo, or love unquestioningly, thankfully, so far, not them. Happy birthday to my little guy, your mama loves you.



For Your Birthday
Blessed be the mind that dreamed the day
The blueprint of your life
Would begin to glow on earth,
Illuminating all the faces and voices
That would arrive to invite
Your soul to growth
Praised be your father and mother
Who loved you before you were;
And trusted to call you here
With no idea who you would be.
Blessed be those who have loved you
Into becoming who you were meant to be,
Blessed be those who have crossed your life
With dark gifts of hurt and loss
That have helped to school your mind
In the art of disappointment.
When desolation surrounded you,
Blessed be those who looked for you
And found you, their kind hands
Urgent to open a blue window
In the grey wall formed around you.
Blessed be the gifts you never notice,
Your health, eyes to behold the world,
Thoughts to countenance the unknown,
Memory to harvest vanished days,
Your heart to feel the world’s waves,
Your breath to breathe the nourishment
Of distance made intimate by earth.
On this echoing-day of your birth,
May you open the gift of solitude
In order to receive your soul;
Enter the generousity of silence
To hear your hidden heart,
Know the serenity of stillness
To be enfolded anew
By the miracle of your being.
– from Benedictus, by John O’Donohue