Sunday, January 3, 2010

Time to sit this one out...

I spent most of yesterday sitting, in the rain: either driving my daughter's car so she could sleep, or riding in her car, staring out the wet windows at passing farmlands as she drove the rest of the way up to the Canadian border, or sitting in the Customs and Immigration office watching the rain on the skylights while we waited for them to approve her internship; and then sitting in the car as my husband drove the 120 miles back home in the driving rain, and sitting upstairs on the ferry home.

It was a long day, tense, and tiring though we were actually doing so little: they had sent her back the day before for not having enough documentation to prove she could support herself for the 7 weeks she's scheduled to be studying with the three photographers she'll be volunteering for -- which was why we were there, to display bank statements and proof of the school's approval of her program -- and even with all that they were still reluctant to let her in, though eventually they agreed (while threatening to deport her on a moment's notice if it looked like she was taking a position away from a citizen).

It was also long because it began with a squabble between my husband and daughter to see whose car I would ride in -- not because of any intrinsic value in me; they each had their own agendas I suspect -- and the aftertaste of the squabble lingered for much of the time we spent together. I've worried often this past year that I don't engage enough with what Kim calls "the real world" -- not the blogosphere, not the family, but the neighbors and friends and community in whose midst we live and move.

But it's clear, if I'm looking for meat, food to grow on, work to do -- however you want to describe those unfortunate encounters with our own dark shadows -- I get plenty of challenging opportunities just dealing with my husband and daughters. My interactions with them serve as constant reminders of my own weaknesses and failures, while at the same time being filled with love and affection and reassurance about my strengths and gifts. I am constantly challenged to grow, and constantly forced to question my choices, responses, and reactions. It's a dance with lots of ups and downs, and I'm itching to sit out a couple of rounds.

Which is probably why I've scheduled a quiet retreat weekend away for myself at our diocesan camp and conference center in a couple of weeks: I think I need some time to debrief myself and just relax -- and isn't that how Christmas and the holidays seem to leave us every year? I'm just desperate for quiet time...


Louise Gallagher said...

Ah Diane, I was thinking yesterday about my 'failings' as a mother as I packed away Christmas. There were some bags and ornaments that Charles' kids mother had made for them -- handmade things are so... humbling.

I remembered my eldest daughter telling a friend recently how when she was in Brownies, how I was the worst Brownie mother -- I didn't even sew on their badges, I just pinned them on!

I was feeling somewhat sorry for myself, having a little martyrs dance around the naked Christmas Tree when my daughter came home. We sat for a few moments having a cup of tea and suddenly she stood up and gave me a hug and said, "you are the most amazing mother there ever was."

Go figure.

She has a new beau and I when I met him recently we sat chatting and he said, "Alexis has told me how amazing you are."

Go figure.

Sit out my friend.

Nurture your beautiful spirit and keep growing and sharing your growth -- you inspire me.

Diane Walker said...

Thanks so much for hearing me and sharing -- I opened your comment just after I finished writing my poem for today -- A Mother's Lament -- and it was just perfect.

Thank you.

Maureen said...

You are not going to believe this but last night I was writing a new poem. I titled it "Mothers' Lament". Then I changed the title to "When Mothers Get Together". I'll be posting it Tuesday.

The retreat sounds like a wonderful idea.

Diane Walker said...


Guess the holidays are trying for us all...

Unknown said...


After many years of fairly prickly relations with my daughter, she moved 2500 miles away...and I realized that neither she nor I have had the mother we deserved.

Over the past few months I have been working on "mothering" myself...replacing that nagging, nasty voice in my head with the "mother voice" of encouragement, etc. that I have always used with my kids. I can't believe how ugly that nasty voice can be and what a CHANGE in my mood when I am "mothering" myself. I think I have been waiting.waiting.waiting for someone to do this for me and woke up finally to realize that instead of driving my kids crazy with advice, etc. I could just use all that caring energy to comfort and encourage myself.

I've loved reading your insights and viewing your photography this past year and look forward to more in 2010. Many thanks for sharing...and peace in your new year.

Ann R.