A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

A Forest…Some Trees, and the Peace with Possiblity

It was a challenging several weeks, but life is like that. The end result of the turmoil not what I hoped, but life is like that. So, I move on to better, or at least other things. Much to simmer excitement in my belly, even if a piece of me needs to heal on some level. And, with everything occupying the various spaces in my gray matter, it took excessively long to focus on my posts…stringing words taking increasing amounts of time. But, things should begin to lighten. Little by little I am able to remove pieces from my lengthening list of obligations. Perhaps in the nearing future I will create my post buffer that allows me to publish my work in a timely manner. Perhaps still I will return to my monthly goal for piece submissions to other sites. Maybe I will even receive financial reimbursement for a few as well. Ah, ’tis the life of finding…and sometimes failing…my balance. But, alas, it isn’t all bad. I am not globally unproductive. I like to think I have an impact in other realms of my life, so I try to make that enough given my forced elasticity of late.

The focus during the torrent inadvertently my children…because I have no choice. Though sometimes I crave time alone to process my experiences as a unique entity, I cannot perseverate too much…because I have no choice. I might become angry with this aspect of my existence, but I will almost never regret it. My children changed my very fabric, and I will forever be grateful for the bustling plaid of my current character. I had never realized my very dull shade of beige. I was delusional thinking my former personality had much color at all, not even a faint, hard to distinguish striping by comparison. I stay home with my toddler and infant children. I feared for so long the ramifications of such a thing…losing myself. I couldn’t imagine the feathers to emerge. I no longer recognize myself, and nothing is more pleasing…maybe thrilling and simultaneously a gruelingly challenge.

Image result for phoenix from ashes

(And, Pinterest hasn’t even seen me appropriately caffeinated!)

Raising my children as primary caregiver I was confronted with the parameters for the model in me they will see. I’ve had to evaluate my actions, and what communication of desired values resembles to my budding bystanders. My personal overhaul is far reaching, but not the focused effort it seems. Small changes and considerations over the past few years. Responding to my children in tiny, almost ignorable gestures. But, the blocks build on themselves, stacking unexpected and beautiful structures.

Image result for beautiful building

(Even the Taj Mahal is a sculptured series of marble bricks.)

It isn’t so much that I was unkind before, but communicating kindness to my children with the hope they might possess such a trait as part of their disposition is an entirely different and unsettling beast.

Initially it was a purposeful pursuit, somewhat unnatural. Since Little Man was a little little wee man, I’ve sought ways to be kind to anyone and everyone…even if the anyone didn’t deserve it. If I had a kind thought of another, regardless of what it was, I shared it with the individual. I looked for reasons to be pleasant and engaging. As cold as my area can be, it’s been rare to find anyone unhappy to be part of funny or empathic dialogue. For three years now I practiced, and practiced some more…kind gestures regardless if I felt inspired to do so…regardless if my children were around…regardless if I felt a genuine gumption to care for anyone but myself.

When my son turned approximately eighteen-months, his awkward toddler bumbling prompted a significant increase to my haphazard engagement with others. With the increase I began noticing my actions were absorbed by all sorts of sponges littered in his direct radius. All the observing eyes had me convinced the smallest of gestures matter, and I have no way to fathom the yield.

Image result for crowd of staring children

(They inspire action, don’t they?)

But, even with the eerie feeling existing in the throws of perpetual observation, perhaps these daily, small kindness gestures I’ve pursued are the answers to some of society’s most vexing issues.

Furthermore, as I’ve committed to my miniscule acts of kindness, I’ve found a very deep, profound, and unexpected satisfaction knowing I’ve contributed to improving someone’s day. I can’t speak with any authority of my effect on others, but I can attest to the impact of kindness bestowed to me. One instance climbs to the surface as I write this post. Some months ago when I was gaining my bearings shepherding two small children in public, I was at a local mall ordering food for my toted trilogy. As I attempted to pay, I found that I left my wallet in the car. I instantly knew what happened. I’d stopped for gas, visualizing the cup holder where my wallet resided. I recognized in the moment things could have been worse, but it was still a drag. I asserted to the cashier that I needed to return to my car…across a substantial building. Eh, shit happens. But, a random woman overheard my exchange with the cashier while she was spending time with a friend. Immediately after the event her face was forgotten in my mind. But, she paid for my order, telling me she’s been there, and subsequently returned to her conversation with no further commentary or engagement. Such a small, insignificant effort to her, but I will forever remember her generosity of spirit; and while returning to my car would not have been a day killer, this lone stranger paved the way for a solidly good day in a standard infrastructure of annoying ones at the time.

It’s moments like these I’m reminded that villages haven’t disappeared despite parenting blog commentary. It is in our overt and nonjudgmental kindness that our villages persist. And, I’m reminded of how connected we all can be every time my three-year-old looks sideways at an escalator before a stranger intervenes because I struggle to keep in pace with him from time to time.

Image result for escalator

(Nope, LT Elevator, not daunting at all...)

Contributing my part to the village isn’t about receiving gratitude or acknowledgment of any kind, but when I have a grueling several weeks as I did such a short time ago, I’m reminded that we can rumble along in our own forest dismissing beautiful trees, even if they are sprouting all around.

Image result for forest

(World Wildlife Fund is just one devastatingly beautiful green and sturdy scape.)

The periodically tunneled view of dirt as we roam our lives isn’t a judgment. It’s impossible to be grateful at all times. I for one use gratitude as a weapon against personal feelings of misery, as though I have no right or justification for periodic unhappiness at any depth. It’s foolish, but I doubt uncommon. I see it throughout bitter and uncharitable comment sections.

I’ve found, however, prioritizing small, kind gestures to others allows me to remain present in my moments…sometimes step out of myself even if only for a diminutive instant. My day may very well be craptastic with a side order of overtired toddler and teething baby, but forcing an effort to be kind…to have some small notion of generosity or perhaps a friendly, empathic word with a stranger; for the briefest of moments I am lifted. And, if I think about the possibility of my deed or interaction providing a foundation to another having a better day than I, sometimes I find peace. Truly, my day continues to suck, but it feels more temporary…like maybe my son will sleep and my daughter will smile soon. And, a beautiful tree will shade me, and I can bask in the good once again.

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2 responses to “A Forest…Some Trees, and the Peace with Possiblity

  1. Sandi June 19, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    I feel like I lost myself all the time, particularly when the children were babies/toddlers. That’s why I sought out blogs that were NOT about “mommyhood” all blogging about the same thing about the various stages and best park, potty training…unless they had a funny story to tell…I wanted to expand out and read other things. We can be terrific, doting, parents…but also talk about some other things that don’t include bashing the presidential race/president or religion or they whys someone mass murdered a group of children. It might be random thoughts or frustrations of a job situation. It’s okay to want “more” than just being mom and changing diapers…but simultaneously absorb every second of the kiddos when they are awake, but live for nap times too. And I believe in villages too. If I see an adventurous child, I might distract him until the parent catches up – often times, the father! AND I always talk to my soon-to-be 8th and 6th grader about being a “Positive impact” on society. Did you smile when you said hello, and looked them in the eyes? Did you hold open a door, remember pleases/thank yous. Try to be sincere when telling someone to have a nice day. It’s working. And if we’re passing this on to our children, then it won’t die out. From time to time, they will remember on their own (sometimes I need to prompt) and soon they will be doing this with their own children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Allison Alter (apprehensively expecting) June 19, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      It’s funny because it’s all stuff I would have never considered. The “problem” with a completely blank slate…

      I become frustrated with the stereotyping in published parenting pieces. It all seems to have an edge to it, painting mothers as whining or somewhat unhinged about the obligations because it earns loud agreement or adversary in the comment section. It’s a weird extreme of blogging. I read some of it to have an idea of what is published…my stuff often has an uphill battle to be noticed. Ah well, it is what it is. I enjoy writing. I like having various areas to express myself at a time when it’s exceedingly difficult to have a coherent conversation with others for one reason or another. But, I don’t really consider myself a writer, especially for a profession. Maybe one day I will. My professional pursuits are more in the field I’ve cultivated over the years. Sometimes the two intersect.

      It’s funny how our pre life forms our expectations for how we see our individual identity post baby making. A long time ago I owned a couple of beautiful goblets. They were a thick shattered glass. I feel as though that’s my life…beautiful with everything completed in little pieces that I have to constantly step back to see the entirety of the object. Periodically I’m forced to do so, and I amaze myself, asking who is this person?

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