Thursday, March 24, 2011

Extension of Self

As I've noted previously we've begun the "hitting" phase of life. It's a sigh of relief that the biting has subsided a bit, but now we're trying to eradicate all forms of battery. Arianna is the worst. She hits when she gets angry or frustrated, while Genevieve only does it when she sees Arianna swing and she thinks she's being funny by joining in. Gina has a knack for thwarting the attack. When she sees a windup in progress she says "Really?! Didn't we just talk about this?" And, magically, the angry face turns in to a smile and the swinging hand changes course. ... often to a silly nose tap or a half hearted tickle. I, on the other hand, rarely see the hit coming so I end up dealing with the fall out more often then the prevention. Last night I was exhausted from the day and a little off my game, so when Gina left to teach I was feeling all but run out. By the end of the night, after I'd gotten them to bed, I literally felt like I didn't even have the energy to sit up. So, after one smack of daddy just before dinner, I found myself trying to draw from a deep well with in to appropriately address the situation with Arianna. (side note: I love that I feel like I have to "appropriately address the situation" with my 1 and 1/2 year old. ... aren't I supposed to be the parent. ... why do I feel like I'm negotiating a cease fire with a world super power rather then telling my kid to "knock it off"?) Anyway, I got the word "no" out but then I just kind of stared at her. And she stared right back. Forget the pretense that she had just hit me and was now "in trouble". .... it was an odd/surreal/beautiful moment. Have you ever stared somebody in the eyes? I mean really stared. We have this propensity as humans to not lock eyes for more then a beat. The intensity of peering into another's soul is overwhelming. Even with your spouse; I'll stare at Gina, but rarely into her eyes for more than few moments before glancing away. It's not intentional it's just a natural human reaction. It isn't there with your kids, though. You can stare into their eyes (and they in to yours) like you're looking at yourself in the mirror. There's no separation of person between the two of you. They're just this extension of yourself. I think it's the same thing as when you wipe food of their mouth and stick it into yours with out pause, sometimes shoving their entire little hand in your mouth to clean off wayward yogurt. Or how you can clean up their bodily fluids with out hesitation. It's no different then your own. I know this relationship exists, it's not the first time I've thought of it; but every time I'm reminded of the power of this dynamic - another person that is of yourself - it just blows my mind out of the water. I need a new word for love. Love doesn't do what I feel for my daughters justice. I don't think any word could. What I feel for them is. ... me. As I stared in to her big blue eyes last night I was looking in to myself. And myself was staring right back into me. Not at me. In to me. All I needed is Keanu Reeves and a well timed "whoa" to make the moment complete.

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