When you live in San Francisco, you can either drive an hour and 1/2 to a “farm” to get your romantic pumpkin experience, or you can drive 20 minutes to that spot off 101 with the jumpy castle that your kid squeels at every time you drive by. Guess where we went?
This past May, I wrote this self-disclosing piece about trying to night wean, my own chronic inner tension and how the unaccepted shadow aspect of a parent weaves its way into a child’s unconscious. At the time, I found the first healing step in a flower essence, and began taking it. Since then, I have thought about following up, to let you know how it all came out in the wash. Well….it’s six months later and honestly, it’s still in the machine. Only now we’ve also added some Rit dye, so it’s getting more colorful by the day as it swirls around.
The Chamomile essence did provide some support and relief, especially for Fern. Her night waking decreased from five times a night to one or two. Enough of a shift that I no longer considered night weaning…just that bit of extra sleep made it all seem bearable. During the day, I started talking about “Nummie nums sleep at night. Nummie nums are tired. So we can have a little bit of nummie nums and then go back to sleep.”. At night, she would nurse for five minutes, and then I could say, “Ok, nummie nums are tired. Time to roll over and go back to sleep.”. She would say, “Yup.” and roll back into dreamland, with nary a peep. Progress!
And then she and I went to Colorado. All hell broke loose, and I feel like we’re still being dogged by demons.
I couldn’t sleep in Colorado. I lay in my Grandmother’s house, feeling the texture of time, of ancestors, of my own long forgotten memories pressing forward. Feeling the powerful hum of the land, I hovered above cliffs in half sleep, desperately wanting to dip over the edge into deep sleep, but held captive by lucidity. In the distance, the sleeping Ute lured me into dreamtime, desperate for conversation from his rocky pillow. As an individual it would have been rough, but interesting. As an exhausted mother of a toddler, it was a nightmare.
Fern couldn’t sleep either. The heat, the high altitude, the stimulation and recovery from her first flight and just being in a strange place all contributed to wakefulness and need. She wanted nummies….All. Night. Long. At 3 am when I would refuse for the sake of sanity, she immediately whirled into the distress from denial that is so appropriate for her age and was so impossible under duress. Screaming fits the like of which I have never seen.
I didn’t write much about that trip because honestly, I hardly remember it I was so tired.
It seems we are still recovering from that experience. Whether it was a set-back or somehow traumatizing for her, when she wakes at night now, her protests still contain the echoes of that horrible night in Cortez. I think I’ve been in a “wait and see” mode. It’s been three months, so I think I’ve seen plenty. What’s the next step? Perhaps it’s time to go back to the beginning and get the Chamomile essence again.
As for my own process of allowing for, accepting, acknowledging that inner tension in my solar plexus? Yup. It’s still there. Reading back on that last post, really not much has changed at all, except what was a new realization at the time has now become a well known part of the story.
The primary realization that comes up for me now is just how long I have felt this way. Like with the night weaning, I get into this tolerant “wait and see” mode….and tolerance becomes my new M.O.. I find myself thinking frequently, “Life doesn’t have to feel this way.”. The weight of responsibility, of being the parent of a young child, of dealing with the blows of loss…of course times will often feel rough. But I’ve felt this way for…years. I remember it used to cycle more, with more rests in between of feeling relaxed, joyful, hopeful. I can’t remember the last time I felt that way, but it must have been before 2007.
I am making the connection, or rather, re-membering, that my anxiety stems from being on the run. On the run from myself, from painful feelings or thoughts. I over-caffeinate and I hurry, zipping through life to get to some unknown destination where everything feels more pleasant and easy. I drop into the moment best when I am with my daughter, or in nature, but I still have that feeling of living a lie, because while I exhibit playfulness and joy on the outside, internally my own toddler is throwing a fit.
One of the many lessons from our recent loss of Leo is the importance of slowing down. The price of rushing through our lives was made clear, and that starkness was a wake-up call. Jeff is returning to his Zen meditation practice, I am taking time each morning to meditate, to practice the kind of trauma release work on myself that I do on clients. So far, it’s all still pretty messy and painful, but moments are becoming cleaner, the strife dissapating like fog. Just how important this work is, is made immediately clear when I look into these eyes.
Maybe I couldn’t make myself a priority for myself, but I can do it for her.