Posted by: alegra22 | November 30, 2010

something real

I have to confess something. My children terrify me. More often than not, I find myself navigating a sense of awe that they emerged from my body and the sneaking suspicion that at some point they are going to wise up to the fact that I am inadequate.

I thought I was going to blog about our adventures in Disneyland but those moments stream through my mind in a blur. The image that slows down long enough for me to write about is that of my daughter sitting on the curb of Mainstreet waving to Pinocchio and charming that small wooden boy into blowing her a kiss.

She clasped her hands, turned to me and declared, “Mommy! He gave me a kiss.”

Of course he did. If anyone could turn something made from wood and strings and hinges into something real, it is my daughter. Every day I spend with her, I find myself tripping on those strings that used to tug and pull me in and make me perform for the world. I discover my splinters and the parts of me that are still waiting to become Real. It isn’t always comfortable.

Last night, Dan and I sat in the dark talking. We are both tired. I am sick. We haven’t had a chance to recover from the flight yet. Our first few days in California were spent navigating three children made wild by change, final assignments for Dan’s teaching qualifications, and then we were off to Disneyland, my thesis sitting on my shoulders screeching like one of those flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz. 

Today was our second day back from the Disneyland adventure, and both of us are sleep deprived. During our two days at Disneyland, Joaquin paid close attention to everything going on around him and not once did he kick up a fuss – he saved that until midnight and then again at 3 a.m. when suddenly he’d wake up yowling and unleashing everything he’d stored in his mind, screaming it out of his system, burning up a fever, before passing out to wake up the next morning his smiling, calm self. 

Fatigue makes me frayed at the edges, skittery, prone to sinking below the surface of things. My mind becomes quiet and dark. My emotions are weighted like a wish thrown into still and deep waters. In my fatigue I’ve found myself stunned by my children, by the hours stretching ahead of us each day. Us, just us – a family. Suddenly after months and months of our family life being pushed to the periphery, my children are before me, the center of everything, and I find myself shrinking away in awe of their beauty. I confessed to my husband that I wished I was more resilient. I wish I didn’t find myself thinking so many thoughts. Like my daughter, I want to charge through the crowds instead of becoming overwhelmed. I want to wave at every character in the parade, joyfully demanding the attention of life.

Dan gathered me in his arms and whispered, “You are perfectly made. You don’t need to change anything.”

He is right. That is the gift the children hand me every day: They have not learned to perform yet, to hand over their movements to the various puppeteers that take up residence in our minds over the years. They invite me to step off the stage and in loving them, become real again.



  1. This is beautiful. And Daniel is right. You are perfectly made and don’t need to change anything. I think your children are proof enough of that! The offer for a king size bed and a stove that works is still open!!!

    • If only it were as simple as a stove and bed! We’d need the house, the job, the car, the school… *sigh*

  2. Ditto, don’t change anything and yes, beautifully said! I can totally understand falling below the surface, it happens without warning or even knowing you are already below. I think you said it once that these things, like emotions come in waves and you just have to trust that it will pass over and you will be back to normal. Plus, I bet not feeling well/being sick is a big part of that. Lots of luck and good juju on the job for Dan and for you take make it through your thesis :O)

    • Thank you :o)
      Funny you mention waves because I’ve been thinking a lot about them these last few weeks. I think this next year will see me back to my old surfer girl ways.

  3. beautiful. I love that image of slowly becoming real, learning to move limbs and ligaments on one’s own, discovering senses. splinter-free hugsies

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