Posted by: alegra22 | July 4, 2011

of angles and energy

Sol moves through the house like a skinsuit full of stones and wire.

Bang, bang, bang, thud, thump.

He is the momentum of imagination. A boy who breaks away from his shadow only to have it reach out, grab him by the ankles, and yank so quickly that he doesn’t have time for reflexes, for hands-out-in-front-of-his-face. There is no leaning away from furniture, walls, sharp edges, elbows or skulls; he collides full-force.

I always have to look away so he doesn’t see the smile, the reflex I can’t control when he becomes this awkward silhouette of too much, too soon. My boy of angles and energy pressed between the curve of the planet and gravity. This road runner and Wiley coyote crashing to the floor.

In the last few days, he has stopped blaming us when he trips over his feet, slips down steps, walks into doors. His anger has its own momentum and rather than stand in its way and demand it to halt, we’ve been giving it paths to follow. We say, “Choose your course from these options.” And then we step aside.

We’ve put a chart up on his door. Photos detailing the route his energy should take every afternoon when he comes home from school. Put away your backpack. Feed the kitties. Clean the litter. Read. Help with dinner. Eat. Put away dishes. Get pjs. Bath. Put on pjs. Brush teeth. Bed.

He now knows there are walls to keep him from free-falling into space. The moments line up so that the horizon is no longer obscured. We see the softening in him. He no longer has to hold his body in tension as a reassurance that the world will not spread and spread and spread if he lets go. He can bang and careen and stumble joyfully through his days.

It’s not just him, I’m learning the same lesson. Some days I move as though by the power of my mind I’m holding the universe together. It takes a clenching down in my teeth, a constant surveillance of ways my systems might be weak or starting to fail.

My children are teaching me to let myself spread until I feel the natural banks of my life holding me. I lose the angles of my self-judgment. I become energy. Laughing and traveling. Shaping as I am shaped.

I’m held safe by the discovery of my purpose in the small acts of a day.

I catch glimpses of the freedom found in the boundaries of grace.





  1. Beautiful… and it sounds a bit relieving too. It will be interesting to see as Sol becomes more self-aware how his anxieties manifest and his joys transform. Hugsies-

    • It is VERY relieving! It’s given us a foundation to work from rather than constantly navigating damage control. There’s been a big shift in the last few weeks as we’ve processed all of this. And yes, I’m very curious to see how Sol continues to transform – my hope is that the anxieties/traits of his will begin to channel themselves into areas of passion.

  2. Reading this confirms what T and I were talking about last night. That Bean really, really needs a chart to show him what the day holds. So much of what we encounter with him is frustration around having too many choices, too wide a horizon. I love this idea of creating something with pictures. Thank you always for being someone who shines a light on how to be a better parent… Your words always fill me up. xo

    • Bean is your oldest, right? We have realized a lot of Sol’s frustration/anger/panic comes from anxiety and the anxiety comes from that open horizon…the other two children have personalities that don’t mind this so much but for Sol, it’s intolerable. When he saw the chart he cheered in delight. He loves order. He needs it. If you give it a try (I loved making the pretty chart!) let me know how it works for you. Lots of love xooxo

  3. It’s so cool to see how teaching your kids teaches you too. This is one of the aspects of parenting that I’m truly looking forward to.

    • Debbi,
      A wise friend recently said to me, “you get a second chance at childhood with your children. While you raise them, you’re also raising yourself.” This really transformed something in my attitude, especially when it comes to the issues I found difficult and against my nature (the discipline that sometimes feels like nagging). I’m reading this fantastic book right now called ‘Loving Our Children on Purpose’ by Danny Silk and it’s been fine-tuning and confirming so many feelings I’ve had – that the ultimate goal of parenting is to develop relationship and self-responsibility in our children based in unconditional love. As I’ve been thinking about these things and working on applying them with the children, I realize I’m changing myself as well. Children really do provide us an opportunity to rediscover the world and ourselves new.

  4. Beautiful! I can see it and see his world through your words.

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