Hi, it’s Linda here again… back from a visit with my son, Josh, and Oh, what a delicious visit it was….!

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love Josh!   He is the Great Blessing of my life…   AND, it hasn’t always been easy between us….

Let me first tell you that the dream of my life was always to have a child…   I can pinpoint the moment I knew…

One night when I was 12, I was babysitting at our neighbors’  across the street. They had a tiny baby.  I had never babysat a “real” baby before.  I thought he would sleep the whole time, but he didn’t. He cried and cried and cried – that little “new-baby-cry” that sounded like he couldn’t catch his breath.

I was afraid to touch him.

I called my mother and begged her to come over.  She did.  She went into the baby’s room, picked him up and put him on the changing table. I stood next to her as she opened his diaper. She never said a word, but she stopped for a minute and so I looked. What I saw was disgusting to my 12 year old sensibilities – the baby was raw from his waist to his knees, the diaper reeked of urine, and brown poop lay slathered over the red skin like warrior markings.

My mother started to do what I knew she knew best – taking care of children who couldn’t take care of themselves. She was ever so gentle as she cleaned that baby up. As she took care of him, he started to calm down. She put Vaseline all over him – thick layers of the stuff to block out the hurt and the pain. He stopped crying. She diapered him and picked him up. She rocked him on her shoulder, patting his back and crooning to him, until he fell asleep. She put him back in his crib.

I was in awe of her.

I decided, right then, that I was going to have a baby and I was going to be a mother just like my mother – and no child of mine was ever going to feel hurt or pain…

Ever…

And, well….  It doesn’t always go like that, does it?

For years, when Josh was little, it seemed that life was easy and happy – I joke that the three of us were like “The Three Musketeers”, always together, full of adventure and fun…

Life didn’t go on like that forever… Fred and I started to lose who we were in our marriage… we did what we did and we knew Josh had a hard time with that…

Separation and divorce are never easy for a child, no matter how old they are…

For Josh, well… he had to go through it twice…

Fred and I first separated when he was six years old. We stayed apart for two years and then we wanted to try again to make our marriage work…

The next six years were progressively painful for all of us. By the time Fred and I separated the second time, Josh was fourteen…

He chose to live with his Dad…

Since then, Josh and I have been riding a roller-coaster of emotion, trying to repair what neither of us dared to even speak of…

A pattern emerged out of the way we were together… if I said “black,” he said “white”… and then I would spend a lot of time defending “black” as if being a good mother were at stake…

Oh, we loved each other, for sure… that was never in doubt… we just weren’t always present to the love…  As a result, we didn’t have an easy, comfortable way with each other… we were both anxious, tentative, and finally…  automatic…

“Hi, Josh, it’s Mom… How’s work?”

“It’s fine. How are you?”

There would be a bit of news on either side… then…

Silence.

“Ok, Honey… I’ll let you go… I love you…!”

“Love you, too, Mom…”

Click.

When we agreed that I’d come to Minneapolis for a visit, I was determined that this time it would be different. I was committed to shift something in this relationship. I wasn’t willing to let it go on like this for one more minute…

I was willing to do anything to create the space for that to happen…

I cleared myself with a few of my committed listeners.   My friends were ruthlessly compassionate with me:   “Linda, you are either going to spend your life defending and explaining or you are going to listen to him and love him no matter what he says.   You can’t have both…”

A little scared… off I went to Minneapolis…

I started on Saturday by saying, “Josh, I know that there is something between us…”

He interrupted me, “Mom, not here at breakfast… Let’s go home and talk about this….”

When we got to his apartment, I tried again, “Josh, you can say anything you want to say to me…   I am here to listen…”

And, listen I did… for hours….

What he said is not for here… and it’s not what is at the heart of the matter, anyway… What IS the essence – the life — is that the way he saw it is the way it happened for him — and I needed to get that…

It was not easy. He spoke of things from when he was 9, when he was 13 – and times before, after, and in-between…

There were moments I wanted to jump in and say, “No, that’s not what happened…” and I remembered my friends’ caution… “Whatever way it is for him is the way it is for him… Just BE with it… That is the only way to honor him…”

Every time I wanted to correct his perception, I watched myself WANT to do that — and what went through my mind was, “this is not about being right about anything… this is about loving him…”

The more I listened, the more he said…

By four in the afternoon, we were both quiet….

What I did finally say was, “Josh, I am committed to having an extraordinary relationship with you….”

And, he said:

“Mom, I am committed to having an extraordinary relationship with you, too….”

We stopped the “heavy stuff” and proceeded to have a great weekend… He cooked for me, we watched a movie on TV and I scratched his head like I always did when he was a little boy….

The next day, he was still impatient with me and I was still trying too hard to be a “good mother”…

Old patterns die hard….

But, something had shifted… something transformed…. the impatience was more playful, the “good mother” was not so righteous… or needy…

He drove me to the airport early Monday morning. As I kissed him “Good-bye” and turned to go… I knew that we had done something huge that weekend…  I was at peace.

If anyone had told me when I was 12 that I could ever hurt my child or cause him pain, I would have said that it was not possible….

What I learned is that there are other ways to hurt a child besides leaving him in a urine-soaked diaper…

We do what we do in any moment because that is our level of consciousness at that time…

It is a gift to be able to grow in awareness… to take responsibility for what we have done and to acknowledge the impact it has on the people around us… and commit to something new, something greater, something full of love and compassion for who they are….

And… for who WE are…

Anything is possible now for me and Josh ….

I have no idea what that looks like…

Now, THAT’S an adventure worth having…

Deliciously yours in the Glory of it All,  Linda

“Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older,
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?

Sunrise, sunset…
Sunrise, sunset…
Swiftly flow the years.
One season following another,
Laiden with happiness and tears.”
…from “Fiddler on the Roof”

This is my son, Josh Feuer…  An amazing man, if I do say so — and not just because I’m his mother…..  xoxo

How did I learn to listen like this?  See www.landmarkeducation.com.

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I’ve been looking at the things I’d like to transform in my life: those habits I have that may not serve me anymore — if  ever they did! — those ways of being that are not responsible and/or caring – challenging myself to question everything that might be a distraction from my purpose in life – and that purpose is making a difference while I am here on this planet….

 

One area that came up for me is this…

 

I am a night owl – I LOVE the late night, the hours way after dark, long after everyone else has gone to bed,  the quiet, dark streets of the city; stars in a clear, night sky;  moonlight on the ocean;  late night reading, late night television, late night EVERYTHING!  Sweet….

 

That’s not the problem…. 

 

What late-night living gives rise to is that I am NOT a morning person:  I love to sleep late, I prefer not to talk before 10AM  (Surprise! There IS a time when I don’t talk!) – I don’t even turn my phone on until after I’ve had enough time to meditate, set my intentions for the day, and have my coffee…

 

Still not the problem…

 

AND…  I live in a culture where “early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,”  “the early bird gets the worm,” and  “The early morning has gold in its mouth” – two out of three of those quotes by Ben Franklin, no doubt a lover of the dawn.

 

You can see the conflict that sets up for me… because I’ve bought into that…. and yet I don’t do it.

 

And THAT, my friends, is the problem.

 

Not that I haven’t tried – putting an alarm clock across the room to force me out of bed, promising myself to go to the gym in the morning so that I have a schedule to live into, clearing my evenings so that I could go to bed at 10PM and awaken at 6AM….

 

All because I thought I “should”…

 

…only to be startlingly awakened at the dawn’s early light by the blaring of the alarm and immediately thinking that something was wrong, feeling like a lump in a lazy and lethargic work-out, and botching my schedule up every other day because I have so many late evening dinners and seminars that end at 10:15PM that I am disempowered before I even begin.   My brain gets the message that I cannot be trusted with my Word.

 

This week, I decided that it was time to get that flat, once and for all!  No one can be happy if they are living in marked contrast to what they think they SHOULD be doing….  And thinking of themselves as “less than” in the process… 

 

So, I looked at that…

 

Every morning before I start my day – and every night before I close my eyes – I ask God to use me….  I, like George Bernard Shaw, “want to be all used up when I die…”  AND get my 8 hours sleep while I’m at it…

 

What does that mean for my life?

 

Here’s what I came up with:

 

…Living, playing, and expressing myself in being Who I Am for myself and for the world, right here, right now… present in every moment….

 

…Living in my devotion to God by being an emissary for love and compassion…  in every moment….

 

…Living as a contribution to my fellow human beings, standing for their Greatness, even when they don’t….  and doing that…. you got it! –  in every moment….

 

Then, I looked at whether that is better done in the morning or in the evening…?    Or — what IS the appropriate and right time of day for that — exactly?

 

Every moment.

 

What I realized is that God doesn’t know whether it’s the morning or the night… Well, He does, actually, know that because He knows everything… He just doesn’t really care about that…  what He cares about is that we love each other, that we are compassionate with each other, that we contribute to each other….  In fact, that is what God is…. Love, kindness, and compassion…

 

I’ve made my peace with this.  I can choose:  I can be a night person or I can wake up early… it means what I make it mean….  and I’ve chosen to make it mean nothing, either way…   It’s all just a conversation… and we get to choose….. that’s what allows us to be free….

 

So, if you are a morning person, and the early hours are what call to you…and that is what honors your Higher Self…. Enjoy every precious moment of that!  AND please — tiptoe ‘til after breakfast if you’re staying with me, OK?

 

For me..?  Well, here I sit, at 11:30 at night, alive and aware and loving all of you, right now, writing my little heart out….  glancing out my window at the twinkling street lights on First Avenue and watching the snow falling on the silent city night, moved by what it takes for all of us to live while loving and laughing and being together…. And I look forward to those few times a year when I get to see the dawn, made all the more special and beautiful by its rare appearance in my life….

 

If you’re ever up late, perhaps you’ll see me….   I’ll be the one dancing by the light of the moon….

  

Deliciously yours in the moonlight….  Linda 

 

© Linda Ruocco and “Spiritual Chocolate”, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Linda Ruocco and “Spritiual Chocolate”  with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Thank you. 

 

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