Friday, September 28, 2012

Listening with Ninja Ears

There are things we tell the Critters that go in one ear and out the other, mostly rants


 or instructions... which when not followed to parental satisfaction turn into rants.


And then there are things that we want them to listen to with Ninja Ears....   

....tidbits of knowledge and wisdom (they're different, you know!) that are essential for living a productive, values-driven life.


Years ago in an akido class, I embraced the notion that in order to retain my balance, I must "feel my center".  Planting feet at shoulder width, knees slightly flexed and weight evenly distributed, breathing slowly and deeply and all tuned in, I could feel my "core" - that solid, sturdy place of strength low in my abdomen.  (We mothers know it has another name: uterus.)

Anyhow, the idea was that if we could remain in our "core" we couldn't be thrown, but if we leaned too far out from center, either while defending or initiating, we could easily be flipped for a loop.  And it was true. 

Not to brag, but my pre-Momster self was pretty unflippable.

Fast forward twenty years....

These days equilibrium is not my strong suite, but then, I'm pretty outnumbered.  I could withstand almost any barrage while defending just myself, but trying to protect a restless nest-full who haven't fully learned where their own "center" is takes more focus, patience and strength than I can often muster.  I push and push, even though the golden rule of akido is to use your opponent's own energy against them. While the post modern world circles, seemingly (to the Critters) innocuous, but (to me) trying to pull them off balance, my pushing against it only seems to make them lean further away.  Hmmm....

Even Ralph Machio as "The Karate Kid" (Jaden Smith in the remake) and David Carradine as "Grasshopper" needed to become one with what lies within before they could kick any serious butt on their own. Not to promote their personal philosophies, but pondering how to keep my children centered, feet firmly planted, maybe I haven't fully demonstrated the importance of listening.  Not to me, but to the truth that lies deep within each of us. Trying to reason and explain the "why"  to the Critters before they've built up their own spiritual muscle is like expecting them to do that crouching heron thingy on a pylon without all the wax on/wax off moves --- well... sort of.

Somehow, I don't think either Pat Morita or Jackie Chan can help me with this one!
(Chuck Norris?  Hmmm, maybe....)

When I flip out (Third Child's description, not mine) over the decaying values we're constantly bombarded with in the media (and on the street corner, for that matter), I'm not exactly displaying the kind of calm assurance and strength that ends with a dogpile of fallen foes at my feet. Admittedly, my own Ninja ears could use a tune up from time to time.  But when I stand firm in what I believe in - with letters to the editor, actively taking part in rallies and campaigns for life, turning off that offending television show, reaching out to those in need, and living a joyful life despite hardship or frustration - those actions speak volumes.

As much as I wish I could, I can't pinpoint every danger for them either.  And even more importantly, I can't always fight their fights.  They will have to learn what truth is, and what's worth fighting for.  But like my akido instructor did so many years ago, maybe I can help them find their core, to listen for and recognize it.

Hint: it speaks in a still, small voice....


Thanks to everyone who kept me in their thoughts and prayers.  I'm on the mend, back at work, and sporting an interesting new belly-button for good measure!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Well! - She's got gall!

Indeed I do, and stones too.

And sludge.

All of which are located painfully under my right ribcage.  But not for long.  Next week I will undergo a non-emergent, though much needed gallbladder removal surgery.  And I thought balancing my already overloaded schedule was a challenge! 

Since this is an outpatient procedure, I plan on working at my job the evening prior to surgery.  I mean, I've been working all along despite feeling crummy and broken, and since I had previously switched shifts with a co-worker who needs the evening off, no sense messing with her schedule. My employer (and great friend, by the way) has graciously offered to cover for me for a few days afterward, but I'm planning on climbing back into the saddle by Friday. I am woman - hear me roar!  Or, as seems to be the case with gallbladders - hear me belch.

Husband, who I already know to be a saint, has been exasperatingly wonderful. I say that because I have horrible Mom-guilt.  If I hadn't been so vain and wanted to lose those extra pounds that the Critters say made me all soft and cuddly, I wouldn't have cut back so drastically on carbs and stuffed myself instead with meat and nuts.  Having a  spouse with a natural metabolism that allows him to consume all the cookies he wants and still wear the same size jeans as when we got married does something to the psyche.  But to tell the truth, I felt a lot better getting the weight off.......until I didn't.........feel better, that is.  Anyhow, Husband will be picking up the slack on the home front, and doing an enormous amount of extra driving, besides taking over as M.O.O.H.D.S. - Main Overseer of Homework & Dispute Settler - which can try the patience of even the most sainted.  So the quicker I recuperate and get off my duff the better!

The main reason I need to get on with things is that the world doesn't need more whiners.  There is so much genuine suffering out there.  Belly-aching about something as trivial as a gallbladder when wars are raging, homes are being broken, and children are starving seems so self indulgent.  We personally know couples in the middle of divorce, an eleven year old child who just underwent a 10 hour surgery on her spine (not her first either) and people in their prime with terminal diagnoses.

Life is full of little bumps and bruises, but that's life.  According to Husband and the Aunties (and the uncles too, I guess), my mother-in-law used to always tell them to "offer it up".  Another favorite saying of hers was "this too shall pass".  Neither is very original, but both hold wisdom that I hope I can pass along to the Critters, since she never got the chance.  Maybe if I just hold them really tight (while I still can), all the whining (which, alas, they already picked up from me) will get squoze out.  And like the sponges they are, they'll soak up the good stuff.

*A note for Firstborn, the only Critter with any memory of her paternal grandma: It is okay, however, to still want your Momster there to take care of you when you have a temperature of 101 and can't even drag yourself out of your dorm room to the food commons!  Wish I could be there, darling girl!