the period following the onset of puberty during which a young person develops from a child into an adult.
To know what is happening to our bodies is to give power to our lives. I've seen this over and over again as women empower themselves with the knowledge they need in order to have a better birth experience, breastfeed and bond well with baby. I’ve also heard of women going through menopause who do so with grace because of the knowledge that allowed them to move through it with patience and wisdom. I witnessed this with the natural leaving of the body my dad experienced with in home hospice care. My hope is to apply this same consciousness of humanity to the lives of my children as they approach, experience, and move into the other side of puberty.
How cruel it really is-if we are to take some time to stop and think-that we take everything about the process of puberty and turn it into a joke. I believe that many of us are still walking around with a cloud of shame that was placed on us during these sensitive, hormone infused years. Were it not for the negative stereotypes placed on teens as well as the over sexualization of our society I believe that both parents and teens would approach the experience very differently.
I am dedicated to approaching these pre-teen and teen years with the same level of consciousness, clarity and concern as I did when my children were moving through their newborn, toddler and little kid experiences. Because it is after all THEIR only opportunity to experience each one. When I focus too much on the fact that it’s MY only time to experience it with them I lose my ability to mother while modeling compassion. For me, that has meant that the same level of effort that goes into bonding with a newborn must be put into the gradual and intentional detachment from my older kids.
Just as I have slowly learned to more selflessly embrace the separateness that Nathan and I often experience as we get the work finished here on the farm I must also embrace-with respect-the distancing that occurs as my children are physically becoming adults. During the busiest seasons I've learned to savor the look, the kiss, the early morning or late night conversation so that I’m able to overcome the silence or distance in a way that serves Nathan. The same respect serves me well as I apply it to the savoring of a brief hug, a good laugh, and the fewer “I love you’s” that come from these growing kids of mine.
I'm still working through how this is practiced throughout my day. I can welcome the space that Carter needs with love. I can be there for long talks about feelings, emotions, and self-control when Elizabeth needs it. I can create even more space within my day so that when the moment comes up I'm ready. More than anything I'm learning that I can trust my instincts through this just as I can in any other part of my womanhood.
Each and every day these beautiful children are moving outside of my circle. My circle of physical care, personal attention, and influence. As this circle-my nest-becomes too small for them their very own circle begins to expand. When I allow that process to happen as naturally as possible they gain the courage to build something for themselves. In that space they begin to learn more about who they are and understand the world for themselves. They are creating their own private and sacred spaces that are expanding and growing wildly so that they can one day welcome someone else into it.
I can choose to have a healthy perspective on this new experience. With thankfulness I can acknowledge how blessed I am that my children are healthy and given the experience of tomorrow. I can accept that as they grow they are offering me new spaces that are just for myself. In doing so I believe that I am developing the maturity and wisdom that I'm hopeful my kids will welcome into their life as they become adults.