What happens next?

I want to tell you a story about a girl, a girl who does something wonderful. I don’t know exactly what she does yet, and besides thats not really the point, the point is that she does it.

She’s short of time and big of ideas, and she finds it easy to get… comfortable. She finds it easy to dig her toes in to where she is and think it’s perfectly ok. But inside she’s burning a bit too brightly for ok.

She doesn’t ask for much, but she should. She should demand it, because it’s all there for her and it suits her.

She has spent a lot of time accepting things that weren’t what she really wanted and talking about tomorrow…. but she’s beginning to realise that tomorrow feels an awful lot like today, and that she doesn’t want to wait anymore. She’s realizing that this is her time and she’s starting to look at things a little more closely.

She’s examining her dreams, the ones she’s carried around neatly for years and looking at them with grown up eyes. She’s deciding if they are what she really wants and if they’re going to feel as good lived as imagined. She’s asking herself what she *wants*, allowing herself to be selfish because she deserves to from time to time, and asking what she wants to give others too.

She realises when unpacking those dreams that her something wonderful can be all of them or none of them. Her something wonderful doesn’t have to be doing anything grand, it can simply be joy. Here, now.

She is done with brushing her shortcomings under the rug and even more done with feeling guilty about them. She knows that a sprinkling of flaws make a character more believable, and she is a very, very believable woman. But she’s taking one of those short comings from time to time and making a project out of it. She’s breaking habits that have been there for years because she CAN. She’s doing it because it’s hard, and because it feels so good to peel off a layer of herself that was just making her feel heavy.

She listens. To the people she cares about, to the things she may not want to hear, and to her own inner voice that had grown silent from not being really listened to. She trusts it. It’s smart. She’s smart, and she knows what to do to get there, or even just to really be here.

She is not going to glorify busy or slow anymore. She doesn’t have to follow the books or magazines. She has her own pace, her own rhythm and she’s going to embrace it.

She is going to fall in love again, every day. She’s going to fall in love with the things her husband (or friend or children) does that make her feel light. The things that make her laugh or that feel like home. She’s going to be driven mad, as always, by the difficult things they do too, and be grateful for that – because the opposite of love is indifference, and those things remind her she’s not indifferent at all. She’s going to say I love you even when she’s angry, and she’s going to reach out when she’s sad. She will let go of relationships that don’t serve her, maybe not today, but when she’s ready, because she can and the empowerment of that choice makes her feel light all over again.

For all the talk of examples for her kids she knows that the best one is being happy. It’s doing this very thing that she’s starting today; this something wonderful.

This is a story about a girl… what happens next?

 

believable woman Copyright 2015 Nirvana Dawson

 

What does your courage look like?

On any given day, across the country there are thousands of parks and playgrounds filled with children. And on any given day, in most of those parks, there is a familiar pattern. It doesn’t always look the same, in fact most people would miss it if they weren’t paying attention – but they should be.

In these playgrounds across the country there is a child or two, who is different. Maybe they’re rich, while the others are poor, or perhaps their clothes are old or out of fashion in a suburb accustomed to more. Maybe they have anxiety, or learning difficulties. Maybe they’re uncoordinated or speak with a lisp. Maybe they have Down Syndrome, Autism or Aspergers. Maybe they’re just bright, and more comfortable with books and computers than swing sets and slides.

While everyone else plays easily this child does something extraordinarily brave. They put whatever difference they feel is so obvious about them aside… and walk up to the others. They might say “Hi” or “How are you?” or “Would you like to play?” then they wait for a moment, on tenderhooks because this means a LOT to them… and more often than not, they are ignored.

It happened to me as a child all the time. It happened to my son today. He summoned everything he had to approach kids and it took ten children pretending he wasn’t even there before one even made them effort to smile and say hi back.

I’ve seen this happen time and time again and not just to my son either.

This week the media has been abuzz that our kids aren’t resilient enough anymore. That we need to toughen them up.

Bullshit.

What we need to do is raise them to be kind. We need to raise them to realize that everyone matters. We need to stop counting on the socialization of schools and parks to show our kids what it means to function in the community because it’s just not working. And we have the gall to say they should be more resilient?

Over protective school politics aside (some of the references in the media related to games/races etc) I think we focus too much on resilience and not enough on inclusion, acceptance and kindness. We expect from our kids things that we wouldn’t tolerate ourselves.

Honestly – if you walked in to a party and were completely ignored by ten people who you talked to how would you feel? At what point would that be ok for you? If you fell badly while walking and skinned your knee or hit your head would you always shrug it off? If you having lunch with a friend and you showed her your new phone or lipstick and she smashed it – would you be ok with that? Because we expect our kids not to care. We expect them to be hushed and pushed aside and sit still and do as they’re told and fit in and we don’t do it – if we do we shouldn’t. Life’s bigger than that. We’re far more interesting than arbitrary rules and social politics.

My son was fine today at the park. He told me that he found it upsetting but wasn’t overly bothered. He’s used to it, we talk about it. He’s not the one I’m worried about.

I’m actually just as bothered for those popular kids who pretended he wasn’t there. Because as they get older they’ll realize, like most of us do, that the kindest, most interesting, loyal and genuine people tend to be the unique ones. That quirks make friendships all the more delicious.

But it might take them a long time to get there. And that’s what we can change as parents. We can take our focus off resilience and put it on showing kids that they matter. That everyone matters. Even the people you don’t click with, or really want to play with. That everyone deserves good things – be it a smile or a greeting or a have a great day. Those things aren’t little, they’re huge.

We need to teach our kids that courage doesn’t look the same for everyone. For some people it’s jumping out of a plane and for others it’s walking into a crowded room. For some it’s talking in front of a thousand people and for others it’s stringing to words together when they seem to stick in your throat.

This doesn’t just apply to kids, this applies to everyone in our lives. Your brave isn’t necessarily the same as theirs. Appreciate their courage, their strength, because the enormity of their victories are no less because yours don’t look the same.

The more we teach our kids that everyone matters the more they realize that they matter too – and what a big role they have in changing someones day. Maybe they’ll do something huge with it one day… or maybe they’ll do something even bigger with it today – they’ll smile back at someone who needs it, and acknowledge the courage others missed.

That’s strength, right there, and that’s where true resilience comes from. Not from becoming hard, but from realizing what strength and courage really is.

 

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Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

Happy Birthday to Us

 “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

My Baby Boy,

This day, almost a year ago, I was awaiting the birth I didn’t want, for the child I desperately did. Like many things in life, it didn’t go quite to plan. Like many things in motherhood, it required more courage than I’d expected.

But we did it. And amidst the beautiful madness there you were – absolutely perfectly… sticky. And ours. You opened your sleepy eyes and looked at me, and you owned that room, baby boy. You owned us.

My hand shook as I shielded you from the harsh light. I’d wanted dim light and a blissful water birth, I’d wanted gentle and empowering. I’d wanted peaceful and natural and perfect. But you were so beautiful that I didn’t care about what wasn’t. I didn’t care about the people bustling around the theatre, or the tugging at my tummy.  

And that made it a different kind of perfect. A different kind of empowering.

You were born that day, but you weren’t the only one.

A mother was born, a mother that had never existed before. A mother of one had been in her place, but you birthed a mother of two.

This mother had only ever existed in the other mothers dreams, in her plans, in her hopes. Oh she had hoped. And there she was, bursting with newness and joy, seeing things differently, as you saw them for the first time.

A father was born, a stronger one than before. One who had tapped into all his strength to sit beside his wife and tell her everything was ok with a look. A father of two was born that day, and that courage made him bigger – big enough to love you both, to guide you both, to be a man that you would be so proud to call your Dad.

And at home with Grandma, waiting for a phonecall, was a small boy who had spent three and a half years as an only child. He loved the idea of you with all his little heart. You took the word ‘brother’ and made it mean something to him. He wore it so proudly for you. You didn’t wake when he came to visit you that first time, and I’m not surprised. Hearing his voice through sleep was probably a lot like hearing it through my belly, familiar as a hearbeat, comforting as the lullabies he sung my bump every single day.

A big brother was born that day, and you changed his world.

You see baby boy: when you were born, a family was born. It wasn’t just changed, it was absolutely turned on its head and recreated – because you deserved nothing less.

And when we gazed at you those first days and fell so deeply in love with you we fell in love with each other more too. Your stickiness stuck us together.

This past year has been a blur of tiredness, cuddles, laughter, tears and beautiful firsts. My heart has burst with joy for you every time I see your eyes light up at a new discovery. I have loved in ways I never knew as I watched my boys look at each other like they were looking at their own personal superheroes.

On Sunday I’m going to wish you happy birthday, baby boy. And I’m going to wish us a happy birthday too. Our family – one year old. That was the gift that you gave us that day for the first time, and that we are going to keep on giving eachother every day.

I hope you like your present little one. Your presence is ours.

Happy Birthday to us xx

 

Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2012