(Song Dedication: All You Need is Love by The Beatles)
Jack woke me in the early hours of dawn last week to tell me about a terrible dream he just had. Loosely recapped, it involved a group of angry teenagers who descended upon his Elementary school and began to harm all the little kids. Jack’s perception that he is no longer little but a big grade 3 influenced his role in this horrifying dreamscape. He proceeded to level up on a variety of tools to combat the blood thirsty teens, first he tried scissors, then stones, then knives all to no avail to save the tiny children he felt responsible to protect. Finally he grabbed a baseball bat, along with some of his trusted friends in a last ditch effort to meet violence with violence. Still they were losing the battle. Ghastly I know!
I was pretty troubled listening to this escalating tale that I felt was not remotely age-appropriate…thanks child subconscious. But I continued to listen in what I felt was presence and compassion.
He interjected with the Story of Stephen King’s IT. Um ya…That was me combined with a bit of culture shock the week before Halloween, when Pennywise was on the lips and minds of many of his peers, thanks YouTube. In an attempt to quell his not-so-irrational fears of seeing a little Pennywise video at a friend’s house, I wanted to explain to him how yes, this was evil incarnate as a menacing, child eating razor tooth clown, but that the end of the story was the most important bit. IT was defeated…sorry spoiler alert…oops that should have been written before the spoil…duh…by the children he was in fact trying to ingest and torment. Jack marvelled at how this could be. How could something so truly hideous and grim be ended by children? My simple answer, With Love. It was the one power IT did not possess, comprehend and therefore was at the children’s mercy as they banished this being of darkness with their light. Epic. I actually love this story, but didn’t actually read the novel until I was 16.
So as Jack brought his nightmare retelling to an end, this too was the important bit, so after all the weapons and fighting guess how we beat the bad guys Mom? With Love! Just like the kids did with Pennywise. He fell back on the bed in the darkness with an audible exhale, reminding me of Bastian falling back on a dusty gym mat in the school attic with the Neverending Story in his lap, after a close call for Atreyu. And then my seven-year-old began to sing, “All you need is love, ba ba ba ba bahhhh, all you need is love…” his current favourite Beatles tune.
It was 6:30 am and I coaxed him into my arms and held him close, marvelling at his ability to process and synthesize, at which point my own brain began its own mechanism of weaving.
You see this dream was the morning after my last post, You Don’t Know Me. You may remember my venting toward a total stranger who I felt accosted me, in a public place, with her insinuation that I was ignoring my son.
That post served a valuable purpose in the moment. It allowed me to dump a lot of toxic energy that I may have otherwise transferred to my family in the moment. Andso many of you responded with compassion for what transpired. You praised me. You related. You connected. And it lifted me.
And yet, that night when social media was in airplane mode without the continuous stream of accolades and I hear you sister’s and when my head hit the pillow, the anxiety returned to sit on my chest, kneading its clawed paws heavily against my skin. How could this be?
My story resonated for many of you, especially the Moms’ who have had similar interactions. And that needs our attention. Today’s post is not meant to retract our collective energy of support and lifting up.
But so too does attention demand the compassionate grace for the woman, a complete stranger, who spoke out publicly. I also don’t know her. I don’t know her story. I don’t know her context in the story she was reacting to in her reality, although only ten feet away from me, a virtually different space and lifeline that just happened to intersect momentarily with mine. And she was right in one sense, I was ignoring my son for a moment. She just didn’t know that I had asked him if it was okay for me to respond to a time-constraining email or that I am not only a flawed human (like her and like you) but that my imperfections as a Mother will perhaps serve my son in some way. Not perhaps, I am certain that my excellent parenting choices are equanimous with the not so excellent choices I make on the daily.
So in the spirit of love, light and grace today I ask you to consider what if. What if, instead of a collective shaming of this woman or other flawed humans who will most certainly pass judgement upon the “others” who are not resonant with them, who speak unnecessarily and hurt fully, we meet this with love. Being loving doesn’t mean we have to believe what she said about Mom’s like us, it just means we can be with it. Observe it. Get curious about it. And then we can fully put it down in all its weighty disgust and divisiveness.
Let’s not kill her with kindness, but let’s cancel out the negativity with love. I think if we can shift and find our way in doing so in our daily interactions, we will see a better world and existence for all; for our future generations.
This series of events is something I will hold dear as a life lesson. It asked me to reflect on my judgement of others. As a teacher, a mother, a human with childhood trauma. We all judge others and ourselves from time to time. I too have narrowed my minds eye at how someone is handling a situation with another person, including their own children with self-righteous judgement. I recognize this tendency in me as divisive energy that does not serve a greater good. It is not helpful, only hurtful.
I’ve been diving back into Eckhart Tolle’s work and he recently reminded me “it’s not as important in the what happens to you, but rather your response to what happens.” So…
Instead of I am hurt, I am whole.
Instead of I am violated, I am aware.
Instead of I am angry, I am love.