You Are Not Alone

Monday, April 25, 2011

Nature and Nurture

The day I found out that my Husband and I had conceived Colin, it was a drizzly day. I remember being outside, at work, have a break and standing under the eaves of a delivery stoop, contemplating the weather and how it fit my mood in a way I had never expected.

I had many peaceful moments with my unborn Child before was born, despite my uneasy feelings about him. As I filed at my job, I listened to music and would often sway my belly, rock my Son and sing, knowing he could hear me, feel the love I had for him, (albeit strange) and at times appreciated the fullness of how safe he was within me, of how he was Mine, while he was inside. Colin, however, did not stir much. He would move but, not so that me or my Husband could see, noticeably. I did prod him once, while he was in my womb, after having a lunch of a great proportion, (I was a rather ravenous pregnant lady) as I sat on the new couch my Husband and I had purchased for our new home. I lifted up my shirt and, with the new camera we had purchased; I taped Colin's movement from within my womb.

It is a rather miraculous moment in video history for me. I see it now and get excited. The baby that was moving within me is now outside and this amazing human being that I helped to create. It thrills me still that I have captured a moment when he was still INSIDE of me. I can't wait to share it with him one day.

We do not remember the dawn after Colin's birth but, we remember the early morning sun, filtering in through the drawn shade as we contemplated the little person that was now in our lives. He was too precious to place back into the cold bassinette that offered no security, no protection, warmth or, most importantly, love and devotion. C
olin continued to desire to sleep with us after we got home from the Hospital and so, twenty months later, Colin still sleeps in our bed. Colin has always developed on his own time, in his own way. As gentle as he was in his early days, he is also individual. He sat up on his own, in his own time. He crawled when he wanted to, even when we showed him how. He walked early but, not because Mark and I showed him how but, because he wanted to.

All throughout the brief but long time that Colin has been in our lives, we have carried him in slings, wraps and carriers. Colin has and still is breastfed completely. Colin has never taken fancy to a pacifier, (at first, I didn't want him to and then, I did and then, Colin was like, "Uh, NO") and he has never taken to a bottle. Colin has had his mum with him every day, all day. Colin has slept with me and me and his Dad. Colin has been left alone to explore a house that had been baby proofed and secured. Colin has stumbled but, if he didn't cry, we didn't make a fuss. Colin has been able to play with anything that we didn't put up. When Colin was in the Hospital for Salmonella, I and his Dad were there and, when his Dad went to work, I was there. Colin was never alone. Mark and I have left the world open for Colin to discover, age appropriately and, he has been an intrepid explorer.

Colin is almost fearless. Colin is curious. Colin is inquisitive and imaginative. Colin is joyful. Colin is full of tenderness. Colin is full of love and kindness. Colin is brash and bold. Colin is spontaneous. Colin is full of light and laughter.

Oft times, I am exasperated with him. I forget to remember how special he is. I forget that he has so many wonderful qualities and, instead, I sadly focus on how exasperated I feel because he is who he is. It is seemingly rare when we are both in an environment when we both appreciate his wonderful self but, when we are, I feel as if I’m supping from the most wondrous, richest feast of wonder and love.

The other day, Mark and I took Colin to the pool. Colin loves the water. Colin always has loved the water. Last year, I took Colin to the pool quite often and placed him in a float and let him enjoy waving around his chubby arms and legs in the water.

This year, I took Colin to the pool in the same float and, after about three minutes in the float, he was clamoring to get out of the float. I placed Colin on the steps leading into the pool and allowed him to play. He was full of the sweetest delight, splashing around on those steps.

After a while, Colin desired to explore a new section of the pool area and got out of the pool, walked around and almost just jumped into the deeper end. I clamored in the water, trying to run and swim to where he was so I could catch him.

At one point, I was tempted to let him plunge into the water, to let him understand the cause and effect of such an action but, I didn't want Colin to learn fear from the water, I want him to learn love and I want him to feel confidence. I would have been there to pick him up out of the water, seconds after he submerged but, still, I was afraid that HE would be afraid of the water after I allowed him to plunge.

A couple of days later, when My Husband and My Son returned to the pool, we took turn playing with our Son in the water. We would toss Our Son back and forth between us, water splashing skyward and dousing us with cool. My Husband, able to perhaps better sense our Son's sense of adventure, guided Our Son to do things in the water that I have been timid to do.

My Husband swam around with Our Son in the pool, allowing Colin to have the freedom and desire for adventure that Colin loves. Between the two of us, my Husband and I, we stood about two feet apart in the water and...We continued to practice letting Colin go on his own, letting Colin learn and grow. Letting Colin go is going to be a lifelong practice for Mark and I but, we're starting now.

Colin went under the water but, he did not sink like a stone. Colin's legs and arms were splayed out, his arms and legs were learning how to work in the water. Colin kept his eyes open and he could see our outstretched hands under the water, lightened by the sun, open and full of desire to touch him, hold him.

As we took turns grasping Colin's hands, we also took turns lifting him out of the water, into the air and sun, our faces split into smiles, our eyes shining with joy and pride and not only moist from the water, we celebrated Colin's accomplishment, telling him how Awesome he was for being so adventurous.

It was truly beautiful to be able to spend that hour in the pool with Colin. A lot of times, I become frustrated or exasperated with Colin's innate desire and quest for independence and discovery. I find myself running after him, asking him not to touch this or, that to not climb, warning him of DANGER, telling him, "NO!", telling him that what he is touching is NOT for him, is NOT OK or running after him so he stays within an area that is safe.

In all fairness, I’m usually pretty lax at home but, in places that have not been proofed for Colin, I get pretty anxious. I tend to gather with friends and want to carry on a conversation but, my adventurous, curious Son has other plans and I often have to run after him instead of running with him.

To have Colin in the pool, with his Daddy, swimming and being able to really push and test the boundaries of his limits was as sweet as the day that he was born. I was witnessing the true nature of my Son and I was able to not only enjoy who he is but, celebrate it with him and with My Husband.

As a family, we were working as intended. As a family, we were loving and enjoying each other. As a Parent, I was bathed in the joy and love that comes with watching your child be themselves, fearless, curious, and enraptured.

I look forward to more of those days and now, I know that if my Husband and I are to fully enjoy our Son and allow him to enjoy himself, to feel confidence and love, placing him in situations where he can hear positive statements and have the ability to fully explore are to Colin's benefit.

Knowing how to cope and conform to social standards, learning approval and disapproval come easier than approval and my Husband and I do what we can to teach Colin without stifling his innate sense of self but, we have much to learn and, you know what? It's OK. We're not sinking or drowning. We get a lot of anxiety from ourselves and from others but in all actuality; Our Son teaches us what he needs, if we will only listen. It has nothing to do with what we buy for him but everything to do with how we love him.

Colin, baby? I am going to take us on more adventures where you can be yourself and where we can enjoy being together, OK? I am sorry for taking us places that you did not want to go because, I did not plan well or, I did not trust anyone else to watch you while I had some time for myself. I am sorry for keeping you up when you wanted to sleep, I am sorry for asking you to wait to nurse. I am sorry for telling you, "No" and keeping you from exploring.

Colin? I am going to say, "Yes" a lot more. Colin? I am going to take you places to play where you can touch many things as much as you want. Colin? I am going to stick up for you and ask the adults in your life to help you by asking them to understand that you are adventurous and curious, not wild or crazy or dangerous. Colin? I am going to ask the adults in your life to make TEMPORARY adjustments when they spend time with you so that their homes remain intact and you both enjoy the time you spend together so that they won't feel tired or stressed and so that you don't feel like you're "bad" or "too much".


You have a lot of Spirit. You have a taste for life. You came wriggling out into the world, crying and ready to carve your own place into it, not to fit in.


You are insatiably curious, a risk taker, a scientist, explorer, a problem-solver.

Colin? There is NOTHING wrong with you. The adults in your life, the people who are responsible for you, the people who love you and your friends, just need to UNDERSTAND you and who you are.

Colin? In your Soup, you have a whole lot of really, truly remarkable characteristics and traits that absolutely blow me away because of how strong and present they are. There is SO much that you could do because of who you are.

Colin? I hope that me and your Dad can help your wings grow true and strong so that, one day, when you decided to fly from the nest, you will SOAR and, Colin? I and your Dad aren't the only ones that are going to help you. Your Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and friends, the family that you adopt into your heart, we're all going to help you soar one day. I and your Dad are trying to help now but, one day; it's going to be up to you, with the family members that you adopt into your heart. I only hope that I and your Dad will show you enough love, faith, respect, hope and laughter so that you can have the confidence, self respect and courtesy to choose the right to see and feel in life.

...and Colin? It's not easy for us or anyone but, we try.

I love you.

1 comment:

  1. I can relate to this on so many levels. Right on, my dear, on all counts. I love you and I love your family. I struggle with Jonas in these ways, too. It's hard to let them be free when you're afraid. It's easy to get frustrated when you want to do things on your time and with your agenda. I TOTALLY experience it. I TOTALLY understand.