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A Meaningful Narrative – The Challenges and Pleasures of Secular Parenting

3 Apr

My son is nearing four now, what an incredible age! When allowed to freely explore, ask questions, and wonder about life – this is an age of outstanding discoveries, of vital first impressions of the world, of discovering who is trustworthy, what is permitted, where one can go and where doors are shut.

I have two strong guidelines in my parenting, that have been guiding me from the day I brought my Boy back home from the hospital. Be authentic. Tell the truth. There is a lot more of course. I try to listen to him, I mean really listen, as much as I can. I try to set boundaries where they are necessary, I try to support his urges to be independent and guide him and be supportive, and not lose my patience and maintain composure, even if he throws a fit because his sunny-side-up is leaking and now he won’t eat it.

But I honestly believe, if I’m authentic, if Mom-Me, is not an entirely different person from Professional-Me, and Intellectual-Me, and Friend-Me, and Lover-Me, then I’m doing something right. So I tell my son about my day when I come back from school. He listens, and then he tells me about his day at preschool. I joke around with him, because I can be silly like that sometimes. I say I’m sorry when I make a mistake. And I tell him the truth, or a version of the truth that he can take in, when he asks me the big questions, when he wants to know how life begins and what happens when it ends.

Yes, he’s not even four yet. But my son has already asked if everyone dies, and if I’ll die one day. I couldn’t tell him some ridiculous story. A part of me wanted to go with the heaven-story. It’s a good one, really. It comforted me when I was younger. But I didn’t. I said we live forever in the hearts of those who love us. It’s a good narrative. It’s as close as I could get to where I really am vs the death thing. He accepted my narrative the way only four-year-olds can, absorbing it, inscribing it into his own narrative, into the truths that he will now grow up with.

Now he knows, because he asked and I answered, that the male and female bodies fit together perfectly, like two pieces of a puzzle, that the sperm and the egg yearn to unite and form a baby. That they have to wait for love, because only when a man and a woman love one another, can they unite to form life. He knows that I think it’s a miracle. And so he finds if miraculous as well. And it is, isn’t it? He is too young to feel confused about it. Too young to be weirded out. The narrative I chose to deliver has now become one more truth that he will measure future stories about sex, love and child bearing against.

“How does the baby come out?” He asked.

“A woman body is amazing,” I said with wonder. “It widens for the baby to come out from between her legs. They in narrows again.”

“Really? It can do that?”

“Yes,” I answered. “Isn’t it amazing?”

 

 

 

Ode to Online Dating

2 Nov

I met him online, we chatted for a while

He likes awesome music and knows how to make me smile

Spent hours on the phone with him, like I was 16

Sent him links to songs I like, stared hours at the screen

We spent an awesome evening, playing music at the park

My heart skipped a beat when he kissed me in the dark

I know I barely know him, I should probably take it slow

Instead I just forget myself and go with the flow

My phone hums, my heart skips a beat

It might be the man I’m waiting to meet

He’ll send me a short silly nonchalant text

I’ll read between the lines, and figure out the rest

My phone hums, he wants us to meet

Tonight at the park, my heart skips a beat

I’ll talk about all kinds of things he doesn’t understand,

He’ll play me that song I like, he’ll take me by the hand

I spent the night at his place, I wore that skimpy dress

My face and hair were perfect but my heart was a mess

I know I barely know him, I should probably take it slow

Instead I just forget myself and go with the flow

My phone hums, my heart skips a beat

It might be the man I’m waiting to meet

He’ll send me a short silly nonchalant text

I’ll read between emoticons, and figure out the rest

My phone hums, I check it right away

Been hours since he wrote me last, I’m going insane

I’ll read between the lines, I’ll see what isn’t there

I’ll answer with a winky face, not showing that I care