Monday, July 6, 2009

Saying YES to Life

Say YES to life (and even though I am tempted to say the universe and everything---that's not what I mean.)
Saying "YES" more......
an unschooling concept deceptive in it's simplicity. It doesn't mean say YES to everything all the time. It also doesn't mean be irritated with your kids for asking permission because, after all, aren't they suppose to be free to make their own decisions. It doesn't mean you have to say yes and feel like a martyr.
Saying YES has become increasingly challenging for me. I don't have resistance saying yes to more cherries, another Popsicle, a trip to the park.
Can I use the camera?
Let's watch Mork and Mindy.
Can we go to the pool? Well....actually I did rail against this request early in the summer when the temperature had not yet reached the necessary 80's for me to enjoy being sopping wet. I did not want to go and the more I thought about it the more I was mad that I "had to go". Then as I was grumbling about not wanting to go, Xander and XuMei said, "you don't have to go Mom."
And all my pissed off resentment melted away and I felt free and light as I walked up to the counter and said "2 kids and one adult".
Saying yes----not HAVING to say yes-- wanting to say yes.
SO this brings me to the things Chris and I have been saying No to.
Can we get chickens?
Can we get a dog?
No and NO.
It's complicated. My Mom lives with us and is in the last stages of her life. Hospice helps tremendously. But the emotional work of helping a loved one die is ours. And really we are not helping her die-- I am standing on the side of the living helping her live as fully and richly as she is able. It is the greatest privilege second only to welcoming new life.
As I wrap my head around this process I hold my breath waiting, wondering when it will happen, when will she pass? Will I have any warning? Who will find her? Can I really go on living around her? How to squeeze every moment out of the time we have left without seeming to be saying "good bye" every time I leave her presence.
So I keep saying no to bringing more living creatures into our family because it just feels like more work.
More food, more clean up, more stress, more worry, more expense, more more more......
more laughter, more fun, more smiles, more learning, more love.
More life.
All this time I have been saying no to life.
No more life! Dammit! We are trying to die here! We are trying to not be stressed and not be messy and die.
I am not saying that we should bring into our family indiscriminately any scruffy mutt, or squawking meat ball with legs that happens our way----but I am making strides toward expanding our brood. I am reading books, web sites, asking people about their experience, and softening my heart to the idea of a dog.
I am a quintessential cat lady. So a dog is a big stretch for me. And ultimately, like a lot of things about parenting, a tremendously healing stretch for me. I used to be afraid of dogs. I have learned that my fear is not of the dogs but of the owners.
And I don't HAVE to get a dog. I am making a choice. I am choosing to say YES...
to life!

To us and our good fortune!
Be happy, be healthy, long life!
And if our good fortune never comes,
Here's to whatever comes,
Drink la kayim, to life!
~~~Fiddler On the Roof

or this one from Diana: