Recently, I have felt like a beanbag for my children. The shape I am in doesn’t matter; what matters is that I can make them comfortable and provide support, regardless of how angular their elbows or how heavily they are feeling the weight of the world. You don’t think about beanbags. You just need them to be there so you can throw yourself on them.
As well as being a constant assault on the senses, I have always thought that children live by the law “I am awake, therefore I make mess, need feeding and create laundry”. Which is why, whilst Inuit famously have 19 words for snow, mothers should have at least 19 different words for exhaustion. But, whilst it’s immensely frustrating, having your incessant, daily provision for their needs so utterly taken for granted is in some ways a privilege.
They can’t live their lives on the beanbag – growing older needs to bring with it a greater recognition of the mechanics of life. And you can’t let them take you for granted forever.
I started to try and express this in a poem. Then I realised that mothers weren’t the first to feel this way…
Your children do not see you are the ground beneath their feet.
Their window on the world, they look through you to those they meet.
They notice your provision only when it might fall short,
And thrash out all their feelings without giving yours a thought.
But underneath their feet is where you catch them when they fall,
They see life with their minds framed by your worldview on it all.
They carry something with them of your forethought every hour,
And your secure embrace is what they need to grow and flower.
‘My Child, let my Divine love be the rock on which you stand,
Your needs are met through all that was created by My hand.
There’s nothing you can say or do to lessen My embrace.
The love you bear your children is an echo of My grace.
So be their rock and comfort, be their guide and compass too,
And lead them daily in My love, and you will point them true.’
3 thoughts on “Beanbag Parenting”
You remind me of a tremendous realisation I had when reading Tolkien as a graduate student, and feeing just a little hard-done-by that my own life seemed to present no possibility for heroic action. (Yes, this was a very mature reaction, I know…). But then I reread this, and remembered that I was, after all, in the midst of an epic: https://celt.ucc.ie/published/E950004-018/text001.html
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Hi, thank you for your feedback. I am not an expert in anything. I write based on my experience and what I read but I dont claim any specialist expertise. I dont know how the RSS feeds work on wordpress but if you are a member you can follow or add your email address in the blog home page and you will get the posts to your account. I try to post twice a month. Best wishes Catherine