Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chemistry & Connection

I have never been a great student of actual science.  With the exception of one teacher in high school, who did things like bring in video clips of David Letterman in an alka-seltzer suit to explain the chemical reactions, or gave us mystery compounds to mix & heat up on our pint-size Bunsen burners that ended up being cake (thank you Ms. Stephens, that is my kind of learning!), for the most part I have never really "gotten" physical science.  But, oh, the not-so-scientific world of human chemistry... of connection... now that, I get.

In my dating years I knew it well... that feeling of instant connection, of familiarity.  How conversation would just flow & there was that unexplainable spark of recognition.  You couldn't force it, or expect it... it had to take you by surprise.  The rules of chemistry apply to new friends or colleagues as well... those times where you fall into an easy groove right off the bat.  Even over this crazy world wide web there are some people I just seem to click with... without ever meeting face to face you just "get" each other.  How does that work?  When you don't have the physical, animal, clues to rely on?  This one I can't explain, but I know it to be true.

And as I write this I realize that, for me, it works the same with places & objects too... walking into an apartment or house & just "knowing" that it is right.  Or how in our line of work there are occasionally pieces that speak to us... objects we know are meant to pass though our hands.  (I often joke that the reason I am an antiques dealer is that I am really just trying to get all my stuff back from past lives.)  So many areas of my life are guided by gut reactions, by intuition.

On the flip side of course are the times when you might really like  someone, but just don't seem to ever mesh.  Where no matter how much you try, you just can't seem to get in-sync, like bicycle gears that keep slipping out of whack, preventing forward movement. 

I used to feel this way about motherhood as well.  The "loving-my-kids" part was easy... for me the struggle was learning to adjust to a new identity, a new community.  Somewhere between the contractions starting & walking out of the hospital with a new human, my internal intuitive compass abandoned me.  I thought that somehow everyone else just "got" motherhood instantly, but I was an outsider, like a bleary-eyed-milk-producing Margaret Mead thrust into a new culture.  Finding myself in a place where I felt like I was always two steps behind in a dance that everyone else seemed to know by heart.

The truth is, of course, that everyone feels like that at some point... when you start a new job, move to a new place or have any kind of life change... you feel lost until you find your tribe, your peeps, your place in a larger whole.  Feeling that connection to something outside your own self is what makes being alive exciting.  Whether it is friends & family, the earth, god, community, or heck, in a pinch, even facebook... it is that need for connection that drives us, the sense of belonging that fulfills us.

In the interest of connections to a larger community, one of the groups we belong to with Quinn is called Buddy Play.   Their goal is, "to promote natural interaction and learning between kids with special needs and their typical peers."  They host different activities & playgroups twice a month and we try to make it whenever we can.  Recently Quinn & I visited a small neighborhood farm and made some new friends.

Percy the pig...
And a funny little goat that LOVED having her picture taken.
Quinn and his favorite boots.  Previously known as fireman boots, they are now called his "farm boots"

He passed right by the chickens, turkeys & ducks... familiar fare from Camp Grandma... and made a beeline for the larger animals.


Feeding the sheep & goats was a highlight... he was a bit scared at first, but soon got the hang of it.
Norman the cow, king of his domain.

Another favorite for Quinn was the wheel-barrow.  Forget expensive toys, this kid loves gardening tools.

When it was time to go, little mister got some big attitude...something we are seeing more these days.

As a mother I still have absolutely no idea what I am doing most of the time, but time & practice sure do help.  If there were a merit badge for motherhood I think it comes after years of late night wakings, wiping noses, eyes, bottoms, being barfed on, or reading Goodnight Moon for the 5,049th time, plus a million other things I haven't even gotten to yet.  These days when I bump up against unfamiliar ground, I turn to other moms, the internet & my own, newly-rediscovered instincts to figure out what to do (or not do).  At this rate I should be a practically perfect mother by the time my boys reach adulthood & no longer need me in the same ways.  Living & learning...

1 comment:

Barb said...

No,you never do feel like you become a perfect parent...there are always regrets looking back.But eventually you get far enough down the road that you can look at your grown children and see that they have become good, decent people in the world. Then you know you must have done a few things right along the way! :)