I feel heavy right now, weighted with angst and disquietude. It didn't help that I awoke this morning in the midst of a nightmare that felt anything but; its realistic nature has left me skittish all day. I tried to exercise and cook away this prickly feeling, but have had little luck and find myself looking forward to tonight's slumber simply for its escapist possibility. One of my children has been terribly vexing since I returned from Italy, his behavior a peculiar blend of familiar impishness and atypical aggression that has us all on edge. I have spent so much energy attempting to understand, manage, counsel and repair that there's been no space to simply enjoy him. I've not met with any success in better understanding and feel only slight more adept at managing his outbursts. I wonder if my methods of handling things are right. I wonder what's at the root of all this. If it's "normal" or not. If it will pass quickly, or if I need to gird myself for a long stint of rough waters.
New negative behaviors tend to fluster me. Parenting is so hard anyway, a demanding job in the calmest of times. When stuff arises and I can tell it's fire ants versus lady bugs, my heart sinks a bit because dealing with it is going to take extra. When extra becomes the status quo, it's exhausting. I don't feel like my little family sails in glassy pools too often. No, we seem to push or be drawn towards the rougher swells, and frankly, I'm really over the watery roller coaster right now. I'm motion sick and in need of stasis. I simply want to enjoy my kids, enjoy the Christmas season and not feel like most of each day takes quite so much effort.
After delivering the party food tonight, I went to school for a community meeting about what's been going on in Ferguson and New York. Because the boys attend a Quaker school, this was a quiet meeting with no moderator; if individuals feel called to speak, they're welcome to; otherwise, silent reflection is the agenda. Tonight's was the most active meeting I've ever attended. It was profound and moving and thought-provoking. My heart was in my throat not five minutes in, beating assertively as if ingesting and then trying to process the pain and fear and frustration and hope reverberating throughout the room.
I wanted to say how heavy my heart has been since the Garner decision came down, how despondent I felt in hearing some of my co-parents' stories and concerns this evening, how grateful I felt to be sharing space with so many incredibly people, how responsible I feel for raising my boys so that, in their own little ways, they can try to make a positive difference in the world. I again tasted the bitter pill that is racial privilege, learning anew some of the things that I haven't much thought about because I haven't had to. I can't imagine worrying about my son's safety every time he left the house simply because of his skin color. What a grotesque, unjust burden. And how unfair that I (and my family) am exempt from that because my skin is white.
The comments shared tonight put many things in perspective, and I am thankful for that. But I still feel awfully churned up. When will my quartet find a better-paved groove in which we can coast, if only for a bit? When will our country finally reckon with truths too many wish to keep packed away, a behavior which benefits only a few at the dramatic expense of many? There are growing pains and there are pains that come from being bound and stunted. Both are difficult to endure, but only one offers hope and a positive outcome afterward.