This morning I woke up in pain. I must have tweaked something at yoga yesterday. My back ribs and neck are spasming and it hurts to move- and to breathe.
Knowing I have no choice but to get moving and get the kids ready for school, I pop a few advil, make the bed, and do last nights dishes.
Slowly I wake the kids up, one by one- I pull Mia out of bed and turn the shower on for her. I call the dog onto Faith's bed to get her moving. Ryan stumbles out of his room to give me a hug.
So far so good.
Don't get too comfortable... it goes downhill from there. A few minutes later I go to make sure everyone is moving along when I see Ry has climbed back in bed.
For 45 minutes I kindly ask him to make good choices... remind him of all of the great things ahead for the day.. show and tell.. hot lunch Friday.. friends..
I give him space and time- hoping he'll wake up and come around. It must be difficult to wake up so early. It is the fifth day of school. The novelty is beginning to wear off.
It is 7:00. Girls are showered, dressed, ready. Eating their third piece of toast as I read spelling words for them to each write.
Ry has to get moving. I head back into his room. Still in bed, he decides to get belligerent. He doesn't like me. Doesn't like school. Doesn't like his sisters. Pretty sure he'd have said he didn't like candy, or ponies, or Disneyland at that moment.
After more unsuccessful cajoling I am ready to loose it. My body hurts. I'm tired too. I've got two other kids I'm trying to practice spelling words with- and here we are. Having a fit over nothing.
So (perhaps out of a subconscious belief in solidarity in suffering?) I decide to help Ryan feel supported by having a fit myself.
The feeling in my gut that bubbles up is a feeling I'm familiar with after nearly ten years of parenting. It's that feeling that makes me question everything I am- everything I believe it.
It is pure anger and frustration and helplessness... and 'longed for' violence (the kind where I wish I could physically force my child to do what I say).
Now, I'm a non-violent person. We choose not to spank or hit our children. I am philosophically opposed to using violence as a means to prevent violence. My heart aches in watching war and acts of aggression around the world.
And here I am- sitting on the floor in my pajamas, surrounded by books, puzzles, cars, giant stuffed puppies-- reaching in to all I am to resist my own violence.
In pain, I physically lift Ryan out of bed, stand him up, put his clothes on him, put his shoes on him- ask him again to make good choices- reach deep into my self, take a deep breath and walk out the door. (You may have imagined that as a gentle process- but read again imagining tension, frustration and anger in every single gesture).
The story goes on... we battle over breakfast... we battle over getting his things... and we get in the car. All four of us- loaded in our cozy Honda Odyssey.. Ready for the day.
And then it happens. NPR is reporting a story about the famine in Somalia. The kids are listening intently.
Have you been following this catastrophe? A shocking drought and famine has overtaken the region. More than 30o,000 children are at risk of dying. Already tens of thousands of people have died. Nearly 140,000 children are currently are facing immanent death from "severe acute malnutrition".
Tens of thousands of children are dying from hunger. A feeling I can't even genuinely imagine.
A story is told of a father holding his child as the child's eyes go blank. No food for her belly. No nutrients to sustain her.
He has seven more children standing by his side who are sick and suffering.
And here I am. Driving my honda. Drinking my coffee. Angry, frustrated and getting through the day.
The girls want to talk about it. We talk about drought (something we can partially see around us- despite many of the beautifully green lawns we drive by). We talk about hunger. We talk about the imbalance of resources around the world.
Honestly, I'm feeling a little guilty for the way our morning has gone. For my anger and frustration over such minutia when people around the world are dying.
Just then the man in the report speaks one of those gems that reflect light on all that is and all that will be.
"I am doing what I can- in the situation I am in- with the resources that I have."
Aren't we all.
Or are we?
Are we doing enough?
How do we maintain a connection to the pain and suffering in the world when the pain and suffering in our own lives seems to overtake any ability to see past our own nose (small as that pain may be comparatively..)?
These are just some of the thoughts I will sit with today. As I sip my coffee. Read my text books. Perhaps get a massage to soothe the muscle spasms...
This is messy.