When I went from Woodstock Elementary school to Onteora, for seventh grade, I had a crew… We had been running together for a good year or two, and it felt pretty solid. We were all dabbling in new adventures, and trying on different “outfits” getting a feel of how we were going to present ourselves to this new big community, and even more… how we were going to assimilate INTO this new bigger community.
There were people from all walks of life there at Onteora. Not just the lot of us, the children of rich Hippies, and the children of poor Hippies, Not just the kids of the Artists, Writers and Actors and Rock Stars…. Suddenly, there were children of IBMers. There were the children of farmers and stock brokers. It was a rather wild mix of people.
We were a little intimidated to say the least. But I noticed, that most of us Woodstockers put on a tougher air than we actually were breathing. I watched friends, tender little nuggets, morph. Grins became smirks, paintbrushes became cigarettes, and joints. We all hardened.
We had to.
But by the end of High school, that crew was not the same crew. Some of us were still close, some drifted off, some came to add to the mix… Some had died. We were all “grown” and had become different people.
Some of us picked the brushes back up and began to paint new and delightful life paintings. Some of us never put them down.
Some of us grabbed another pack of cigarettes and a bottle of Jack and continued down that path.
Some going farther off the trail with harder drugs and commitment to the dark side.
Some turned the heads of those cigarettes on themselves and seared scars on their psyches for the rest of their lives. Choosing sad and lonely paths to walk.
Some… Just didn’t make it.
Many of us had no tools. Parents were absent, or lacking the care or skill it takes to guide a child. Some kids lacking the care or skills to take what their parents offered. Kids on their own to fend for themselves, some chose it. Some didn’t. The system of public school (our education in this country for the most part) disallows young people the support and guidance most needed in the time that they are flung out into the jungle to mash up with the outside world. At the most tender age, as kids are hitting puberty, they are set up to buck a system rather than embrace their coming of age. This is counter intuitive to my natural understanding.
It is natural for young people at the age of thirteen(ish) to begin to separate from their parents and create their own person. For themselves. And as they dabble in the dangers of the “real world,” pushing boundaries and feeling their limits, parents natural instinct is to want to protect them. Thus causing the young one to pull even farther away, and rely more and more on their own devices.
Which is natural and good.
Unless they have not been given (or attained) the skills to bring them to more good places. Suddenly rebellion abounds and it is twice as scary for the parent, and twice as dangerous for the young on their way to “adulthood.”
I dreamed, when I became a parent, that my son would reach this age and take the skills that I had fortified him with out into his world- separating gracefully from me in a healthy natural loving way, maintaining communication and responsible regard for his freedom. As I released with open arms, knowing wholeheartedly, that he would be more than okay as he plunges skillfully into the world with life-skill-tool-kit in hand. (Insert stringed instrumental, and flowing wheat stalks in the cool breeze. Think Laura Ingalls Wilder running down the hill, bonnet flies off, camera goes from forget me nots to puffy clouds to blue sky and fades)
Ahh… a mother can dream… And I am holding fast to that dream.
It could be the time in my life. It could be the time in my son’s life. Or… Like they say, “two sides to every story, and then there’s the truth…” It’s both.
I am feeling it lately.
As my son comes out of his thirteenth summer, and heads into his eighth grade year, I am watching myself grow~ back then. And I am accepting the places where I didn’t grow~ back then, and still have not come of age.
It’s not easy.
I want so much for my son to reap the benefits of the things that I had such a difficult time learning. In some ways he is and he can and he will, and for the most part, (the truth comes out again) I cannot create in his experience. And… It would be robbing him if I were to remove him from his lessons and pad the way. That’s like taking someone’s life away.
It’s difficult to watch my son and his crew… I can see all of us in all of them.
I know that if I cling to his feet and don’t let him run, he will never fly.
But I am so scared. What if he drops the paintbrush and doesn’t pick it back up? It is so hard to watch the kids of our community put the brushes down on purpose. What example does he have?
One of the most beautiful girls I know died this weekend. She was a child still. A child of our community, a product of our environment. She tried to pick the paintbrush back up. She tried. But I guess it was too heavy, she grabbed her demise instead. And I am so so so sad about it.
I know I could never create in anyone else’s experience. People take the paths they take and lead themselves where they may go. And as much as I know it is not true… I do feel like I could have done something to change that horrible sad fate.
A wise woman told me to take a walk.
I am going to go take a walk.
Chelsea had recently done some herbal studies up north. She came home excited and happy. She wanted to take a walk and show ME what she had learned in her studies. We never made the time, and she never got to show me.
Chelsea was a beautiful wise, very old soul. From what I could see, she wanted an out, she needed an out. There were times when I wondered how she had made it this far with the lengths that she would take to test her boundaries.
But then… She was that old soul holding kind of vessel.
And I kinda think she'll have an easy time finding a new body. It really shouldn’t be that difficult for her.
But who wants to resign to that?!? How dare she go so early? Why did she have to go now?
In my hour of need as a mom, and my overwhelming sadness over the loss of another beautiful soul, I cannot help but try to find some place that makes sense. A place that I can hold on to, and feel like maybe some good came.
Maybe there was a god damned point. Can I make sense of any of this?
Did she "choose" to take this out, now, at this time, to help more people who wouldn’t have such an easy time finding a new body? Is she saving lives with her example? Shoulda woulda coulda…
Can’t won’t don’t stop… crying today.
I must make the time to take that walk.