Storms

By Beck

It has been unseasonably warm here for the past several days, a condition – the weather guy assures us – that will pass by the weekend. Meanwhile, my kids have been delighted to head off to school in shirts and fall jackets, freed, if only for a moment, from the heavy tyranny of winter coats and thick sweaters, hands muffled under mittens, the curve of their head (that part of them that should be so generic and yet that I could recognize a million miles away) swathed in toques. It is unexpectedly kind weather, and The Baby and I spent several leisurely hours playing outside today, sitting in the framework of her playhouse with a little friend and her mother, the pine boughs overhead making everything smell improbably of Christmas.

I want the world to always be kind to my children, want cruel fate to pass over them, to see the fragile curve of their heads and know that they are loved. When I want to torture myself a bit, I let myself know that every mother – every mother worth the title, at least – feels this way, looks at her child and feels the same mingled hope and fear, the same protective curving-in.

One of my kids has been having a hard time recently. It hurts my heart to think about, to think about my child walking around carrying this secret pain, and my instinct is to turn away from it, to pretend it isn’t there. Nothing gets fixed when we just pretend things are okay, so tomorrow will be filled with meetings with the principal, meetings with teachers, doctors appointments, and lots of cuddles on the couch as we try and get things okay again for our child, who has been struggling alone in a storm.

When I was a child, I would wake up sometimes to a half-frozen calf stumbling around in the kitchen, this knobbly-kneed baby thing that could not stand the winter cold. Sometimes my parents would be warming it with the hair dryer – a few times, I woke up to my parents giving some poor chilled calf a hot bath in the tub, this incongruous thing and yet still so recognizably a baby, something that needed protection and shelter. But once the calf warmed back up, it would have to go back to the barnyard to live or die, no matter how tender we felt about the soft-eyed baby things, their clumsy feet that were not meant for our floors.

Poor baby things, these little beings we send out into the world so tender and so unprepared and the wind is so cold.

Beck writes at Frog And Toad Are Still Friends.

43 Responses to Storms
  1. Courtney
    November 6, 2008 | 8:11 am

    I could not agree more. The weather had been great and the kids have loved it. It is hard to send them off into a world that is ever so changing. WOuldnt it be great if we could hold them under our wings forever!

  2. Tina
    November 6, 2008 | 8:28 am

    Oh that was just lovely Beck. You have so eloquently captured what every mother feels.

  3. Tonggu Momma
    November 6, 2008 | 9:21 am

    Beautifully written, Beck. You described it perfectly, although my experience was with goats, not cows.

  4. Mom24
    November 6, 2008 | 9:46 am

    I think she’s very lucky to have parents who will not take the easy path and turn away and ignore it, but will walk with her and fight for her and get help for her. I wish you all luck, and healing.

  5. Mom24
    November 6, 2008 | 9:47 am

    Ooops! Sorry. He. I wish him healing and peace and comfort.

  6. de
    November 6, 2008 | 9:50 am

    Yes, the torture is in knowing that we can’t all have our dreams come true.

    hoping you get some answers…

  7. Nowheymama
    November 6, 2008 | 10:06 am

    Why must you make me cry every week?

    Beautiful.

  8. LoriD
    November 6, 2008 | 10:20 am

    Keep well, Beck. This post really touched me. I hope you can get things sorted out for your son.

  9. Peanut Butter and Jelly Boats
    November 6, 2008 | 10:37 am

    I’ve been thinking about this so much with our recent decision to home-school.

  10. PastormacsAnn
    November 6, 2008 | 10:56 am

    Oh you’ve started my day by breaking my heart. I’m so sorry that things are tough for The Boy.

    Beautifully written Beck. Praying for you and The Boy.

  11. slouching mom
    November 6, 2008 | 11:24 am

    i know this terrain well.

    but wish i didn’t.

    and wish your Boy wouldn’t have had to discover it.

  12. Kristi Miller
    November 6, 2008 | 11:29 am

    It’s not fair that life has to be hard for children. It seems that your childhood should be the one time in life that is carefree. Your post brings back memories of painful times in my childhood and worries I have for my own children. Oh how I wish I could protect them from the world instead of send them out into it.

  13. Mary-LUE
    November 6, 2008 | 11:46 am

    Oh gosh. I have a reputation for being this sensible mother. I’m the one my friends come to when they need to sort this kind of thing out. The thing is, my secret self, when my children are vulnerable, oh, how horrible and hard it is. It makes me feel as vulnerable as they are.

    I hope you guys are able to get some insight into the problem. I’ll be thinking about you all.

  14. crazymumma
    November 6, 2008 | 11:51 am

    We are in a similar place today dear Beck.

    May it go well for your boy.

  15. Aliki
    November 6, 2008 | 12:02 pm

    Now you’ve made me cry, too. My boy is having a rough time, too, and I was just sitting down to try and write a post about it today.

    Hugs to your boy…beautiful post.

  16. Susanne
    November 6, 2008 | 12:16 pm

    Oh my heart breaks for your boy. Praying things get sorted out for him, Beck. He is blessed to have such a loving Mom who is there for him.

  17. Kat
    November 6, 2008 | 12:18 pm

    Yes. The wind is so cold, but your love is so warm. As long as your children know they have your love they really will be okay.

  18. chelle
    November 6, 2008 | 12:49 pm

    awwwwww BIG HUGS. I so think it is wicked that you are not ignoring his pain.

  19. Sue
    November 6, 2008 | 1:03 pm

    This is so sweet and touching. Sometimes I really hate having to send them out into the world, knowing that they might get hurt.

  20. Jennifer
    November 6, 2008 | 1:07 pm

    It hurts, being a parent. I wonder if it ever stops…

  21. Subspace.Beacon
    November 6, 2008 | 1:08 pm

    Eep. I was watching my son at skating practice yesterday. The smallest, the slowest, the hardest worker, and he was so aware of his ‘otherness’ as he failed to engage the other kids in conversation.

  22. Woman in a window
    November 6, 2008 | 1:20 pm

    Is it only me breathing up the wet fur of the calf. So freaken wonderful, that image.

    As to the boy, I hope.

  23. tracey
    November 6, 2008 | 1:51 pm

    Dear Beck… I hope his hurt can be healed with a little love and time, whatever it may be.

    Love to you…

  24. flipflopmamma
    November 6, 2008 | 1:58 pm

    Ugh, your poor boy 🙁 When SlowMo’s friends were being mean to her, I wanted to march to their houses and tell them how snotty they are! Very pastor’s-wifey of me, I know 🙂 It’s so hard to protect them…

  25. Nadia
    November 6, 2008 | 2:52 pm

    Beautiful post Beck. I hope things get better soon for the boy. Hugs to you all.

  26. Becky
    November 6, 2008 | 3:31 pm

    I spent the morning with my MOPS group, a table full of young mamas of preschoolers who gather to support and commiserate with all the struggles of this season of life. I am their mentor.

    It breaks my heart to hear their struggles, many just like the Boy’s today. I am so sorry. I’m saying a prayer RIGHT NOW!

  27. Alison
    November 6, 2008 | 3:56 pm

    Dear Beck, please give a tissue warning before posting something like this. The baby calf–and the little kids going out in the cold cold world–sob…

  28. Becky
    November 6, 2008 | 6:25 pm

    You always have the perfect words. *sniff* I guess sending them out into the cold world is inevitable, but we can send them with a coat, hat, and the knowledge to build a fire. 😉

  29. Heidi
    November 6, 2008 | 7:22 pm

    You’re right about pretending. It doesn’t help in situations like this. Wishing everyone the best!

  30. Omaha Mama
    November 6, 2008 | 7:36 pm

    I hope it all works out. I’ll be wishing only the best for your family. I’m sorry that your in a rough patch.

  31. No Mother Earth
    November 6, 2008 | 11:43 pm

    Geez man, give us a warning, will ya? Hope it all turns out okay for the Boy.

  32. heidi
    November 6, 2008 | 11:43 pm

    I went through this with both of my sons twenty some years ago. It is heartwrenching and it takes a sturdy spirit to go back day after day to deal with the same problems and failure.HOWEVER- ther is bright light at the end of this tunnel! My sons have multiple degrees from universities- they are compassionate and articulate- and they are overcomers ! Twenty-some years ago I was hurting for the and feeling like a failure. Now I am so proud of my sons- because they worked their way through and learned to compensate and then they LEARNED. It is hard – but children who have to work a little bit harder become the Greatest Adults!

  33. Painted Maypole
    November 7, 2008 | 1:36 am

    oh, my heart hearts wondering what is up with the boy… prayers for you all…

  34. Painted Maypole
    November 7, 2008 | 1:38 am

    er… that would be “heart HURTS”

  35. Angeline
    November 7, 2008 | 5:52 am

    hey Beck, I didn’t quite get what exactly was wrong with boy, but it sound really serious… that feeling of fear for our child… I was there, I think all mommies were there (at least once), its awful!

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