Monday, June 1, 2009

Tip of the Iceberg

Icebergs around Cape York,Greenland. The icebe...Image via Wikipedia

I look ahead this week to a major milestone. My youngest child, my son, will reach the age of majority on Thursday. June 4 is his 21st birthday. This gives me temporary pause.

My daughter turned 21 a few years ago, and that was big, too. I was officially old enough to have a 21-year-old. But my son, the baby of the family, 21?

We still make marks on the kitchen door frame to see who is taller. My son now looms over his older sister, and the door frame chronicles the progress of this achievement. Each acknowledgment of the passage of time brings its own poignancy. I remember when each of them got on the school bus for the first time, leaving me stifling sobs. The nostalgia for those days of naivete and innocence -- theirs and mine -- is sweet. However, the joy and the sheer dumb luck of having adult children whom I truly enjoy as human beings? As MasterCard says: "Priceless."

I'll be drinking a margarita in Texas while my son is having his first *legal* beer in Pennsylvania, a long-distance toast to his happy survival thus far. It's a thrill to think of a young man with the world and all its possibilities stretched out before him. I'll be emotional. Despite my ability to feel and experience these milestones with great intensity, that doesn't mean that I wish that time would freeze, or that things could be like they were. I enjoyed each of my children at each stage of their development. I was not the kind of mommy who "wished they could stay little forever," nor did I wish they would hurry and grow up. To have children and watch them grow is to be deeply engaged in the process of change.

I enjoy practicing the Feldenkrais Method because it allows me to assist clients as they go through changes. They adapt to the effects of aging, injury, accident, and desire as best they can, with the tools they have. Some feel that adaptation represents a defeat. "I just have to slow down now." "I have to pay attention more." "I can't do all the things I used to do." There are always icebergs beneath these tips.

The magic in the process of a Feldenkrais lesson is in helping each person to discover new possibilities for himself. Old ways of doing things -- even fondly remembered things from earlier in life -- can give way to the "new and improved." Many possibilities emerge for action, for thinking, for sensing, and for feeling. Life opens up in a new way.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Anonymous said...

Mary Beth, As a mother of a 21 year old child, you must sigh and feel a great deal of accomplishment. "He's made it to majority" He is now a citizen of the world and I know he will do well in this complex, exciting world milieu. Hooray for the son, but kudos to the mother. Barbara

MaryBeth Smith said...

Thanks, Barbara. A sense of accomplishment, I'm not sure. I've always said my children thrived in an environment of benign neglect. Survival is THEIR accomplishment, not mine. :-> I feel relief. haha
As the cocktail napkin says, "If the kids are alive at 5, I've done my job."
Great sentiment, worth a laugh. I'm glad my job description has changed & evolved along with my kids.