Don’t Wait for an Invitation

Milham Park

“I am here for you.”

We mean well when we say the words. We look at stories in the news, like Kelli Stapleton, and we say there should be awareness. We agree there needs to be hope for the hopeless. We beg each other to confess our needs and our desperation. To confess our weakness.

To simply ask for help.

I’ve been thinking about Kelli Stapleton because her name is frequently featured in my news feed.  I try to imagine feeling as if I cannot live with my own child. A child who I love more than myself. A child who needs me. A child who no one else will ever care for the way I do. A child who makes me feel as if I am in a prison, and I cannot ignore the knowledge that I am already serving a life sentence. I imagine what kind of guilt and hopelessness comes with that feeling. I can only imagine, because thankfully that is not my reality.

But if it were. What is someone else going to do for me? Surely I have calculated and weighed the possibilities a thousand times, searching for the easiest path forward. Maybe my perseverance has become my identity, and that identity may be all that is keeping me moving forward at all. If I can paint a picture to the world of keeping my head above water against the odds, maybe I won’t drown. I can imagine that. Continue reading

Reading While Invisible

Teghan2

People are always telling me how wonderful it is that Teghan loves books. It’s a thing we say to parents, the same way we congratulate each other on our children’s height or ability to hold a pencil correctly. Apparently it all leads to great things. I never did learn to hold my pencil the right way, but I always loved books; and I suppose I was an example of how reading to your child will turn your children into readers who will do better academically.

It’s such an easy part of parenting. We want to feel as if we are giving our children our time and attention. We wonder if we are screwing them up. Reading books to them seems like the right thing to do, and there is no wrong way to do it. Every new parent has at least one important skill mastered right from the start.

Teghan does love books, but she looks at books in a very different way. She doesn’t understand dialog or story plots. She prefers her books in small sets of three. At first she wants to tap the front and back of each book. Then she taps on the pages. Then she bites them, and carefully chooses which pages need to be torn out. Eventually each book will be reduced to scraps of paper. If we attempt to touch one of her current favorites, they will all be thrown and a tantrum will begin. She has a very specific ritual that only she can participate in. Continue reading