Wednesday, May 26, 2010

the art of building up walls

a couple of weeks ago, caleb had one mission:

to build himself a sanctuary.

{p.s. his hair is looking rough with a capital R. that kid has more cowlicks than i can count and i gave up trying to fight them on this particular day.}

all day long he'd been running from leah's grasp. she has a tendency to pinch and scratch and yell, "NO!" even when nothing is going on. i think it's her way of dealing with being the shortest one in the room {little darlin' i feel your pain} and exhibiting some sort of control over her environment.

so with the help of a mother who was worn-out and tired of all of the yelling between the two children, a fort was built.

i think it was a necessary thing to do for all parties involved.

{out of all the forts i have constructed, i think this is my best one yet!}

for a few minutes, caleb retreated.

he crawled in and just sat. quietly. i imagine that he took several deep breaths enjoying his solitude as i took several deep breaths enjoying the silence.

while we were breathing, leah peeked in. {fort purposely built on top of the couch--another brilliant idea if i do say so myself--so that she was not tall enough to destroy it...which has happened in the past.}

she waited.

and waited.

and waited.

and occupied herself doing handstands and making herself dizzy.

while i laughed and took pictures.

caleb heard us laughing and peeked out, far enough away that he was out of reach of her pinchers.

leah squealed in delight, and it became a game.

he would peek out of the middle of the fort and call for her, and she would giggle and run over to the entrance.

then he would quickly crawl over to her,

and they would both laugh and hug.

and it would start all over again.

before i knew it though, he was climbing out.

they were laughing and happy. and the fort was no longer necessary.

as they played, i thought about the walls we each build up when we have had enough and just need some peace. the needs that have been un-met for too long suddenly rising quickly to our surface and just about swallowing us up.

these un-met needs can be caused by another who is continually taking, taking taking, or by one who is hurtful and attacks....or they can be caused by our selves, when out of good intentions we put all other things before us and then suddenly it becomes too much.

whatever the cause, realizing the necessity of taking care of those needs is what is important. choosing to no longer neglect the voice inside that has been ignored for too long, the one that says, i am withering here. please listen and take care of me.

that is when the walls come up. sometimes the walls are permanent; made of brick and bullet-proof glass to send the message that this will no longer be allowed. and sometimes the walls are temporary; made of soft pillows, just balancing for a bit before we can peek back out, knowing that time to take care is all that is needed.

i am someone who actually does not like walls. in fact, walls are very difficult for me to build. they feel...against my character...somehow. i don't know how to explain it better than that. to block things off, shut things down. it's not easy for me. i like to be open, to share, to love, to talk and to trust. i want that more than anything.

but the more i realize what these walls represent, and that it isn't mean or wrong or long as they are done in the right way...not in an unkind, controlling way. not out of fear, or anger, or guilt or shame. but in a firm and understanding way. out of protection and love and safety. the more i come to know that building them is okay sometimes.

it is necessary sometimes.

what i think is interesting, as i build walls that are some times temporary and are some times permanent, is that the more i listen to that voice that is begging me for care and and the more i surround myself with others who give me the space and time to come back, those needs become no longer needed.

to be treated a certain way, or spoken to like this. many times those needs melt once they are met.

it's really all about building back trust. trust in myself to reach out again and not lose myself again. trust to not push that voice back again at the expense of what i believe is more important. trust in others to provide love, safety and acceptance. and most importantly, trust that if there is no one else around, i will provide that for myself.

caleb's fort stayed up for several days. and each time i would walk past it and see the two kids playing i would smile. it symbolized other things for me than it did for them.

and when it was time

and the needs were taken care of

and trust was rebuilt,

the walls of the fort came down.


Anonymous said...

What a great metaphor! And your cute kiddos make the whole process of building barriers seem really lovely and enjoyable. Which sometimes it is, and sometimes it's not. I wish life were that simple and people were as teachable and resiliant as children.

Either way, we all need "time outs" to quiet our minds and listen to our hearts. Especially as young mothers, who rarely get a moment to ourselves, we must guard our inner peace carefully - it's frighteningly easy to wake one morning and find that too many pieces of you have been taken and YOU no longer exist.

I'm proud of you for doing whatever it takes to keep that from happening.

Andrea said...

Beauitfully done. I loved this and I love all that I am learning from you as you make these discoveries. You're right - Walls aren't bad - they can be GOOD sometimes...protecting our soft spots and preserving the good, kind, beauitful and "favorite" pieces of ourselves.
And Miss Leah needs to consider leg modeling. That lady has the cutest baby legs I have ever seen. Ever.

Steph said...

What a lovely metaphor. You are a wonderful writer.

And... What a rad fort. And... Your kids are beyond adorable.

And... Would you build a wall for me and post many photos and tributes to my fabooshness! ;-)