Day 16 Control

Left to their own devices, children will perform on any given day, a masterwork of anthropological dimensions. Between my girls a condensed version of world history (especially the parts with war and dictators, love and loss) is played out daily before my eyes.

Just today I witnessed impressive negotiations, even some diplomacy, then sharp swift violence. Sometimes they dole out mental torture and manipulation on one another. They make emotional decisions (saying no when they mean yes just because they are mad for example…) They steal from each other, running away with the loot and then shouting that the other one should chase them. Nearly every day there is attempt at forced participation. Today they showed curiosity, utilized their right free speech, then experienced oppression in one way or another. I saw creativity in its rawest form, problem solving, wild innovation, drama that could rival any academy award winner, empathy, flashes of kindness then anger and jealousy. An epic tale of the human story all before lunch!

Then I thought about our recent conversations. For some reason Big Sis asks about jail a lot. How do you get there? What’s breaking a law? What do you eat there? What do you wear? How long do you have to stay? Is your mommy there?

Then more recently there are conversations about large game killing and the poaching of elephants and other animals in Africa. (Thanks Babar–see Post 12)

Other conversations head back in the more human direction. Big Sister muses to me: I’ll always be older than Little Bean, but she might be taller than me. She’s kind of tall for her age, right Mom? And she’s kind of always getting into trouble, right? I listened much better when I was her age. She is wild. I was not so wild. But she is not a baby, Mom. You just said that she’s the baby, but she’s getting to be a big girl. But still not as big as me because I’ll always be the big sister. The monologue continues…

The overlying theme when you really listen is control. Who has it? Who wants it? How to get it. How to keep it.

No matter our age it seems we are always looking to understand our place in the world. People want to have some sense of control and some knowledge of what is to come based on what has already been.

Being a mom to these little monkeys has been eye opening in the control department. There is so much that I cannot control, that over the years, I’ve had to start accepting change as a constant and I’ve had to learn to love it.

Wait–Love. Love is the other constant. Change is modulated, balanced and managed by love. Love is the reason we are able to accept the constant change.

What this quarantine is really doing is forcing us to drill down to what really matters and what doesn’t. For the most part we’re not voluntarily going to peel back the layers of our own realities in this way. But on the other side we will emerge, refined by this fire, a streamlined version of our former selves. Maybe then we’ll be ready to take our anthropological story to a whole other level.


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