Isn’t it mad the way you can be looking at something so negatively for so long, and then, snap, you look again and see only opportunity and possibility?
I’ve been very careful here recently with any references to our teenage girl and boy.
With good reason: it’s been, as they say, challenging.
So, there we were last night, my wife and I, in the wee small hours, trying to sleep.
The guys were to be back to school today after their Easter break, and bleary-eyed, we contemplated the all-too-imminent morning cacophony of children-calling and cajoling, dog-walking, school lunch-packing, breakfast …
As our daughter stalked the night like a teenage zombie.
Bedroom doors squeaked and swiveled, bathroom taps were running, books were packed for school … eyebrows scrutinised, revolutions fermented … heaven knows what she was doing in there …
And she hates sleeping with her door fully closed.
A whispered sorry when we told her she was keeping us awake. And so it continued.
Maybe she reminded me more of one of those vampire characters in the old Hammer Horror movies. You know the ones where the colour red is turned up to lurid, and the orchestra is obviously paid by volume?
I thought specifically of Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde, a great movie staple on night-time television.
Dr Jekyll is trying to find the elixir of life, as you do, and he injects himself with the serum he is working on.
This serum, of course, comes from female hormones taken from the corpses of dead women. Which I don’t think he buys on Amazon …
This transforms him at night into the gorgeously glossy-haired but evil Sister Hyde, who slinks out of her bedroom to slip her teeth into a little neck artery or two. And bring those hormones back to the lab.
But there was our Daughter Hyde this morning, our fresh-cheeked K again, up and showered after answering that horrible beep, beep, beep of her iPad alarm … eventually.
There was still a fair bit of coaxing and hurrying up, and more than a few hissed words as her Mom tried to get her out the door for her lift to school.
When I came home from work last night it was after 11, and K was there at the kitchen table, still working on her art project.
A was watching telly and the two of them were chatting away, Mom wilting, but K flourishing her art brushes with the gusto and conviction of an orchestra conductor.
We knew she had to be up early, and it took us a while to persuade her to down brushes and go to bed.
Maybe she had taken some of that elixir of life because our girl was not for sleeping, as we would find out.
And so there I was this morning, exhausted after a busy evening’s work and a bad sleep.
I was all ready for a good glower and lecture, but instead I found myself caught in a magical moment of reappraisal.
It’s not as if our girl had made it easy to do so; she was still complaining imperiously on the way out about her horrible lunch, her art folder under her arm, like a right madame …
But I was caught in admiration, not admonition.
I was amazed that this creature of the night was setting about her day with equal energy.
And I have really enjoyed watching the evolution of her art. I see her competence growing from piece to piece, and I love the way she keeps at it, until she is happy.
And I love the girlish way she asks for our opinions.
She is energised and enthused in a way we do not see that often.
We are hardly going to slate her work, and I am careful to frame any criticism in a positive light.
But in truth it is easy to do so, cause I am genuinely impressed.
A favourite blogger of mine is Australian Yvette, who writes as Weave The Future Magical (gorgeous title, eh?)
Now Yvette devours self-help books and popular culture the way some people can’t get enough of Scandi noir detective sordidity, or gardening tips from Monty Don, but each to their own …
But what distinguishes Yvette’s writing for me, apart from its effervescence and general of-beat charm, is the often hilarious, but always thought-provoking riffs she plays around her themes.
So life-affirming, and so Yvette …
But one particular post has continued to resonate with me.
The post is called Nothing You Want Is Upstream
Yvette is writing about the Law Of Attraction, and refers to a book by one Abraham Hicks called “The Astonishing Power of Emotions”
And she quotes:
“We watch you getting more efficient at fighting the current. Your muscles get stronger, your boats become sleeker, and you discover more effective oars. And, always, we listen patiently as we hear a variety of versions on this same general theme of justification for paddling upstream, but then we always explain what we consider to be the most important thing that our physical friends could ever hear from us: Nothing that you want is upstream!” —Abraham Hicks “The Astonishing Power of Emotions”
Nothing you want is upstream!
Basically, Yvette and this Hicks fellow are saying if you have to struggle too hard for something, then it is not right for you.
This has huge resonances for me which I might come back to, but now I am thinking more of our daughter.
Like all teenagers, she is caught in the Murder Machine, as the education system has been described, and there is no way around some of the conventions of what has to be studied, and what grades have to be reached in order to pursue potential career areas.
We have found it very difficult to steer K in the proscribed direction in terms of her school work. It seems like we are pushing her upstream when she always wants to drift her own way downstream.
Some subjects are devoured and others … not.
But maybe she is right … spend more time on her art and do what she enjoys and gives her energy, rather than plodding through things that are never going to be her forte, or light her fires.
Maybe our mission is to help her find a career path that goes with her flow, rather than forcing her to go upstream into something she has to merely work at?
Now if we can just get her to bed at a reasonable time tonight …
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