All in a Day's Words

Tag: children

To Have Or Have Not

When you discover that one of your life’s purposes is to procreate, you may want it to happen as soon as possible. Of course, there is an order to this, finding the partner, maybe marriage, and then the fun part. However, when you already have conceived and brought one human being into the world, this directive of continuing to populate the universe is an especially different matter. The question is to have or have not, one more mouth to feed, one more responsibility, or one more being sharing your space, energy and body. For many that notion is incredibly beautiful. As you contemplate this assessment, you have much to consider. Although the big picture view, contributing to the human race, seems extraordinarily full of service, the realities also include the monetary and physical implications, other existential nuances that cloud the judgment, as well as the time, energy, and space continuum (to be explained below).

After producing one child, and loving the experience, time passes. You forget the difficulty of the sleeplessness of the first year; memories of a total dependent infant needing you at every moment of the day begin to fade. The challenges that you faced each moment of the first couple of years turn to a space of greater freedom, as your child develops independence, the ability to play alone, eat with one’s own utensils, walk, talk, and move through the world with a greater degree of self-sufficiency. When this occurs, your thoughts turn to the possibility of having a repeat performance. Your confidence waves a flag in the brain stating, “We did well. Let’s do that again.”

The learning curve also has brought most mothers to a space of “I can do better this time” syndrome. Therefore, the decision-making begins on whether to have or have not an additional offspring. Many of us wonder if we can afford one more. On August 4th, 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a new report, Expenditures on Children by Families, finding that “a middle-income family with a child born in 2008 can expect to spend about $221,190 ($291,570 when adjusted for inflation) for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise that child over the next seventeen years.” If individuals ponder the expense of having a child too much, birth control would be practiced diligently, eliminating any worries of over population. The reality is that to have another child or not, means increased cost, with some economies of scale. Some fixed costs include car seats, clothing, and housing. These shared necessities decrease the cost per child’s bottom line. Additional expenses include diapers and food, to name a couple of the non-reusable items. Therefore, the price per child decreases, making it a win-win proposition. The fact is you make adjustments financially to make it happen, eliminating or decreasing non-essentials.

Hence, with financial reasoning pushed aside, you consider the physical ramifications. Much to ponder are age considerations, gaining baby weight, sharing your body with another being, exhaustion, and every physical implication that enables a child to enter this world and sustain life for forty weeks. If you happen to be approaching the 35-year mark, the reminders by doctors, nurses and statistics that your biological clock ticks louder year after year, with greater risk of conceiving an unhealthy infant is constant. She thinks, “Here I have been fortunate to have a healthy family, why risk changing that?” Lots of information to extrapolate to choose additional fertile ground can be daunting. The prospect, to choose 25-45 extra pounds weighing on your body frame, eating as if a parasite is sucking the life from you, changing the chemistry of your body via hormones, the exhaustion and emotional flip-flops, that are entranced with the physical transformation make the choice to have or have not, one more child, a challenging decision.

There are also existential observations that can fill the argument to have or have not. One such paradox is, if you are the third child contemplating having a third child, you cannot help but think that if your parents had chosen only to have two offspring, you would not exist. This is true for any combination, of course. Additionally, if your second child may be the president of the United States some day, and you chose to have one child only, then you have changed history. The fact is that existential arguments do not hold, since you cannot ensure what affect either outcome will have. Therefore, remove this element and you simplify the decision-making process.

Yet, if you get past the financial and physical contemplation, ironic existential arguments, there is still time, space, and energy that weigh on a mother’s heart for further procreation. This continuum is equivalent to mind, body and spirit. To switch from the practical aspects of money and physical attributes that contribute to additional offspring decisions, there is the larger picture. The balance of nature attracts the notion of perpetuating the human race with decency and love. There is a natural instinct to add children to the world for the pure sake of adding love, advancement of goodness, and a legacy of improvement of souls from one generation to the next. The love between siblings, the sharing of life between mother and fetus during pregnancy, the bonding of parents and their children, and the development of a perfect being that starts at conception, meets directly with the meaning of life.

To have or have not, another child is instinctually easy. It really is not contingent upon the concrete issues, such as “can we physically do this, fertility-wise, financially, physically, or to initiate the balance of life.” Those are only a few examples to contemplate; parents know there are hundreds more. Although those areas of a pros and cons list may seem relevant, I believe that intuitively you know the answer prior to the debate that plays in your head. To move along the life continuum that enables the world to spiritually grow and improve, brings the decision to a greater plain. When you discover this, the assessment becomes manageable and simplistic. Whatever the conclusion to this query, it is the right one for you. Remove the mundane elements like time, energy, money, ability, and simply consider, is this right for you? Suddenly the answer sits right between your eyes, as if it was there all along. To Have Or Have Not is not the question, but an answer that was there all the time.

A Pearl of Wisdom

Is it possible to teach our children that the world truly is their oyster?  As a parent constantly searching to improve the outcome of my child’s life, I wonder if I truly affect the early years’ foundation, prior to the external environment’s influences. Is it only my perception that I carry such weight to mold a young mind?  Is destiny already in place?  I believe that the energy I move enables life to shift and with this intention, I influence destiny. 

Lately when I have been helping my six- year-old daughter drift off to sleep, she has begun seeking guidance on what to believe about life.  Recognizing the powerful impact I may have in this moment-by-moment interaction, I cringe at the weight of what to say and what not to say.  I originated from  from a black/white and right/wrong perspective; my aim is to offer a broader outlook to my offspring. 

My child inquires, who am I?  What am I? With such existential questions coming from an incredibly young inquisitive mind, I answer her with the honesty that moves within my heart.  I say to her, “Let me explain it this way.  What does it feel like when we skip down the sidewalk together?”  She tells me that it feels good, it feels happy, and it makes her smile.  I then say, you are that. You are the happiness, the good, and the love when your spirit sores with energy.  You are what it feels like to skip, jump, run endlessly in any direction, and twirl happily in a circular motion, watching clouds roll by and the rainbows that touch our hearts when we see them shine.  You are what makes life smile, I tell her.  Yet as the words leave my lips, I cognitively recognize the confusion I may be causing from the metaphors that escape her understanding. 

However, just as I am about to surrender to the basic rational, right-brained definition, she whispers, “Am I the way I feel?”  I sigh with pride and think, she is wiser than I could have imagined.  I answer softly, “You are that and everything you ever choose to imagine.”  You are not better or worse for the clothes you wear, nor greater or less for how fast you run or for getting in line before another person; you are as worthy as the next person, not more important or less.  What makes you different is how you feel about yourself on the inside.  You were perfect from the moment you were born, and all that follows is what you make of yourself, what comes from your heart, comes from your spirit, and your energy.  Remember that you are what rainbows are made of, where smiles originate, where blue skies get their essence. 

From this conversation, I recognize that a six year old comprehending the abstractness may fail some absorption.  My hope is that some of these moments where I preach pieces of spirituality, there will be a moment later in life, where she may turn to me and say, “Mom, I understand.”  When it comes to self-esteem and self-assured confidence, I trust when approached by a diverse perspective or negative judgment from another individual, she will soon be able to assert that she knows who she is, and that his opinion of her is none of her business.  My estimation is this will take time and be tested over the years. 

These moments as she engages in conversation of how her life began, how fears became established, how to obliterate the doubts that life presents her, she begins to recognize the keen sense she has to empower her life with intention.  May she have the energy to shift her life in the direction she so chooses.  She senses the gems of guidance I offer her now, but is starting to disregard these natural instincts as exposure to the mundane begins to occupy her brain.  Her gift of living life fully enables me to share a description of what she is experiencing.  We act as two-way teachers.  She offers me a gift in remembering my own essence, and I tender an avenue of maintaining her belief that all that she dreams is on its way to fruition.  The fact is that the world is her oyster and her heart occupies the pearl.

Rainbow of Happiness

Rainbow of Happiness 

A glimmer of ecstatic happiness in simplest form takes my breath away.  I sit on an oriental rug, criss-cross-apple-sauce, like a child, exposed to life from the vantage point of my two and a half year-old son.  Seeing the world through his eyes is a lesson in simplicity, joy and magical splendor.  Technically we are in a music class, but I suspect that this little boy could be anywhere and recreate the following emotions and creative play in any environment.  Our music teacher is engaging, entertaining, and musically expert; my son stares at him intensely with curiosity and patience, awaiting the next activity. 

Out comes a plain, blue polyester bag.  The teacher unzips it slowly with intrigue and expressions of surprise as he peaks into it.  Music emanates the room, full of leaping, jingle-type beats, making you want to spring to your feet and dance.  You refrain, awaiting instruction as we, adults, have learned to do from our organized, rule-oriented culture.  The children in front of us model our behavior and remain immobile, awaiting the teacher’s big reveal, in his inconspicuous bag. 

He reaches in with one hand and in dramatic fashion, pulls out rainbow-colored silk scarves, bunches at a time, springing them upward toward the sky.  Rainbows scatter wildly around us, gliding and moving at their own pace with differing wind resistance.  The scarves rain upon us like magic sunlight, sending rays in each direction.  With each beat, the teacher takes out more scarves to share with his students and their guardians. 

Next, to show the possibilities, he begins dancing with scarves in his hands, waving them to the beat, dancing in various directions, wherever the music takes him.  My son follows, feeling the freedom of movement taking hold of his feet and arms; he swings them in a variety of ways.  He smiles from ear to ear; his eyes sparkle at the magical scene of rainbow heaven.  I model the teacher’s behavior as to exhibit the normalcy of this scene, as if dancing with scarves is all I have ever done.  I feel the flow of energy swirl in all directions, my mind enmeshed in the movement, music and magic. 

Joyfulness reigns upon us, when suddenly our guide takes a scarf, holding it by two corners, blows at the center of the rectangle towards the ceiling, sending the cloud of silk into the air.  My son watches, locked in on the scarf, waiting with hands and arms outstretched, moving to and fro to situate himself under the falling, billowing silk, and catches it, hugging it to his chest, as if he treasures the prize he has retrieved.  He smiles and giggles, like crystal being tapped gently, releasing a calm, melodic chime that alters your insides with colorful peace.  This cheerful, brilliant echo of happiness can be felt by others who observe this ecstatic play.  The engaged magician of a teacher repeats this process again and again, recognizing the significant joy he has brought into the room within a child’s happy heart.  He mentions the considerable talent of my toddler’s eye/hand coordination, foreshadowing a future shortstop in major league baseball.  As a mother, all I feel is my son’s sense of pride from repeatedly catching the scarves and the enjoyment he relishes in. 

Soon thereafter, our instructor blows the scarf with an energetic breath into my little boy’s face, for a new reaction.  As the scarf covers my son and he is momentarily surprised and semi-blinded, he pauses, but almost instantaneously explodes with laughter.  The teacher repeats this harmonious flow of movement; each time my little one reacts as if it is the first time.  His giggles flood the area, with an energy that ripples out to an audience surrounding him, producing roars of laughter, especially within me. 

I feel inside a tremendous light, so bright, watching the humorous nature of life’s simplicity.  Rainbow-colored scarves flow through the energy, breath, humor, laughter’s echoes, and freedom; they envelope me with a feeling of inner, harmonious peace.  This is the type of enjoyment we strive for and are especially grateful to glimpse as often as possible.  The reality is that it only takes a moment.  Within an instant, the uninhibited can feel happiness at the core, deep within their hearts, and outpour this blissful joy through movement, music and creative expression. 

The result you find is a rainbow, awaiting the flow of energy, full of love, laughter, and ultimate elation.  My son is no exception in our world, only an example of what is possible if you allow yourself to travel to that space.  He teaches me constantly of how simple it is and reminds me how complicated we adults make finding happiness.  It cannot be retrieved by striving externally towards it.  Joy thrives within each of us; it takes little effort to let it out.  Next time I seek the extraordinary, I know to search no further than within myself for the ingredients: Breath, energy flow, rainbows, smiles, laughter, and love.  These are the flavors of life that take my breath away, an energetic force of happiness.                                                                                                     

L.E. Falcon is a freelance writer, who lives outside of Boston and treasures time with her two children and husband.  She holds an MBA from Babson College and a B.S. in Math Ed. from Boston University.  You may contact L.E. Falcon at LEFalcon@lightalife.com.

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