Healing happens in a place of safety.

“Did you hear what you just said?”

I didn’t. I had been rambling about my boys. I leaned back into the chair in my therapist’s office to think. The tree branches behind me snatched at my curls.

Yes. My therapist has a tree in her office that is constantly getting stuck in my hair.

I love it.

“That your boys are physical….”

She paused like a teacher giving the pupil a moment to catch up.

“Yes?” I said with my brow furrowed.

And…you love it.” she said slowly.

My hands shot up to my face. I peered at her between two hands pressed against my cheeks. I repeated the answer.

“And I love it.”

I whispered those words in disbelief and then the tears came. I bowed deeply in my chair and beneath that listening tree with relief. Tears of joy spilled forward and then I wiped my face and said,

“I almost made it through an entire session without crying.” Laughing I continued, “You fucking ruined it.”

She laughed but her eyes were harboring quickly escaping tears too.

You may not remember but there was a time where touch felt like the enemy. Connection and intimacy felt like a cheese grater on my soul. My healing required an end to passive consent. My soul needed some time to seek out it’s true loves. My body needed to learn what is safe, safe, safe…I am safe here.

I am safe here.

The little girl I was, the little girl in need of a constant barrier between her heart and connection is leaning into connection and intimacy. She is letting go of her shield. She is slowly backing away from the tools used to fortify walls. She is coming out to play, love, gaze, connect.

I love this girl. I love how she gazes into the eyes of her children. I love how she understands that criticism doesn’t mean that she is bad, dirty or broken. I love that she listens and can lie under a pile of freshly bathed and pajama dressed boys with wild abandon.

I love that she doesn’t seem to feel trapped anymore or not as much.

I have learned that healing happens in a place of safety.

-You deserve to live in wide open fields

I feared that my trauma was stealing joy from me and my children. Honestly, it did steal joy for a time until something shifted.

The story I told my therapist:

I held one of my sons in my arms. I gazed into his eyes and I simply paused. I didn’t move. I let him bathe in my love for him. It was like a freeze ray. He couldn’t remove himself from my adoration. I felt like I might be staring at him like a creep.

“Children don’t stare. They gaze.”

My therapist interjected that tidbit. Science has proven that when you are making eye contact with an infant and you stop, there is an immediate change in their brain chemistry. That chemical reaction identifies our basic need for attachment.

I held him and gazed at him until he was ready to go. All filled up with love.

My oldest son feels no shame about kissing his mother goodbye. My middle son starts his days by leaning into me with his face tilted upwards for a kiss.

“Good morning, momma.”

My boys are physically affectionate and I love it. It has taken 3 years but I am the mother I always wanted to be.

Fearlessly affectionate, hilariously embarrassing and stingy with the ice cream.12015233_10153641036623588_5375878501296692331_o

But mostly that first one.

Healing up,

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PS – Let’s talk about this more. Join me here.

Mrs. A. Lincoln

I had hoped by now that my dark cloud would have lifted. I had hoped that it was a partly cloudy day in a mostly sunny week. The reeling has not stopped and now I am getting angry and indignant. I want to be able to move through the day without the tugging of sadness on my sleeve. I want to speak to my children without the inner motivational speaking that forces a happy tone. I can’t even fake it for Facebook.

Now you know that is bad.

After dropping my two oldest children off at school this morning I stopped in to visit with my Father in Law. He immediately set to work preparing a breakfast of eggs, fried potatoes and toast. He knows that fried potatoes are my favorite and he usually calls me on the phone joking that my potatoes are ready. He warmed my coffee cup twice and fed the baby small slices of fruit. When he left he told me I could stay as long as I wanted and I did.

In the light passing of conversation and the warmth of a house steadily being covered by snow flakes I remembered something forgotten. Even as my spirit was discontent and uneasy I felt comforted. My father-in-law is a man of decision. Not in the way of great political thinkers or entrepreneurs. He moves into what is best regardless of his obstacles.

I am currently enjoying a fictional novel about and named, Mary, Mrs. A. Lincoln. I love historical fiction and since my mother-in-law ‘knew that I would love it’, I went against my rules of order and disregarded a stack of already borrowed library books to begin it. I have probably heard more than my share of information about President Abraham Lincoln but his wife has never crossed my mind. She had a fierce need for the world to see the goodness of her husband, suffered the loss of three sons and a husband who was assassinated and finally was wrongly committed to an asylum by her own first born son.

Throughout her life she struggled to rein in her “excessive passions” while trying to mourn with dignity. She had a large portion of her own very dark days. Chapter after chapter, she fought her way back. She dove into having another child to substitute the lost affection of another. She “unsexed” herself by overly involving herself in politics to do everything she could to ensure that the nation recognized the good of her husband. She pushed her self through doing the tedious of household chores just to keep her focus anchored to her priorities.

I hate schedules. I don’t like to have to do anything. However, I can see her logic…for someone who was eventually committed. The few spots of joy I have felt in the course of the past week have involved my one year old who now knows where his nose is, my four year old who wants only to be physically connected to my person at all times and my eldest son who I can now have a conversation with.

For a fictional crazy person’s account, I think there is wisdom in just doing the next thing. I will allow myself the gift of rest as I finish the last few chapters of this book. When I am done, I will focus all of my energy on doing the next thing. I expect that the first few tasks that I force myself to do will hurt a little but it won’t be worst than pouting under this cloud.

I am now deciding the weather and it will be partly sunny.