Monday, January 4, 2010


I hold this
to be the highest task
for a bond between
two people:
that each protects
the solitude of the other.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

It is a fine balance between connecting with the other and maintaining our own individuality.   I'm just beginning to see that strong autonomous and independent drive in my five year old daughter begin to assert itself.  She goes to her own room and proceeds to the doll house, entering a world of her own making as she does.   I'll hear all sorts of conversations float from that imaginary realm of Alexa's world and I let them float right past me, respecting her space for exploration.  I don't apply analysis or creative criticisms, I simply let her ride her own stream of consciousness for as long as she can.  

As an adult it's hard to find this space to let the imagination run wild and free.  The pressures of work and family often rob us of that freedom unless we intentional block some time for ourselves.  It's not unusual for a partner to feel left out or worse rejected when we take time to head off to the study to read, write or just simply think.  But this is a need we all have.  Many have learned to deny themselves this, especially the super Mom's of today.  We work, exercise, cook for our family, get everyone up and going in the morning, and it leaves so little time for our own play time.  There's a desire when we return to our homes at night to have quality family time.  We succomb to feelings of mother's guilt for wanting our own space, a room of our own as Virginia Woolf noted so many decades ago.  Maybe after the dinner is finished, and the conversation dwindles, everyone could do with some pretend time.  As a single parent I know that when my daughter heads off to the bedroom or while she plays with her toys in the bath, this is my time to let my imagination run free too.  Whether I grab a book, my laptop or just sit and think, I know that what I'm doing makes me whole. 

At night, when I curl up with my little girl in bed for story time, I can revel in her improv story lines about the Birthday Buddha, knowing that by allowing her the freedom to explore alone means she'll have the coolest story lines ever.  Her imagination astounds and delights me.  And when she kisses me goodnight and says "you're the goodest mom ever", it warms my heart and encourages me toward another day (we'll get to grammar another day).

As we anticipate cohabitation in March, this lesson will stay with me.  I will be ever vigilant that all members of our new home enjoy a room of their own, a special space guarded by deep respect and love, for great creative work requires no less.

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