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Baby, I’m Amazed

2014 May 29
by Rachel Turiel

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Rose and I are walking home, hand in hand, when she asks, “Does everything have a shadow?”

Me: Yes.

Rose: Not pigment.

Me: What?

Rose: Pigment. You know, the hard, flat stuff on the ground.

Me: Asphalt?

Rose: Oh, right.

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I laugh and squeeze her hand, thinking, Thank goodness for the gift of the youngest child. First two bottom adult teeth crashing up like the plate tectonics of her gums. Starfish hands all filled with squish. Words squeezing out fast with soft, unarticulated edges. (Her voice on the phone is simply a squeaky blast). Always willing to grab a hand of mine rooting around her busy fingers.

Rose announces, when our cat has a sneezing fit, “Bee’s been bless-youing a lot.” Bless-youing. She said it again, I note as if a fairy just flew by, ephemeral and magic. Last weekend at a swimming pond she wrapped a stranger’s dog in her own towel, because it was “shivering.” She waves at the decrepit, bone-protruding neighborhood deer we call Old lady. “Do you think she sees me wave?” Rose asks earnestly. What can I say? Suddenly, it seems my job is not only to prepare her for some unknown future, but to preserve the fragile seed of innocence within.

Rose turned seven last week. Seven.

rose-bday9Under the crab apple, May 2009

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Under the crab apple, May 2014

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Rose Raven

The other night Rose woke up moaning and crying out for me. Her knees hurt. I rubbed arnica into the knobby shells of her kneecaps and brought her to our big bed where she tossed and turned. She asked to go back to her bed. She called for me again. I brought her to the kitchen table and we had a snack together at midnight. “I’m sorry your knees hurt,” I told her over yogurt and bananas. “You’ve been taking good care of me,” she replied. At that moment I felt something alive spring from our hearts and grow together, reminding me of how we can always find each other.

Rose and I are growing up together, her shaping me at least as much as I shape her. She is not an “easy” child, and you know what? It doesn’t matter. What matters is how I respond. She isn’t here to fulfill my notions of a perfect family; she’s here to both become herself and realize that ones self is a changing parade of conditions. My parenting prayer lately has been, “let me be a mountain of love and firm boundaries.” It’s like meditating – my mind wanders 44 times in 10 minutes, but the response is clear: bring my attention back to the breath. My breathtakingly lucky days with children contain 44 moments that are excruciatingly hard, but the response is clear: come back to love and firm boundaries. And if I fail? Try again. And again.

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One of Rose’s birthday presents from me and Dan was to foster kittens. Our first fosteree, Emily, is here!

Yesterday, riding in the car with Col, Rose and their friend, the friend said to Col, “You’re NINE? You’re so small, you’re smaller than me, and I’m seven!” There was a sharp frozen pause before Rose turned to the friend, pointed out the window and said, “Look, there’s the carnival! Do you like the carnival? Are you going? What’s your favorite ride? Do you like the games? They cost five dollars, my mom says that’s too much for crappy prizes.” It could have been a coincidence, but I believe Rose was loading her friend’s mind with questions until any notion of her brother’s smallness was erased.

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Birthday party by Junction Creek. Eating s’mores with HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS. Yes, I did. And I’d do it again, with a fair amount of complaining.

Still in the car, I turn up the Wings song, Maybe, I’m Amazed, singing along to words that are as true as they get. Baby, I’m amazed at the way you love me all the time.

“What does he say?” Rose asks.

“Baby, I’m amazed…”

“Baby, I’m a waste?”

“BABY, I’M AMAZED.”

“Why is he amazed?”

“Because it’s amazing to be loved.”

 

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30 Responses leave one →
  1. Jennifer permalink
    May 29, 2014

    “She isn’t here to fulfill my notions of a perfect family;” Wow, that hit me in the heart! :-)

  2. May 29, 2014

    And it’s amazing to read your words here. Always. Especially since it mirrors almost exactly how I feel about my own youngest child who turned three yesterday. This: “Thank goodness for the gift of the youngest child.” I so get. And the fact that they both say “bless you” instead of “sneeze” is remarkable. Maybe it’s a Gemini baby thing. :-)

    Have I mentioned how much I love your writing?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      May 30, 2014

      Thank you, Justine for being such a long time, appreciative reader!

  3. May 29, 2014

    You make mothering sound amazing. This piece totally brought tears to my eyes. Way to raise an amazing, thoughtful, kind, magical gal!

  4. May 29, 2014

    Lovely. Happy birthday, sweet Rose!

  5. May 29, 2014

    Your writing is a lovely dessert to my lunch. I like how you started and ended this post. And homemade marshmallows for that big crowd? Wow.

  6. May 29, 2014

    Oh heavens, how lovely. I want special pockets to keep all of those kid-growing-up phrases.

    Echo used to say, “We love our chothers so much,” that being how she retro-constructed “each other”. Natalie and I still use it sometimes.

    Love to you and your family. Happy Birthday to Rose, too!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      May 29, 2014

      “Our chothers.” Oh. *Dying*

  7. May 29, 2014

    Oh, my heart. Toddler Rose, she slays me.

  8. Baba permalink
    May 29, 2014

    What lucky children. They know how much they are loved!
    Much love from Baba to all of you.

  9. Ellen permalink
    May 29, 2014

    Such a sweet post and a sweet girl and a wonderful mom to have yogurt and bananas at midnight.
    What does Col say when people remark on his size? There must be some snappy comebacks.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      May 29, 2014

      We’ll have to work on snappy comebacks. He gets quiet and inward and tells me later how it makes him feel uncomfortable.

  10. Valeta permalink
    May 29, 2014

    Beloved Rachel,

    OMGoodness. Paying attention to goodness. Pay attention to goodness for goodness sake!

    The last two posts (all parenting entries really) with Col and now Rose move me to achingly joyful tears and are exquisitely articulated narratives showing how intending and cultivating the internal-development and outer practice with children brings to a shining light ‘un’ as well as conditional love’s power to transform, heal and free each of us of suffering our pain.

    I’m so grateful for your practices and voice going out into our troubled and beautiful world in this unique way. You remind others that Everyone, with practice, can become the energetic pattern of Kuan Yin ~ a true Bodhisattva of wisdom compassion in all the world cross-culturally!

    I know that’s spiritual and esoteric/archetypal language for some of your readers…But the teachings on empathy and compassion help to take on the development for oneself; results in safety and trust for our children, partners, parents and community ! It’s our truly wise and natural indigenous way. To protect each other from inner as well as outer harm. This results in real happiness!

    Infinite love and gratitude

    xxValeta

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      May 29, 2014

      Yes! Infinite love and gratitude to you too, my first teacher.

  11. Evonne permalink
    May 29, 2014

    So touching… All your posts hit it square on for me. Our children being close in age lends itself to that. Kudos for capturing it all with so much magic and grace. Love the funky in Tupperware heights!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      May 29, 2014

      Long live the funk. Come visit anytime.

  12. May 29, 2014

    Very very excellent! I especially liked reaching the end of the post and realizing I was smiling/laughing/kind of getting teary-eyed. It IS amazing!!!

  13. Andrea permalink
    May 29, 2014

    rose is awesome.
    and happy birth-day to you too, mama.

  14. May 29, 2014

    Ahhh! So much wisdom here. I love what you say: Suddenly, it seems my job is not only to prepare her for some unknown future, but to preserve the fragile seed of innocence within… Yes, yes! This is what I think too. Let’s deal with right now. One breath at a time.

  15. Carly permalink
    May 29, 2014

    Oh, Mama – this post chokes me up! It’s hard to type and wipe tears at the same time; my keyboard is getting all slippery. LOL. My oldest just turned 7 too, and so much of what you’ve written here resonates in clear bell tones for me. So many parallels: from the bits about Rose – erupting teeth, the not an easy child, the squeaky blast voice on the telephone, cat-loving – to the bits about your parenting Rose – not fulfilling your notions of the perfect family, 44 excruciatingly hard moments, shaping you as much as her, and preparing her while preserving innocence. Yes, it is gobsmackingly amazing to be loved and to love these little wonders. Thank you!!!

  16. Chi-An permalink
    May 29, 2014

    Happy birthday Rose and congrats Rachel! What a lovely birthday post. I so relate to this post; you say things that I think, only much more beautifully.

  17. May 30, 2014

    Seven! Oh, blessed Rose!

  18. nan permalink
    May 30, 2014

    Thank-you so much for helping me be a better Grandma than I was a mother.Your word and writing are amazing.

  19. June 1, 2014

    Rose is growing up into a beautiful flower, it seems :o)

    There is something magical in your connection recently, as if Rose was catching your deeper, loving intention, and voicing her appreciation of it in a way that reminds me of you. Not so surprising, maybe ;o)

    I think that the greatest gift you are giving her, through your everyday mountains to climb/be/let be, is to allow her to become fully herself. Yes, it’s amazing to be loved, and you remind us of how amazing the whole story is, too.

    xo

    • June 1, 2014

      And happiest seventh birthday to a very lovely Rose, tender kitty caretaker :o)

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      June 2, 2014

      Yes, to all of it. And thank you.

  20. melissa permalink
    June 6, 2014

    Another amazing post! I love your reminder about being a mountain of love and firm boundaries. It reminds me of another awesome blog post by Danielle LaPorte: Open gentle heart and big fucking fence http://www.daniellelaporte.com/advice-on-love/.

    All the best!

  21. Brenda permalink
    June 7, 2014

    Happy Birthday to Rose! You gotta love that girl! Having raised three children to adulthood, none of whom were “easy”, I have to say…. “easy” is overrated! I know I would love Rose! She is so unique. I always, always get such a “kick” out of her attire, and I am so happy that you let her wear what she wants….at least most of the time, I would think! Kudos to you and your husband for raising such a wonderful, creative girl! (and of course, I’ll say it yet again…I love your writing! :) ).

  22. Carrie-Anne permalink
    June 14, 2014

    Honestly your writing just gets me so deeply.
    We are on the same parenting page, and reading your words
    Makes me soooo
    Grateful
    Thankyou for writing
    Xxxx

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