Sunday, December 06, 2009

Rhythm, breath, flow

We are catching our breath, collectively as a family after a long term, a long fall, but individually, too as we figure out every day what it means to be a family. As soon as we figure it out, it changes again. It has changed again, for the better.

I'm doing a lot of yoga lately, so I'm tempted to liken it to that: are we managing more balance all together, one pushing down through bottom of the feet to let another reach higher for the sky? No, not quite. Maybe--aha!--it's that we're balancing the front body and the back body, acknowledging and leaning into the universal, the communal, while pushing forward and celebrating our individuality.

Yes, that's it.

I'm doing a lot of graphic design lately, too--or at least prepping courses in graphic design--so I'm tempted to describe in those terms. You know, if yoga analogies don't suit you. So: we have, as a family, more white space. White space gives the eye a space to rest, allows the text or images that are the point of the composition to shine in the full glory, unpenned by visual clutter. In visual arts, white space is 'negative space'--where content is, well, not. But negative space makes positive space work.

Yes, that's it, too.

White space, openness, balance. What it means is that as Munchkin becomes more and more herself, we too are allowed to become more and more (once more) our own selves, too. To move through our days with our movements woven like a cat's cradle, but the strings suddenly with a lot more play. This weekend, yes, I've wiped her butt because she's not quite cleared for solo bathroom trips, although she can get the gist of it. But. She makes up stories to tell herself as we unpack the nativity scene together. She hangs ornaments by herself, with me. She sits still and 'reads', wrinkling her forehead in concentration, for twenty minutes at a time. She gets up on her own, walks calmly into our room, and crawls into bed for a family snug. She is at once a lot less work and a lot more fun.

We have a new rhythm to our days now: today, Pynchon was working in the basement and garage, and I was doing some renos upstairs and Munchkin sat on the living room floor, happily playing with her dollhouse, for nearly half an hour. Then we all came together and played. It was nice not to have to hypermanage the handoff of custody from one hypervigilant parent to another. It made coming together so much nicer, moving apart so much less stressful.

A new rhythm. I like it.


Omaha Mama said...

I've noticed this too. More and more. Then I get sort of a strange way. Knowing that some day the kids will come and go independently and leave us with lots of that negative space. I picture enjoying it, but also fear it. For now, I'll enjoy that they still need some butt wiping now and then. And worry about the rest later!

Debbie said...

What a beautiful way of putting it. We also seem to have found that rhythm with our oldest. Independent in so many ways, yet not shy about coming back when he feels too far away. I know that distance will grow over time, and that is a hard and an easy thought to deal with.

Denguy said...

Well stated.
We had "hand-off of custody" issues, too.

Cloud said...

What a nice post.

Right now, the "negative space" sounds wonderful- I have a newborn and a 2.5 year old. Two "bottomless pits of need" as one of my favorite bloggers (Moxie) put it. I wonder what I'll think when I actually get the space?

alejna said...

I love the negative space metaphor.

I think that's what our life lacks right now. Interesting that I tend to fill up my art with clutter, my house with clutter, my life with clutter. I could use some more negative space.

Kyla said...

It IS nice. Both my children are at pleasantly independent ages, still ours, but starting to be their own people, too.

kittenpie said...

Ah, we had that once... and then we didn't any more, and I am hoping that this new year will bring a little back as we find the rhythm for two kids, two daycares, new workplaces, separate baths soon. It would be nice to feel once again like I wasn't always running to catch up, but jogging along, maintaining a comfortable pace.