December 31 – Core Story What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world?
To look at my responses to the Reverb10 prompts this month, it would appear that my health (or lack thereof) is an all-consuming element of my life, but it's not. I also seem a little concerned about The Stuff that takes up so much physical and mental space in my life, but that's not it, either.
It all comes down to Max.
Everything I do or don't do is about setting the best possible example for him. It's about making the best decisions based on his needs. From what I eat for lunch while running errands (fast food or a sandwich?), to how Jamie and I interact with each other and the people we encounter in the world. From the way I treat animals to what I listen to on the radio when we're in the car.
It all comes down to Max.
I firmly believe that we aren't raising children, we're raising adults. He'll be a child no matter what… kids do what they do, it's part of their charm. It's what he grow up into that I'm worried about; it's the kind of man he becomes that I need to concern myself with. It's just like choosing a name when you're pregnant; the experts say “Name the [future] adult, not the [present day] baby.” (Example: Pixie Junebug, while an adorable name, might find herself not taken seriously if she ever wants to run for office)
I never thought I'd be the kind of woman who would say that her “core story” is her child. When I was in high school, I had plans… for a wonderfully fulfilling career, writing the Great American Novel, having a life-changing impact on people I encountered… all of these grandiose plans I had to change the world. To make my mark.
My mark, I now believe, is Max. He will do amazing things in this world, I just know it. And my role in it, now and as long as I live, is to guide and instruct him and help him become the very best man he is capable of being.
From The Star Thrower by anthropologist and writer, Loren Eiseley (1907-1977)
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they will die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”
Max is my starfish.
Kathy Kottaras says
So lovely. I love the idea of raising adults. I believe that too, but I never thought of it that way.
Also, I realized recently, that while I did write before having my daughter, I only started caring about it more seriously after she was born. Like now I have a real purpose. It's like they make the story worth living.
Julie Jordan Scott says
Beautiful. You have your Max, I have my Katherine, My Emma, My Samuel… my memory of Marlena. It is interesting, when we become mothers we don't realize how our lives change in every way… creatively, energetically… we become fierce Mamawarriors without even knowing it.
I am grateful I specifically found this post today….
(it helps inspire me to get on with my reverbing today! I have been putting it off!)
Read my Reverb Posts here.
mrs mediocrity says
He is your starfish. We do so many things in life, as women. Raising children is the most profound. You sound like a wonderful mother.
I love this story- and your take on it. Yes- my children=my starfish. And seeing my daughter becoming an amazing mother is pure joy!
Thanks for this post!