Tag Archives: parenting

“Isn’t it always love…” Twenty Five Years Tomorrow

Kevin and Nicole May 14, 1989-Wedding Day, Billboard Photoshop made by Helen Redman
May 14, 1989-Wedding Day,                                                                      Billboard Photoshop made by Helen Redman

“Isn’t it always love that makes you hang your head, isn’t it always love that makes you cry and isn’t it always love that takes the tears away and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” –Karla Bonoff

So, tomorrow marks 25 years of being married to the same phenomenal man, my husband, who prefers if I do not talk about him in this public arena. So, I won’t go into the intimate details, but I do have to share a little about what is true for me as I am in this very real moment of my life.

I have been exhausted and overly engaged with the suffering, broken nature, wounding and pain of so many folks and the planet in the last year. Overly engaged is of course a judgment call and a loaded statement, and it’s how I sometimes feel. This morning I woke up feeling so congested with everyone’s pain that I was basically just a large mass of leaky tears. I feel the suffering of others in my body, I always have. I feel their pleasure and delight as well, their anger and their fear. I remember when the Empath character was first introduced on Star Trek and I was so happy to see someone who I could actually feel kinship with, it helped me feel less like an alien. Of course she was an alien, and often I feel like one as well.

“Kirk has suffered a cut on his forehead and when he touches Gem to see if she is all right, she recoils in pain. Gem composes herself and then touches Kirk’s wound. With a flash, the wound is transferred to Gem’s forehead. A doubting Kirk touches her wound and notes the blood on his finger. Suddenly, the wound on Gem’s forehead heals as well. McCoy, observing, is clearly impressed by her ability to heal and surmises that Gem is an Empath. Her emotional system is so sensitive that it feels the pain of another and that pain becomes part of her, before she dissipates it.” – from The Empath Episode

There are days when I wish I didn’t feel so much, didn’t love so much, but mostly

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

So, this morning my husband had to hold me while I cried, something he is very used to and has gotten better at over the years. We had to rouse ourselves to get our youngest son, Ethan, ready for his first IB test (International Baccalaureate). My boy asked me last night if I would make him a hearty and special breakfast. He wanted a home-made mama pancake and some plain yogurt with strawberries, bananas and cashews. So, I moved myself to get out of bed and make his breakfast before his first big major test of the IB.

I asked my husband to put some good music on and Karla Bonoff is who he put on for me. This was a mixed blessing, since every song made me start crying anew. And, yet the excellence of an artist at the top of her game is also something I feel deeply and when I experience beauty and harmony it also moves through me and washes every cell in my body with delight. My husband knows music as medicine and as balm and as stimulus. He knows it in his core and he wields this like a master wields a sword or a paintbrush and colors all of our lives with exactly the right music at the right time.

While endeavoring to do what I needed to do for my son, I was also trying to keep my tears from this lovely seventeen year old boy, who doesn’t need to know about my sadness right now, or ever really. His job is to do well and be well and not to navigate the territory of my empathic nature. It is generally not the job of our children to take care of us, even though sometimes they have to when they are young. When we are old, it will be their duty, but not while they are young, it is not their job. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always allow for this and many of us  take care of our parents or feel their pain in different ways. This is the “tears of love” that one sometimes wishes we didn’t have to feel. Parents should feel the pain of their children, when they know about it. It is NO FUN at all when they are suffering, and it’s what motivates you to keep them from that pain if you can. You don’t have to be an empathic being to feel the fear and hurt of children.

My parents rejoiced deep in their bones when this man came into our lives. They knew he was a good man and that they could worry less about me and my wild and crazy ways. I had found a home, a good home, with a safe and kind man.

So, I bow now, deep and low to my husband, who is not a religious man, who works hard everyday for our family, who loves to joke and who loves music and books and art and all of us. He found me lost with two small children over 25 years ago and something in him said she’s the one. He fell in love also with my first two children, who were four and one at that time, and he took them to raise and be his own. He truly rescued us, and even though most folks don’t believe in fairy tales, I always have and do, and my prince did show up and has consistently shown up for all of us.

My tears have abated now, since I am writing about something truly extraordinary, the beauty and love of my marriage and the long journey of being with one extraordinary person over many years. It feels like five minutes, really. I need another 2,000 years with this man, but I know every day I get with him is a gift. Maybe, if our souls are linked across time, I will have 2,000 more years with him and perhaps I’ve had millions of years with him, I cannot know that.

What I do know is that it takes work and a constant commitment to love and to keep loving through the arguments, disagreements, frustrations, stresses and all the messy territory of sharing your life with another human being who is different from you. But it also takes a very special magic ingredient of overwhelmingly deep love and rightness. I could never have made it through 25 years with one man if he and I weren’t so absolutely right for each other. He is my Beshert, my other half, my soul-mate, my heart-mate, my choice-mate. His presence in my life is purely a gift. I won’t share him with you, but I will wish for all of you, someone like him, someone who makes every day better for you, who comes back to you, who pushes through with you, who tries to improve for you and who commits to you 100%.

 

 

bells at night

photo by Nicole Barchilon Frank May 5, 2012, Pacific Ocean around sunset
photo by Nicole Barchilon Frank May 5, 2012, Pacific Ocean around sunset

I heard the bells at night
the valley deep
the darkness complete

my fear was there
I sat with the stars
on the available chair

It took an hour
to get back here
not a great distance
but I am slow

weighed down
bent low
breathing hard
hoping for another chance

I cried for Issac
I cried for Shira
Felt incomplete
and all the ways I lack

I ache
I hear the crickets
feel the cool breeze
long for
long for

more

more time
to find the way
to offer
to fill the gap
make up the slack
hearken back
repair where

where I can
where there is
room and a warm
palm
pressed into mine

kissing, working hard
and holding on

mending

© Nicole Barchilon Frank September 4, 2012

Impugning The Tooth Fairy, for Shame!!!!

Large Deck Rose
This is where faeries like to play, dream, and hide on my deck

My relationship with the Tooth Fairy has been a long one, since I started having children when I was twenty and I still have an eleven-year-old at home. My daughter, who is 23, still has, the pink corduroy hand made sewing kit, with a maroon heart embroidered on the front, that she got from the Tooth Fairy when she lost her first tooth. The Tooth Fairy, at my domicile, has never been interested in mere coinage. There are letters left, pictures, books, magic stones, and strangely deeply wished for items that have been exchanged for the teeth of my children. She really goes all out at our place, or at least she did. Sometimes, currency was used, and my children were left wondering about the identity of such a whimsical and unpredictable being. Since the Tooth Fairy and I share a common love of and profound delight in the wonders of the world, this was always a good thing.

At our house, there is also the dynamic of two radically different people who are married to each other and parenting together. You have me, the very spiritual, Jewish Mama, Lay Leader for her congregation, taker care of people (both those living in need and those who have died and preparing them for burial), loud, good food cookin’ and lovin’, friend of angels and fairies, wild woman AND the taciturn logical, paragon of sobriety (my husband). Throw in a Tooth Fairy and it gets complicated.

So, our youngest had started to question the existence of my friend. This, of course, prompted the conversation with me that the Tooth Fairy is fairly sensitive and tends to stop visiting once her existence is questioned. That statement was met with the comment that “I still believe in her, Mom.” But, mom could tell this wasn’t really true. Yet, there was just an edge of doubt in his voice, and perhaps of hope in my heart, that he really wasn’t quite sure. He hadn’t completely 100 percent moved into the daddy zone.

In case you haven’t figured this out yet, Daddy doesn’t believe in the Tooth Fairy.

Even though Daddy doesn’t believe in her, he occasionally has had to fill in for her over the years. Daddy has had to take on Tooth Fairy duty when Mommy fell asleep before she could be hosted. For me the Tooth Fairy and I dance together and exist simultaneously in the same body on those magical nights when a tooth has been placed under a pillow. So, it was one of those nights, recently. Mommy was asleep; Daddy was on call for Tooth Fairy duty. In the morning, Ethan comes into our room and informs me that the Tooth Fairy forgot to come by. Daddy responded to this announcement with a reminder that since we had just come through the pass near Bend, Oregon full of snow with lots of stops to put on and take off our chains, the day before, that perhaps the Tooth Fairy was delayed due to having to put “chains on her wings.” Mommy gave Daddy a gentle whack under the covers, but Ethan seemed to accept this explanation.

So, things were all set for the Tooth Fairy to visit the following night. Ethan was having trouble falling asleep and Mommy again nodded off before she could do her rounds. So, the task fell to Daddy again. In the morning, our son enters our bedroom groggy and befuddled. “Mom, I’m really confused, about the Tooth Fairy.” “Why, honey?” “Well, yesterday she forgot to come and this morning there is some money under my pillow but the tooth is still there, the Tooth Fairy doesn’t make sense.”

“Hmmm, that is strange. Well, perhaps her bag had a hole in it or something. Let’s try again tonight.” My son went to the bathroom and I turn to my hubby and say to him. “HELLO!!!! IT’S A TRANSACTION, MONEY FOR TOOTH!” Before we can continue our conversation, our son reappears and my beloved husband says. “Well, this is Humboldt County, perhaps our Tooth Fairy wasn’t flying on all-four cylinders last night.” At this point I get out of bed and forcefully, just shy of shouting say: “I can’t believe you would impugn the Tooth Fairy in that way!” My husband is cracking up and our son has a quizzical expression on his face. So, I start laughing too. Alas, the Tooth Fairy probably won’t ever visit our home again after this incident. Perhaps, I’ll get lucky and have grandchildren who lose their teeth while visiting, something I will be praying for from now until then.

The other important detail you need to know to understand this story is that unlike most of this county, we don’t partake of anything that could negatively impact our functionality as parents. We’re a pretty squeaky clean operation here, much to my wild woman frustration sometimes. I don’t ever want my parenting to be impaired. Even though we choose to fly/parent sober, sometimes we forget certain important details like remembering to take the tooth BEFORE you deposit the payload under the pillow.

We are also veterans of raising two children (now 21 and 23) who survived growing up in Humboldt County where being offered a joint whenever they were in town was a regular occurrence. We have prepared our youngest the same way we did the other two. We have armed our children with our stories, and experiences from the past. If I start talking about the past now, this will turn into a huge tome. Suffice it to say, that I stopped doing drugs, even though I never did that much, when I was 18. I realized then that I didn’t need the drugs to feel the way the drugs made me feel. I walk around all the time feeling in awe, very sensitized and in love with everyone without help from any outside substances.

Our older children navigated the local territory pretty well. We trust our youngest, despite this recent Tooth Fairy impugning incident, will also make the right choices for himself. We will be there for him, despite or because of the fact that we live in this idyllic county. We will be fully present to facilitate the next few intense years of our son’s life as he journeys into puberty and beyond. He will probably be navigating them minus a belief in whimsical childhood things, much to my dismay. He can’t really get away too easily from the Giant Whimsical Thing he lives with though………………me!

Nicole (a.k.a. Mommy or Giant Whimsical Thing) lives in Bayside and channels the Tooth Fairy on occasion. She hopes your experiences with wonder never cease, regardless of your relationship with the Tooth Fairy, who visits Humboldt County, unimpaired in her full glory wherever she is invited. Just so you know, Fairies don’t need any kind of drugs; they’re like Mommy, already in an altered state, high on the nectar of the dew and the rays of sunshine or raindrops and the magic of the planet.

~ Original article from Just Being Frank Opinion Column for the Arcata Eye  ©Nicole Barchilon Frank on June 2, 2008