Thursday, September 30, 2010

Running towards base: Intentional Happiness for the week of October 1, 2010

As children, when playing freeze tag or hide and seek, there was always a free zone or home base. Once you reached and touched it, no harm could come to you. Unfortunately, as adults, we don't always have a tangible base to get to when things get tough.

Last night, my night crawler, Joshua, was up to his old tricks. Prior to the nasty cough from two weeks ago that settled into his chest, Joshua was sleeping through the night in his own bed. However, when he is feeling under the weather or has a bad dream, base is right there between Mommy and Daddy.

But he is going to be 3 1/2. When he comes into bed with us, none of us get a decent night sleep. My husband and I closely resemble zombies of the scariest kind: parents with severe sleep deprivation. It also does not help that my head, face and kidneys are his personal target practice for kicking. I am sporting some fierce bruises, people.

So last night, when he came around and my husband attempted to put him in bed with us, I lost it. I sent Daddy back with Joshua, to his room and bed. It did not go well.

For close to 45 minutes, Joshua wailed and approached the bedroom door, but did not come in. It quite literally broke my heart. Finally, he was howling. I got up, and found him. His tear stained face mumbled something about having to go potty. As he went, I stood, waiting, sleeping with my eyes open.

I tucked him in bed. I went back to bed and lay awake, trying to go back to sleep. And the thought of how we each need a base when things go bad came to mind. And how I took that away from him.

And yet, this morning, he awoke with a smile on his face, eyes bright with rest. His little arms pulled me close to him, fierce in his love for me.

As I looked at each of my sons this morning, I thought of how regardless of what messes life throws at us, this is my base. This is where I long to be, with whom I want to be with, when I need everything to be right.

My mother in law got a taste of that this past week. She had what could have been a MAJOR setback. She underwent emergency surgery and when she awoke later on that morning, she was surrounded by the men she loves the most: her husband and sons. The original four. The original base. And that did wonders for her recovery as she begins anew, working towards healing, gearing up for the fight.

And where she has been our base for a LONG time, it is nice to be that for her and my father in law. Because that's what families do. We are the touchstone, the roots, the wind that carries those who cannot.

As my sons grow older and my role changes as their mother, I imagine that they will always be what I most cherish, what brings me comfort when I am sad. I suppose that the image of them I call to mind will differ as they get older. But for now, those lanky legs and arms, wide eyes and smiles are the most welcoming base that I have ever known.


  1. I love this post, Maria. I never thought about it this way, but my husband and kids are my home base as well. Yes, they deplete me, but they are also where I recharge. They are my safety. Just like the floor in my parents room was when I had nightmares as a kid. (They never let me sleep in the bed, but always allowed me to pull up with a pillow and blanket and park on the side on the occasions when I needed it.)

  2. What a great post about what families are supposed to be to each other. My hubby is my rock, and my kids are my glue. As the grandkids come along, our safety net just keeps growing and growing!

  3. Awww, this was lovely. We have Nightcrawlers (love that term) too. My solution has been to get up, let whichever child who's wandering have my side of the bed and lurch into the offender's room to sleep. Because I am LAZY.

    But you're right--we are home base. And if we think of it that way, it's not such an arduous thing.

  4. This is so, so lovely, Maria. I love your idea of a home base. I think that the biggest shift in my life happened when my base stopped being my parents and started being my husband (and now my sons). Thank you so much for sharing this.

    I'm sorry to hear about your mother-in-law's challenge, but glad to hear that her boys were a safe base for her.

  5. This is beautiful, Maria, and made me tear up. In our wedding vows, Pablo and I BOTH wrote (separately, mind you) that we were eachother's "soft place to land." A year later, again, unknowingly, my mom gives us a pillow for our sofa of our new home that says "Home is your soft place to land." So I suppose the home base/soft place to land...beautiful, necessary idea and reality. Every one needs it. Little Joshua in the middle of the night. Your mom-in-law right now. Everyone. I can honestly say "my men" are my home base. But I also have people outside of my family who are base too. When we have family we can rely on, it's a wonderful thing. When we have family AND friends, that is extra special. Beautiful post. And P.S. don't feel so bad about "taking Joshua's home base away". It's all within know sometimes parenting requires the tough love so everyone is happier later on (and in the morning).

  6. I've been struggling with this, I'll be honest. I love my family to eternity and back. I know I do. I can say I do with all honesty. But...but I feel drained by them. All of them. I find so little pleasure in all of it right now. I chalk it up to us being in a bad stage. A 2 and 3 year old fighting like cats and dogs. A husband working his butt off to maintain his own business. An 8 year old trying to do his best, but constantly failing in our eyes (even though that's the last thing I want him to feel, I think that he feels it).

    So, yeah, I'm struggling. My head knows it's true. My boys are my home base. But my heart isn't open to it. My heart is being selfish. I'm mad at my heart. I'm mad at my head for allowing it to all go on. Man, it sounds like I need some therapy with all of this. Or perhaps a shaman or something...head and heart and blah blah blah.

    Anyway...sorry, lady, but you got me with this one. xo


Tell me what you think...