Thursday, January 10, 2008

Regrieving and Pregrieving


My dad sent me an article about how kids have to regrieve with developmental milestones. It was apropos of a conversation about the Bunny suddenly feeling really upset about the death of our old dalmatian even though it has been over a year. She had just described it like a clock that had come full circle to point to the grief again. I was very glad to get the article to back her up because I was honestly feeling a little impatient about it. I really wish I didn't have that reaction. I want to be endlessly patient and sympathetic and yet I really feel like I just want her to move on, to stop focusing on sad past events and get over it already! I'm sure there is not just a little guilt about how I ran over the poor dog at play in my reaction yet even when we can see our private and unattractive motivations it's not that easy to reroute our behavior. However, knowing that she is just being a normal kid and not vindictively twisting the guilt knife in my back helps a bit.
Last night it came out that she also had a moment (how long, minutes? an hour? I have no real recollection) on the day that Wendy was born during which she thought that I had been the one that had died. I don't know how that happened. She says that dh just told her "someone died" without specifying. I suppose in the midst of such a shocking and tragic event it is possible if not likely that he wasn't specific. However it happened or didn't it makes me so sad to thing that on top of everything else she had that kind of fright that she'd lost her mother! The poor kid. When will it all fade out for her? And for me? She brought this up after asking me if I felt sad about "letting Wendy down". Sheesh, talk about a loaded question. I mean, now I know exactly how it happened that I let Wendy down but do I really have to rehash it all for my 6 year old? Is there really ever a time when a parent can level with their child about how small unrelated moments and mistakes and missteps build themselves into a deadly chain? Is there really a time when she'll be able to forgive me and dh for our inattention that robbed her of her sister? And how does one lay it all out without sounding either overly defensive or callously aloof? No obvious answers there!


Recently my reading has included a very slow browse through James Howard Kunstler's The Long Emergency. A book about the disaster on the horizon for civilization as we know it when the oil runs out. It's not exactly a new idea but it is one I hadn't given a tremendous amount of thought to previously. So far I've only made it through the initial explanation of why oil is about to become obsolete and why alternative energy sources aren't going to be able to jump in and pick right up where oil leaves off. It's pretty depressing. Not just the prospect of modern life as we know it disappearing from the menu but the hubris that got us here. Of course hubris is nothing new, it brings down every major civilization doesn't it? And each new empire allows itself to believe it has learned from the mistakes of its predecessors. Well, whatever. Here we are and it will be our job to try to make the best of it, however the crisis unfolds. So recently I've been thinking more and more about the wisdom of emphasizing the skills of self-sufficiency. I'm not talking about caching weapons or anything too nutty, but I think it would be appropriate to learn and teach the girls how to grow a real sustainable garden, how to raise animals for food and transportation (yes Bunny! I do mean having a horse!), how to make instead of buy. I know that it won't be pretty for most of the world when the power goes off but I'm allowing myself to hope for the best for our upcoming new life on a small island.


Katherine said...

Hugs, P. She's asking some tough questions. I don't have any words of wisdom, but I can say that the Bunny is lucky to have such a thoughtful and considerate mama.

Christene said...

Hey P. I can totally understand the developmental regrieving milestones idea. I believe it goes on even into adult developmental milestones, do we ever really stop developing? I still regrieve my father's death, but I think I recover from it faster as time goes by. Remember that you too are allowed to regrieve...