Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Missing Shane - the bicoastal parenting predicament

First off if you want to see an adorably healthy little power yogi, check out my son going from downward dog to to a humingbird like fury of "star, pencil, star, pencil", aka jumping jacks. It's too cute. ---Oops, too big to upload here, visit my Facebook page: Rebecca J. Briggs. Second off, this is long. Sorry. I needed to journal this out.

Tonight is a Green Drinks South County pot luck - an event I get to go to minus my little guy. His green little being is in CA with his papa who lives off the grid in the redwood forested wine country of northern Sonoma along the Mendocino County border. Shane's dad is the real thing when it comes to living wild and sustainably-- Biodiesel old Mercedes, fruit trees in the yard, no refrigerator... a generator, the very hot "sun belt" sunshine, and a battery are the wood stove heated house's only power (tunes, tv & late night lights). I'm sure they've been chopping wood, bushwacking through the forest, and nailing down deck planks.

Papa's got a slew of projects any little boy would cherish being able to do with his father's loving eye and aide. Shane's even got his own bedroom to paint, and a keyboard to take piano lessons on. Shane started art classes this week at Gualala's Art Center and is loving it; it's so adorable hearing him share his culinary and arts n' craft projects with me. I call nightly, but I know Shane isn't big on talking if his heart hurts - sometimes he just doesn't want my distraction. He rather stay present, feeling the pangs of missing one of his parents when they are far away is not easy. I call him nightly and when he asks, "So What are you doing Mommy?" I just gasp with love and fondness, savoring the sound of his high pitched adorable little voice (sounds like my mom - voices are maternal you know).

I feel happy for both him and his father, for sharing time together is bliss and their God given right- Shane was with me through his entire kindergarten school year, 'cept for 10 days over the holidays. But what is a mother to do, when the father wants his son on the West Coast year round, while mom and son have been happily homesteading on the East Coast? Papa loves CA, lives almost rent free, and feels he has more work out there (as a Structural Integration Practitioner, aka Rolfer) and he does; although it's tough in this economy. He does not want to come East at all, and it was only last minute that he got himself east at Christmas time- the ole' money, time from work, bla bla bla, as if those are not issues for me as well. Our family and loved ones have shared our bicoastal travel expenses on more than one occassion, mind you.

The real issue here is, he doesn't like me or RI, and while I love Northern CA and have lived out west for more than 12 years of my adult life, and will take a risk with my personal time and money for a CA adventure whenever I can squeeze it out, he is more financially conservative to say the least. CA is outrageously gorgeous, and full of peace and nature loving friends new and old and yet to be made. And yes, I'm a sucker for not receiving any child support during the year from my son's father since we last moved from beneath the Pacific Sky back in Feb of 2007- it's sort of been an unsaid pack that he doesn't have to pay me atnything cuz he doesn't have any $ and it was my choice to move back to RI. (Note, with pleads I've gotten some financial reimbursement on some of Shane's after school care). Yes, Papa can be a difficult Pr-ck to communicate with, which of course he also says about me. We try to do our best with our dharmic & kharmic paths, and I most often give him the benefit of the doubt, because my intuition and heart know how much he cares for and loves his son... until I get another person's opinion, and until I think about how other moms in my position, facing what they may see and have to embrace, would respond or do in my situation. Most women would never get them selves in such predicaments.

It's a tough balancing act, but I do want to get along, for all of our sakes. Life is just too short to waste time fighting. I think, and I may be wrong, because I DO NOT have all the answers, nor do I want to have them, that Shane's father is angry at me for not being who'd he rather of had this amazingly wonderful child with, and i am indeed a symbol of responsiblity- a parent, an authority figure - I am not his parent, but I am one, his son's, and in so doing we are mirrors to each other and all parents. Moreover, our Mercury's are SQUARED - which is an energy of constantly conflicting communication.

Bottom line is I am a mother and I want my son to have a stable footing, and secure feelings regarding his families love and support for him. I want his roots with us to always be supported with nuturance and enriched with a fertile soil of experiences, education and role modeling that will supply him with the confidence to be who he is, a charming, creative, gentle but courageous spirit, loved and loving, silly and smart, sweet and special to us all. His happiness, safety and overall well being, along with love for himself and others are the underlying principles for Shane's upbringing and I do not want him to be a witness to verbal abuse. I must keep my balance around his father, which often means avoiding situations where he becomes an agressor or defender in a mindcreated war that there is no need for. I am learning more about Verbal Abuse and have a few of Patricia ?'s books ordered- I anxiously await there arrival. (Counselors so far have sucked.)

Moreover, I have lived in CA, and love the great beauty and openess, but feel the east coast is a more grounded environment to raise a child in, with outstanding schools and for me a large base of family and friends and a far lesser -in your face- drug culture, that I do not want to have an impressionable child having to deal with on a regular basis. I love both CA and RI and feel confident with my directed effort I can do what I love where ever I am - teach yoga and educate and advocate natural health and sustainability. Thankfully, Shane, God bless his soul, loves travel and adventure and both coasts. Shane does get very attached to people, places and things though, be it his LEO nature, and he has often stated that he wants to go to Matunuck School still, and I would like this as well, for as a former elementary school teacher in both the private and public sectors, out west and in RI, The Matunuck Elementary School, Principal Deb Zepp and the faculty, especially Matunuck's Speech specialist are far above outstanding!

I also have a loving relationship here in RI, though we've never lived together like a family would, we are finally ready to try it. I matter that in as part of my well being and that of my son's, for love and happiness and positive role modeling of loving, respectfully communicative adults is huge. I wish my dad was more respectful to my mom; he's getting better in old age... at least I think he is. I really think and feel I have a keeper relationship, with a responsible, loving man. I feel supported, balanced and loved, and I feel appreciated and respected, especially when I can work on issues of verbal abuse and mental health with this man. That's important, especially when my son has seen his fare share of dysfunctional adult relationships. Lord help us help ourselves.

So I pray daily for peace and freedom from struggles such as verbal abuse, and perhaps if I continue to direct my energy on the positive and envision the very best scenario for all of us all of our energies will flow towards a happy bicoastal situation where my work brings me to both coasts and all of our lives flourish with love and abundance within the two environments.

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