Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch: Four Boys

There seems to be a movement developing - as I am once again bringing to you a guest author who is writing on the topic of being vulnerable. The author of my last guest post, Jan Avellana introduced me to this quote by Frederick Buechner from his book Telling Secrets -- writes "What we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else. It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are . . . because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing. It is important to tell our secrets too because it makes it easier . . . for other people to tell us a secret or two of their own . . . ”

And so without further ado, I introduce to you my friend Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch, the author of two bestselling books on Encaustic Wax Painting and the brainchild behind EncaustiKits and EncaustiCamp, here today to share vulnerably from her heart the story of four boys.... 








And then there was one~

Vulnerable:  tender, precious.
These words come to mind and more when I think of being vulnerable.  Oftentimes connoting negative imagery, on the contrary vulnerable has proven to be my greatest ally.

Four boys.
Giving birth to and raising one child catapults you into a place of vulnerability-your heart tears open wide- your senses go on a keen alert; perhaps likened only to the alert necessary to keep oneself alive in a battle ravaged war zone…
for the next eighteen years your hearing, seeing, smelling, even tasting and touching are all hair-triggered to the being that just tore your heart away and at the same time filled it full.
I have four boys.
four red headed, left handed, brilliantly wonderful boys. Men now, I must admit, since they tower over my 5'6^" frame by more than a head each....
'Have four boys': I read that again and wonder on what it means. How it is defined. For to have, implies I hold them, possess them, am with them.
I don't.
I don't have each and every 'finish your breakfast' 'don't forget to brush your teeth' 'have a great day I love you' days. I don’t have them all under my roof.
They are 2200 miles across this great US. Land locked in the center of the mitten state.
My boys.
It wasn't always this way. I married their father fully intending to 'till death do us part' never part. Raised Catholic, conservatively protected, 'always stay together no matter what' family history; I was trained to live no other way.
And then we failed. Marriage crashed. Trust departed. Love, exposed never existing love, vanished of possibility and we were no longer together. Parted.: Yet not yet 'until death'.








Four boys.
Amicably; that's what we called our efforts to remain centered around raising the boys; amicably communicating.
And so we left the decision of whom to live with up to each individual child. For a year I continued as mom of four; everything I had ever known and been still intact and all appearances of carrying on properly fortified.
Until Daniel left.
I put him on a plane with a stilted, hard-fought smile that came crushing down as I hit the passenger seat of my ride home.
Conner went next; but not so painfully.
 Taking off at eighteen to find his wings he returned to the fold three months later; growing into his leaving in stages until finally flying at twenty.
Brian was close behind.
Just shy of his sixteenth birthday.  I'd begun to play the game in my head that Daniel had gone off to boarding school; and so took up the same mind game with Brian’s departure.
So much too soon before I was ready to release them from my fold.
So vulnerable.
But in this vulnerable, real. In this vulnerable, pieced back together. In this vulnerable, throwing away the super glue and no longer furiously trying to hold the pieces together. In this vulnerable, realizing I had the super glue inside of me all along.
Tender.
This didn’t make it easy. It didn’t make it make sense. It didn’t ward off the demons of judgment telling me ‘what kind of mother are you?! That your children would leave?!’
But it made it possible.
And that was enough.
To wake up to. To begin again to. To open my eyes to.
Four boys.





Daniel's departure had prepared me for the reality of living this new way; his growing potential for success, thriving in his 'only child' status under his father's roof had proven hugely positive.
And so despite being newly sickened by my second child's early departure, I was nonetheless a bit more emboldened to trust it was a good thing. And,
Patrick remains.
At sixteen now himself, he steps into the next stages of life firmly determined to finish under my roof. I am grateful, yet also recognize the immense value of the long distance mothering I've been gifted in my others' departures.
Vulnerable to trusting my boys to a world I don’t trust. Vulnerable to trusting them to trust who I am. Vulnerable to trusting them to still let me be mom; without being able to make them dinner, and kiss them goodnight, and watch out the window as they walk up the road with their backpack slung low…
So vulnerable. Yet, so empowered.
Precious.
Giving birth once, twice, thrice then four times proved to not be the real picture of vulnerable after all.
Their before their time leaving did.

Because life turned.
And from vulnerable: weak, defenseless, exposed, came vulnerable: tender, precious.
I am momma.
I am confidant.
I am counselor.
I am encourager.
And I am believer.
Their leaving has given me space to give birth to more, while birthing in them more.
More than their next meal or homework assignment or chore.
More than their clean clothes, brushed teeth or washed hands.

I couldn't have, in my worst nightmares, have seen their early departures from my fold, but in my wildest dreams, couldn't either have foreseen the beautiful growth of confidence, opportunity and courageousness that was gifted not only to them in this independent decision, but in myself as well. Stepping into motherhood in a whole new way and becoming an inspiration and hero to my boys.
I have four boys.
And it is so vulnerable.
And it is good.

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