Saturday, October 16, 2010

Becoming Tracy....

Side Note: I am stealing a little bit with that title from someone who has become a good friend, my go to person on all things green, and someone whose work on her blog I highly admire, my friend Sarah. She makes me laugh, cry, and I believe we may have been separated at birth we have so much in common.

What does it mean to become more of myself? I have always seen myself as growing, learning, and in process if you will. I believe that the day you stop growing as a person should be the day you say goodbye to it all.

In my study of child development, education, and my other passion, the environment, I have often felt overwhelmed. As if there is so much to learn and not enough time. A few days ago we watched Food, Inc and I felt like I would never be able to eat again, much less trust my government to do something simple like, ummm... keep food from killing people. Since then I have even entertained the idea of forgetting it all and living a life as an ignorant, smoking, fast food addict in front of the television all day. I mean it would be easier after all.

But then, there is my son. All of these years of reading, changing, therapy, inner reflection, tough decisions, paying more for the items I purchase, questioning practically everything that most of society takes as blind truth, and standing up for what I believe in even when it made me feel lonely, isolated, and even suicidal was for him. And it continues....

There are so many things I want for him, so many things I am falling short of providing for him, so many days when I feel like I know better than my current actions....

And then there are days when I am reminded about how much I do know, how much I can pass onto other new moms.

Today I was at a park with a friend and we started a discussion about sharing. We talked about the nature of young children and how important it is to not force directly, but to model the virtues we want our children to have. To not constantly take toys out of their hands and force them to share, to stop forcing them to say "please", "thank you", and "I'm sorry", but instead to be grateful ourselves, to show our gratitude, compassion, and love to and for others.

It is in these moments that I realize how much I know to be the right, but more importantly how much I need to continue learning and to make sure I am always doing my very best.

Hopefully one day my son will be able to say that he is grateful he had me for a mother. I know I am always trying to live up to deserving the incredible responsibility of that role.


  1. I don't really know what to say about the food stuff, Tracy, because we go through the same thing. I can remember standing in the grocery shortly after Char was born, lusting after the fruits and vegetables, knowing that we couldn't afford them fresh. Certainly not organic. Never from the farmer's market. I remember wondering about our choices: we were subsisting largely on noodles and meat because it was cheap and I hated it, but eating less-nutritious foods was our compromise for living where we do. Which is more important, we asked ourselves - the physical health of our child or the emotional well-being of our child. Was it worth her living ninety years if she didn't have family to share it with? Conversely, would she hate us if she succombed young to a chronic disease that could have been avoided by lowering her exposure to undesirable elements if she had, at least, the comfort of family? It seemed like a lose-lose situation; we had to be made of money to live near family AND buy healthy food AND give her space to play outdoors AND provide her with a parent at home. And it has been an uphill battle to find the resources that have made it possible for us to go from "ugh, potatoes again" to all-local, sustainably produced ratatouille (dinner tonight).

    I feel like that really shouldn't be the case. The first time I saw Food, Inc. or read Food Politics, I was horrified. I was furious, frustrated, disappointed, and I felt betrayed. The government policy-makers, the meat industry board of directors, the marketers for sugary cereals, on and on and on - don't they have children? Don't they have nieces and nephews? Sisters and brothers? Parents? Spouses? Neighbors? Friends? Don't they have people they love in their lives, people they would do anything to keep safe and sound? And if they do, then why do they allow these practices to continue? How do they go to work with a clean conscience? Does one's pride in having made money for one's company really overwhelm one's desire to provide one's community with healthy foods?

    Anyway, I won't go into that. I still get really down thinking about it, thinking about how the people I trusted to keep my family safe are knowingly doing the exact opposite - and managing that information so that it isn't widely available, so that it took me decades to find out.

  2. What I do want to mention is that Elijah is very lucky to have you as a mother - and you are not letting him down. We are all humans and we all fall short of our ideals; better he learns that from you while you strive to provide him with a wonderful upbringing than he learns that from the outside world. But I guarantee that you're doing an excellent job mothering. Every time we see you guys, I come home telling Donald about something new I learned. Some way I watched you parent that inspired me to reconsider something I had previously taken for granted (i.e. "we don't want to hit our friends" as compared to "no hitting"). Or some tidbit I learned about child development that I find particularly interesting or applicable to our current circumstances. If I hadn't seen Elijah confidently navigating play-sets, how long would it have taken me to realize that Charlotte could too? If I hadn't allowed her that independence, that sense of confidence, that next step in mobile development, would I have been holding her back?

    So not only are you providing Elijah with a loving and nurturing environment, one where he is adored beyond measure and cared for accordingly, you are encouraging the parents around you in big and small ways - some you probably realize up front (like discussions with your friend about sharing) and others you might never know about at all (like parents witnessing you navigate a sticky situation with grace). (Besides, do you know how few friends I have that are actually willing to think about problems and solutions in more than one way? NOT VERY MANY.) In doing your best, you are doing so much more than most, and doing exactly what your son deserves =)

    I promise - you're doing great!

    As well, I totally agree. We were definitely separated at birth. Even my dad agrees. He calls you my hippie friend.

    Everybody should have a hippie friend. That's what I think.

  3. (Sorry I had to do this in multiple comments! I tried commenting yesterday but kept having problems with it. Now I know why: because I talk too much. Literally. There were too many characters.

    This is why I blog. Because I talk too much! Lol.)