This business of what’s mine? As if I can only love what’s mine and therefore if it’s not mine, I’ll make it mine so I can love it. And, I’ll ignore everything and everyone that isn’t mine, as if I have no responsibility to the community around me.
Or, I’ll force the situation or the person to be otherwise and then it’ll feel and be mine.
The kids belong to the blood, or so the story goes, and so the legal beagles declare they are not the stepparent’s.
As if kids are possessions.
The mother label gives license. The father label gives license, but less than the mother license. As if it takes one or the other of these licenses to help a human grow to maturity.
No, you can’t drive him to school, you’re not the mom.
No, the volunteers in the class will be moms and dads, not stepparents.
The message of kids belonging to parents gets repeated until the echo of it bounces off the inner rooms of a child’s mind and she can’t escape.
The sense of belonging to the parent grows so strong, the simple act of being nice to another person creates internal conflict for the child. Much simpler to simply avoid.
We’ve got it all screwed up.
See, he’s not mine. She’s not mine. No human is mine. Not even my dearest husband. Nothing is yours either, but I won’t argue with you if you can’t see it. You’ll get there one day.
Regarding this not-mine person, I see how easy it is to warp the innocence of the caring, giving, generous child. Have you noticed children begin with that innocence? But, they learn what they see and live with and they want to please. It takes awareness and consciousness and purposeful conversations to keep from walking straight into the trap of raising an egocentric, worried-if-I’ll-get-mine adult.
How do we build a world where the lines of mine begin to blur?
How do we allow a community to raise a child?
How do we let go of our clutchiness?
How do we accept that nothing is ours that won’t be buried with us when we die?
(Note: I shouldn’t need to write a note, but I live in a stepfamily. Inevitably, someone will read and think I’m talking about my personal family and that something has happened that has needed this blog post as a response to that event. In fact, the subject of this blog post has been on my mind for some time now. Caring for my father and the complicated questions of who shows up to help me has been the impetus for me to write about the possessiveness, or lack of it, among humans. We claim as ours when it is convenient and then deny and make reasons for not showing up when that serves us well. And it goes both ways, parent to child and child to parent. Most of all, I wanted to highlight the messiness of it and how often we behave as though completely disconnected from the truest intentions of our hearts.)