Firsts: For My First Daughter
Monday, January 1st, 2018
I hope that you are having (or have had) a wonderfully restful, fun, joyful, memorable holiday! I am not sure how much rest we’ve gotten, but we sure have had some fun! Big family gatherings, performances and concerts, and successes such as my own grandmother becoming as close to pain-free as she can be for the first time in decades (I will write about how we accomplished that very soon!).
I have spent the last few months (including the holidays) deep within a creative space while finishing my book, Family Health Revolution. This process has taken me places I really needed to go and has allowed me to communicate what I have learned about family health to other parents like me. It has been cathartic, exhausting, daunting, but mostly empowering, and I can’t wait to share it with you within the coming weeks.
We tend to reflect and create when we have some space to do so, or when we turn our focus to relationships, start to question why we do what we do, ask ourselves what we want and desire and if we are living the lives we want to live, and the holidays, in particular, are a special time full of possibility for the future. The new year brings with it evolved versions of ourselves. We can try to make sense of what we do and why. We can ask ourselves these questions so we can also guide our families. We can reflect and have a good look in the mirror. With the new year comes the potential for change, for newness, for progress, and for creation. Reflection allows us insight, gives us a map toward the goals we set for our futures.
The holidays can be a time of pivotal moments, and one of mine was creating a literary piece I was inspired to write while teaching a creative writing/philosophy class to my small group of lively, inspired and inspirational teens. I wrote a spoken word poem for one of my daughters that is the culmination of everything that has been thrashing, no, rolling, no, splashing around in my head and heart for the last 6 years, or maybe even since her birth 17.5 years ago, about our experiences together. And I feel like this piece is, like her, everything I had hoped for.
Many of you are parents and would be able to relate to what I had to sort out, not necessarily because you have a child with a chronic or life-threatening illness, or because your child has grown out of childhood and into teenhood, or because you have had boughts of burnout or pain or because you have come out the other side ready to allow your child to have wings. But you have had unique challenges and triumphs that have led you to your own conclusions about life and love and what this whole parenthood thing means. For me, it is protecting while allowing them to be independent, it is about guidance in order to empower. For example, I don’t want to tell my children what to think, but that they can and should think. I want them to understand that they can always make a situation better and that those solutions are for them to uncover.
I am sharing this poem with you, fellow parents and caregivers, fellow sons and daughters, in case you find connection within, in case it sparks some reflection of your own, the reasons for my writing Family Health Revolution folded within the stanzas.
Family Health Revolution is not a book of poetry, but a book that expresses, outlines, and demystifies the practicalities and solutions to so many questions I asked and had to answer throughout this on-going journey of parenthood – “how do I raise healthy children so they can have the best life possible when faced with the realities of our often physically, emotionally, and socially toxic environment?”
In my own journey, the “why” was easy to figure out.
The “how,” not so much.
I have spent the last 6 years expanding my own understanding of health. I have spent a great deal of time figuring out how I was going to present the information I wanted to share in this book. And I hope I have done the research of many brilliant family health advocates, researchers, and scientists, my teachers and mentors, my own experience, and the experiences of my family justice.
Although Family Health Revolution is not a book of poetry, I cannot introduce the motivation behind it in any other way than in that poem that poured out from me the other day, a poem I called: “Firsts: With My First Daughter.”
So, in celebration of newness, of possibility, of a healthy, fresh new year full of health and vitality, I wish you all so many more firsts with your own families; some of them joyful, some of them hard, but all of them beautiful.
“Firsts: With My First Daughter.”
Listen to the first take of the audio: (contains mistakes, but you get the idea:)
Happy New year to you and yours.
May you and your family be well,