Archive for the Learning Mama Category

Reincarnation: The Upside to Dying

Posted in Autumn Wilder, Learning Autumn, Learning Mama on April 27, 2009 by Michelle Taylor

I’ve been so tired of talking about dogs.  This obsession of Autumn’s is going on three years now.  We talk about breeds, what breeds she wants, when is she going to get another dog – when, when when? Then we talk about what they eat, what kinds of beds they like, what kinds of bowls they should have, what dogs have fur verses hair, etc.  And I’ve had my fill.

But since the topic of conversation has turned to death, I’m all about bringing the dog conversations back.  We are constantly, especially in the car,  having these intense death conversations.  She’s scared, worried and obsessing about something new.  But I don’t want to think about it because then I start obsessing too.

I’ve been trying to tell her all of the things that different people think about the afterlife.  And when I told her about reincarnation, she was totally on board.  Now she mostly talks about what we are going to be after we die.  According to her, she’s going to be a dog, I’m going to be an owl and her dad is going to be a zombie.”  Apparently he has some work to do in his next life.


Of Love, Hope and Death

Posted in Learning Autumn, Learning Mama on April 13, 2009 by Michelle Taylor

Jumping right back in:

Tonight, around 11pm, I heard the soft whisper of, “Mom,” come from Autumn’s room.  I thought she had been asleep for a while but as I walked into her room, she was sobbing, “I don’t want to die.”  Holy cow.  How to manual where are you???

How easy it would be to just pass the buck to Heaven and all the glories possible within the pearly gates.  But since I’m not sold, even after years of indoctrination, I’m on the fly here.  Because she’s worried, about leaving her friend Brigit and her grandma and me and her dog and she doesn’t know what a freakin’ spirit is and if there is one and if we’ll see each other again and when it will happen and I’m frankly just as clueless as she is.

So we lay together and I tried to convince her not to worry about it and that death usually comes with old age and that our love will always be and I’m crying but hiding it and she can’t breathe because of all the tears and I didn’t think it was possible to fit one more worry into my brain.  But I’ve managed to squeeze it in anyway and hopefully it lightened her load to let me take it.

I can only hope.

Around the Block and Back Again

Posted in Adventures, Autumn Wilder, Learning Mama, Writer Mama on April 13, 2009 by Michelle Taylor

For a while now, I’ve been trying to decide whether to continue this blog or not. Autumn is getting older and I want her to start having a say in whether I talk about her in this space. Also, when I write about controversial topics or topics that people close to me have other opinions about, stuff happens – people get upset, judgmental, hurt. So, I decided to stop or at least take a long breather, after a rather large family debacle.

I actually started this blog to be a companion, an alternate view of me as I documented my mama life through my column at Mamazine. My column had my alternate voice, the political nature of motherhood, the down and dirty, nitty gritty, no fluff side. And of course I was hit with a truck load of criticism. So, I created this space to show that I could mix gritty and soft. Then Mamazine sadly stopped its publication last month.

I decided that I might just follow suit and I wrote my last post, at least for a while. Then I begin to feel a little like I was missing one of my limbs or at least my therapist. Then I went back through my archives and read the story of a life, of many lives, of this journey of childhood, motherhood – good and bad. What a document my child will have, a document most of us don’t have of our childhoods and the inner thought of our moms. And then I realized that if I stop here, the documentation of our life together will end. And I possibly may need this space to get through my days as a mom, a partner and teacher.

I didn’t realize how very important it was to my life. How much I depend on sending my worries and joys out into the cyber world, whether anyone reads them or not. It’s the process – the decompression at the end of the day, the deconstruction of hard and joyous moments that help me move on to the moments ahead.

Who knew. So, I think I’ll take a break. But I just have to leave the possibility of returning, of continuing this rant, this roll, this journal of our lives as we piss people off and bring people joy – at least for a little while longer.


Posted in Autumn Wilder, Learning Autumn, Learning Mama on February 18, 2009 by Michelle Taylor

I began writing this blog because sometimes I feel a little crazy as I move along this path of mama-hood.  Sometimes when I read other blogs, blogs that actually tell the truth, rather than tie everything in a neat little bow for the world to see, I feel a connection, a real sense of “I’m not alone in this”.  And I know that’s cliche’ but it’s the truth.  Mama blogs that only show the sun shinning, the peace lingering, the perfect set of child and parents mingling don’t give me half as much as the dirty truth of  the “in trenches” mama blogs.  I began writing this blog not only for me but for those parents who feel this same way.  Yes, sometimes I purposefully create posts that are sunny and lovely, if I didn’t someone would surely report me for all the questioning that goes on within these pages.  Although those sunny days are also just as true.  I’m all for being positive and seeing the bright side of life but sometimes I don’t want to.  I want to lay it out for myself and for some other parent who might be feeling the same way.  I don’t want sympathy or opinions for that matter, I just want those other mama’s to know that they aren’t alone.

And yes I know that sometimes I seem:

  • like I’m about to lose my mind
  • crazy
  • moody
  • over-dramatic
  • over-emotional
  • irrational
  • stubborn
  • one-sided

but don’t we all sometimes and isn’t that okay?  Isn’t that the beauty of this trip?  So, just in case you’re worried, we’re fine.  No, I’m not ready to separate from my child and yes, I think that is okay.  No, she’s not going to be harmed by continuing to go to school at one of the best schools in the city just because I’m also there.  Yes, I need to step back more at school and let her work it out.  Yes, she’s perfectly fine the way she is even if that isn’t like anyone else I know (in fact it is probably a good thing).  Yes, I have re-evaluated my expectations of her and of myself and that has taken so much pressure off.  Yes, I need to believe in both of us more, don’t we all need to?  Yes, teacher’s have doubts too.  No, I really don’t have any answers, I’m only trying to do the very best I know how each and every day like so many other people I know.  Yes, she’s my child and thankfully I get to make the decision about her life, at least for now.

I just love her and want the very best I can give her.  She’s my one and only.  She’s my setting sun.  And we are so imperfect in our perfectness together.

Move along now.  There’s nothing more to see here.

On Grieving and Being Brave

Posted in Autumn Wilder, Learning Mama on February 6, 2009 by Michelle Taylor

I am grieving.  The easier part of parenting.  The feed and water part.  The cuddle and change part.  The play and negotiate part.  Although feeding, changing and negotiating have never actually been very easy in our house anyway.

But this is different.  Decisions.  Real, non-hearth and home decisions.  I don’t know how to send my girl out into the world.  I really don’t.  With every ounce of my being I don’t.  I think coming to the realization that she isn’t quite like most of the kids that I see on a day to day basis.  That the world is a little harder for her to take on, take in and deal with.  Just the way that food is hard for her to eat and clothes aren’t comfortable and sleep only comes after long struggles and hours of trying .  And the way transition sends her into a full tailspin each and every time, even after five and a half years.

I just wonder how it is all going to go down.  If the anxiety of not being with me or her dad will keep her in suspension the entire day if she were away from us.  If holding it together all day long will create even more anxiety, more tension in the evening hours when it’s already hard enough to face dinner and bedtime.

All I want for her is for this life to be easy and fun.  But it already seems to be a struggle and it’s breaking my heart with every breathe I take, each and every moment of the day.

Talking It Out

Posted in Autumn Wilder, Learning Autumn, Learning Mama, Teacher Mama on February 2, 2009 by Michelle Taylor

I’ve been thinking non-stop about next year and all of our myriad of possibilities for “school” and Autumn.


1.) Stay at our wonderful school with me (which has been the plan forever.)

2.) Homeschooling with the co-op we’ve been working on creating with wonderful people that we’ve known for five years (the plan that seems to best fit Autumn’s way in the world).

3.) Go to a wonderful new school that will probably cost more money than we have but that would give Autumn her very own space, something that I sometimes think would be good for her.

I’ve tried not to talk about any of this to others in front of her although we’ve had small discussions with her about it, especially after the school visit.

The other day on the way to “our” school, I was driving and all of these wonderful yet stressful options were going through my head at rapid speed while I waited for the stop light to turn but I hadn’t spoken about them at all.  I heard Autumn from the back seat start to cry and when I asked what was wrong she said in the most heart breaking way, “Mama, I don’t want to go to a new, far away school, I want to go to our school, it’s the best school.  I want you to be my teacher.  I promise that when I’m older, I’ll go to a new, far away school.”

Searing heart pain at the stop light for Mama.

Because no matter what, no matter what anyone says, no matter what could possibly be best in the “general sense” for any and everyone (boy do people have a ton of opinions when it comes to school and what is best for your child), I will never be able to leave Autumn somewhere that makes her heart break that way.  We are going to continue talking, processing and visiting the school but at the end of the day, she gets to have a say in what happens.

And dammit we are just meant to be together, us two heart breakers (because in my opinion it is okay to be close and protective of your child).

The End.

New School?

Posted in Learning Autumn, Learning Mama, Teacher Mama on January 28, 2009 by Michelle Taylor

I’m one of those parents.  The kind of parent that makes me a little nutty as a teacher.  Today I went to see a school for Autumn. I went in first while Don and Autumn waited in the car.  It was suppose to be a parent only visit.  I’ve been an emotional wreck over what to do about Autumn and school –  no school, my school, a new school?

But today as I stood in this beautiful school and cried into the shirt collar of a wonderful teacher that I have only met twice, I knew this was the place for Autumn.  I ran down stairs and got Don and Autumn out of the car.  The minute she hit the room, she was invited to play and play she did.  She worked the room like a pro.  I was so happy for her.

She tells me she wants me to still be her teacher and I always will but right now I think she will love going to this school.  We have some more steps to take, more visits to make, more papers to fill out, more money to find but if all goes well, I think I might, just might be able to let her go.  I just need a tear duct plug, so I don’t seem like the crazy mom.

But for now, I have to go do the dishes and cry some more.