Saturday, January 8, 2011

January 8, 2011 ~ Day 30
What Himmelman Says...

"In the case of a moth eclosing from a tight cocoon, it is essential that it squeeze out. I read an account in which a well-meaning human, in an attempt to help the moth, cut open the cocoon to make its exit easier, like helping a chick break out of its shell. However, the moth came out severely deformed. Squeezing out of a cocoon is part of the process it has evolved over the millenia. Perhaps it is necessary to push out excess fluids."

-From "Discovering Moths: Nighttime Jewels in Your Own Backyard" by John Himmelman, 2002


My chiropractor is a bit of a poet. Not that he writes actual poems (although, he might!) but more in the way he views the world and expresses his thoughts. I look forward to my appointments with him as much for his interesting perspective on the world as for the realignment of my spine.

As the father of twin teenage daughters, he's 'been there and done that' ~ meaning that he knows a lot more about parenting than my husband and I do so far. He and his wife are seven or eight years ahead of us on the learning curve, times two.

So when we chatted yesterday during my late afternoon appointment, I confided in him the frustration I've felt lately in watching my son struggle with friendships and the loss of Beth. I told him how frustrating it feels not be able to make things easier for my boy and asked if he had any advice.

What a wonderful response he had.

It really set my head on its ear, so to speak. A whole new way of looking at things.

He told me about Himmelman's views on moths and butterflies, reminding me that there is a good reason for everything in nature ~ including the social struggle. "You can try to do it for him," he said, "You can try to cut the hole in his cocoon larger to prevent him from hurting as he struggles through childhood into adulthood... but if you don't let him go through the natural process on his own, he may ultimately turn out like that poor moth who actually NEEDED to struggle out of its cocoon to dry its wings and ready it for flight... if you step in and try to do it for him, you might be hurting more than you are helping."

What a piece of wisdom to casually throw into my lap. Wow.

I love the way a change in perspective can suddenly change the way the entire world looks. Suddenly I see my son's current anguish over Beth's move back to Australia as his greatest opportunity yet - the opportunity to learn the value of true friendship so that he will never take a friend for granted again.

Losing Beth forces my son to work harder to act outside of his natural comfort zone. She was such a gregarious little spirit ~ cheerful, friendly, outgoing ~ she took charge of making friends for both of them. Without her, our boy will have to face his own fears of rejection and interact with new people.

Right now he feels only the pain of loneliness but one day (soon, I hope!) when he does make a new friend, the sweetness of finding another kindred spirit will be even more precious to him. It is also possible that he will develop resilience and optimism.

In the end, we may look back upon this time of transition as the beginning of huge growth and a wonderful year. It is exciting to think about that prospect.

Thank you Dr. D for reminding me that I cannot spin cocoons thick enough to shelter my babies from harm without suffocating them... and that they must forge their own way into the world guided by instinct (and our love) to spread their wings wide and fly.

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