I follow Erika Morrison on Instagram. I don’t know how I found her. But, I have highly admired that she is comfortable enough in her own skin to wear her hair in a fairly unconventional cut. This drew me in … and I have loved her feed.
Yet, my favorite IG images have been those involving her children. She encourages her children to explore themselves and the world.
Click here to see a perfect example of that parenting style in action. She says,
“i’ll give him any haircut, hairdo or hair dye he asks me to.
i’ll hold his hand when he gets his next piercing,
because i want to be present when he’s self-exploring,
because self-exploring is best anchored in unconditional love.
and yet, it’s wisdom to tell him
to wait on getting that tattoo until his skin is done stretching:
“we wouldn’t want the depth and design to lose its integrity as you grow.”
This is how I relate to my own children. Children begin to assert their independence as soon as they have the strength to do so. An infant will turn her head away from someone in her personal bubble. A toddler declares his dislikes with a strong “NO!” Middle schoolers become dishonest when they believe their actions will not be embraced. And high schoolers may simply rebel … and close you out.
I set boundaries for the children under my authority, but if their square corners won’t fit into my round, preconceived ideas of fashion or opinion, I have made the decision that I will allow them to make their own choices. I don’t think it is my personal job to smooth and sand their square edges into the pretty, little circles that I have fashioned. Why would any parent want to force a child to behave in a way that the child absolutely rejects (speaking, of course, within legal and moral boundaries) ? If they cannot stretch their wings during their teen years, they will early adulthood. And by then, they will be long gone from my nest of influence. My clout will be lessened and they may stretch their boundaries much farther and wider than they would have had they had the opportunity to do a little exploring while still at home. We’ve all known the kids who left home and “went wild.” Or the children who struggled because they were “never good enough” to please their parents.
I don’t want to be that parent.
I have to admit that I’ve often looked at Erika and wondered how does she “do it?” How does she walk in her own uniqueness with such confidence? How does she so bravely wear her hair like that? And be a mom like that? Doesn’t she … worry about rejection? How does she embrace herself?
And now I know.
Like me ….
and probably like you …
she has struggled.
And she has written a book with stories
to help us excavate our uniqueness
as she explores hers.
She recently mentioned that her new book will be released tomorrow
so I went to Barnes and Noble to pre-order it …
and it was already on the shelf waiting for tomorrow’s release date!
So, I bought a copy right then!!
You KNOW how much I love questions.
I thought I might burst wide open
right there in the parking lot as I peeked at the introduction!
With line upon line of poetic prose
and probing, revealing ideas for personal examination,
my interest was stirred.
I headed home, opened the cover and began the journey.
and I highlighted.
and I decorated.
and I took notes.
somehow felt like a catalyst
untangling the few remaining messy feelings that I still have about myself.
With my word of the year, “desire”
and my searching to uncover
what I really want or desire (rather than what others expect of me),
this has been a good year
My youngest and I sat at the table Saturday morning with coffee and pound cake
and I read several pages of Erika’s book out loud.
I found myself being asked, “So Mom, do you think
the goal in life is to find yourself
or create yourself?”
These are my favorite mornings … the ones that involve my children
and deep conversation,
sharing opinions and ideas
and an open back and forth of dialogue.
Erika says she wants to make the word “bandersnatch” into a verb.
I’m looking forward to reading this wonderful book
how “bandersnatching” can be a positive thing.
Bandersnatching is bringing me joy right now.
What makes you happy this marvelous Monday afternoon?