The stoneman has gone off to lunch, perhaps. Or been chased away by native animal: black bear, moose, fox, even turkeys can run a man off. More likely, though, the stoneman has been gone for a long long time. The stoneman’s daughter, as well. But the stoneman’s granddaughter comes by here at dawn and dusk. She thinks over her busy day, remembers her stoneman roots, and finds strength in the landscape and the manmade hardscape. The fallen stones reveal her grandfather’s plan and process; she studies it. One day her busy days will be done and she will build her own stone wall.
I saw Stephen Gatter’s work while on vacation, and it is riveting; his process fascinating: “I start with buckets of white pulp…I add my pigments to make all the colors I will be needing. I proceed to pour them together for the specific hues I want….I fill up to thirty vats with all shades and hues. The work starts on wet woollen felt which receives the pulp and lets the water drain away…” See and read more at http://www.stephengatter.com and watch for him in New England.
I am queen of the helicopter parents. But there are enough of us that we are becoming a social problem. Here’s my story.
Thing 1 was coming, they couldn’t stop him, it was only 24 weeks and 3 days. Someone asked: should we try to save him? Well, yes. Yes! Ten days later, a team of doctors closed the door behind us to explain brain bleeds, sepsis, meningitis. Shall we pull the plug? Well, no. No!
Babydaddy laid hands on him every day, massaged him when he was ready. For the three months he was in intensive care, and the three weeks at an intermediate hospital, I would get up in the night and pump breast milk, thinking about my baby across town. Babydaddy delivered it every morning, earning the name “milkman.” It was funny.
We had every therapy going for as long as possible: early intervention, the intermediate unit, private therapies. Terms multiplied: sensory processing dysfunction, sensory integration problems, orally defensive, auditory sensitivities, comprehensive developmental delay, cognitive function impairment, retinopathy of prematurity. He did occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, play therapy; we consulted with a neurologist, school psychologist, wraparound service provider, developmental specialist. He worked with an occupational therapist for a year and a half to tolerate teeth and hair brushing.
Not surprisingly, parenting didn’t feel natural. I learned to read to my baby watching Phyllis, our physical therapist. Voices, commentary, labeling colors, counting… she was very good! Merging professional research skills with my genetic propensity for silliness (mom was class clown, dad’s distantly related to Lucille Ball), my mothering style came together. Eventually. But I still channel Phyllis on occasion.
Thing 2 was full term. They are complete opposites; she is a sensory seeker with a wild sense of adventure and an inventive sense of fashion. Keeping them both busy and happy is an exasperating and sweet challenge. I still believe that every day can be fun and educational while reinforcing kids' boundaries. I’m on a mission to save us helicopter parents from ourselves. No more bubble wrapped kids and guilty parents. Let’s teach them coping skills. Let’s get fun.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized
. Bookmark the permalink
Wonderful work ! The dedication,the belief and understanding of the importance and relevance of the stones is striking.
Thanks so so much. I’m really delighted to have this opportunity for what I’ve come to see as meditations. Thanks for reading!
p.s. do look at Gatter’s other work, it’s very beautiful.