Gran's Apple Butter Blog

April 13, 2011

Going Home, Excerpt: Patches (5/VI)

Chapter 5 ~ Patches
from Going Home, by Mary Batson

Remembering our early years was a bigger loose end than she’d realized at first, Gran said. Then she’d remembered those words about becoming like a child to enter the kingdom, and it all made sense. [i]

We want to take our inner child with us on this journey, so we can see through those eyes and love with that heart. At the same time, we also need to parent that child in healthy ways, to meet our emotional needs and make ourselves feel safe, and to encourage ourselves to have fun just because we want to. [ii]

Of course, we also need to be able to say no when our inner child wants a few too many popsicles or decides the road makes a good playground. Sometimes we may even have to give ourselves a time out, Gran said, but before we do that, we need to figure out where these urges are coming from, which ones are fine and dandy and should be honored, and which ones are just a little too ego-based for our own good.

Some of us have maintained this inner connection, and some of us have lost it. Gran’s inner child wasn’t even on speaking terms with her for a long time – wouldn’t look her in the face, that little girl was so angry. She was mad ‘cause Gran was giving all her attention to everyone and everything else in her life – and keeping none of it for herself. Little Gran was determined to make those feelings known in one way or the other – stepping in at all the wrong times and the worst ways, trying to get that grown-up’s attention.

You know kids, Gran said, they’ll do just about anything to get attention when they need it, even hurting themselves in the process. Until we give them that attention, these children within will try to fill this hole with all kinds of things, from big screen TVs and thirty pairs of princess slippers to unhealthy relationships and even unhealthier habits. We try to patch our holes this way, but it only holds so long, ‘cause this isn’t what we really need. Sooner or later that patch will fall off, and we’ll start trying to fill that hole again.

Eventually it may occur to us to look inside, and when we do, we’ll find the perfect patch kit waiting there. Gran thought that’s one thing our imagination was for, to help us fill those holes. We can get really creative with this – there’s no end to all our options.

Gran’s favorite way to make a patch was to go outside to walk in the trees, listen to the birds, and talk to the flowers. Sometimes I’d walk with her, just for fun. She’d talk to a little flower, then she’d stop for a minute with the strangest look on her face – almost like she was listening – like the flower was talking back. I’ll never forget that look.

One of our favorite ways to make a patch together used our ears: We’d listen to music and we’d dance around and sing as loud as we could, whether we knew the words or not. No matter how big that ol’ hole was, before long we’d have a perfect patch glued on, guaranteed-for-life. Of course, if that hole came with a sniffle, sometimes Gran would have me drink some fresh lemon juice or eat a raw onion. But most times plenty of fresh air, sunshine, and good music would work wonders.

For the biggest holes, Gran suggested I try some Serious Breathing, the long, slow, deep kind. This sounded like napping to me, but even that can be pretty good when you need it. Gran practiced her breathing every day, just a few minutes at a time. More than that interfered with her gardening. She’d light a candle to help clear out the cobwebs, and then she’d just breathe and breathe and breathe. She did admit there was a possibility she was napping here and there, though, ‘cause sometimes she’d wake up with beautiful pictures of home in her head.  

Gran’s friend Marnie said that knitting did this for her, while Uncle Bob used tennis shoes and a long straight road. Gran said anything that let you sink down into yourself in some way would work, just like when she and I would fall into a song and be the music.

To me this sounded a lot like prayer, and that was good, ‘cause I had a lot of practice with prayer. I even had a little book with all my favorite ones. Gran said that little book and the times we sang together and talked to flowers was the best cure for a tummy ache and a very good way to tempt your inner child out of the corner she’s had her nose stuck in for so long. And so far, Gran’s usually been right.

[i] Matthew 18:3-4, KJV
[ii] Think about it: When was the last time someone told you to “Go have fun”?

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
NOW AVAILABLE: Going Home, The E-Book & Going Home: The Tour LIVE – 2 CD set – Mikey and Gran’s story put to music!


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