Middle English, from Latin resolvere to unloose, dissolve, from re- + solvere to loosen, release — more at SOLVE
a: to deal with successfully : clear up
b: to find an answer to
c: to make clear or understandable
d: to find a mathematical solution of
e: to split up into two or more components especially in assigned directions
: to reach a firm decision about
a: BREAK UP, SEPARATE
the prism resolved the light into a play of color
also : to change by disintegration
b : to reduce by analysis
resolve the problem into simple elements
c: to distinguish between or make independently visible adjacent parts of
d: to separate (a racemic compound or mixture) into the two components
: to make (something, such as one or more voice parts or the total musical harmony) progress from dissonance to consonance
: to become separated into component parts
also : to become reduced by dissolving or analysis
: to form a resolution : DETERMINE
: CONSULT, DELIBERATE
: to progress from dissonance to consonance
: fixity of purpose : RESOLUTENESS
: something that is resolved
settle (on or upon)
Some days as a mom I am not sure of if I am doing the right thing. I think maybe I am pushing too hard or too little. Then I found the multiple definitions of resolve as I tried to flesh out this post about my second born.
As the kids grow up and out, I realize that my resolve to look at the child in front of me and what they need in that moment, which is always connection – connection through attention, connection through boundaries, connection through presence, connection through authorship (writing our own narratives so they can write theirs) – is all that mattered.
“Mom, do you think I can do it? It would be a great opportunity. I don’t know if I can. My coworker says I should go for it, what do you think?”
“Yes of course. If you start studying now, you will be ready in two weeks. You just need a system and work at it every day. You got this.”
This snippet of conversation came at the end of a call a few months ago with my second born, Joey. She turns 20 today.
Joey has left home and is living in Toronto with her grandmother as she works to save money in order to apply to a design program in London for the Fall. She is also applying for a work visa for the U.K.
During our visit to Toronto last November, Chris and I went to dinner at a very fancy and very expensive restaurant. One of those restaurants that you plan to eat before so that you are ok with an overpriced appetizer, accepting the fact that you are paying for ambience, even then you wonder how much they are really spending on the ambience when the lights are so dim you can barely read the menu. It is also one of those restaurants frequented by NBA players, and the likes of Drake, and of course, scores of influencers.
We don’t normally eat fancy, but we really wanted to check out where Joey was working. She was excited for us to meet her coworkers and see the place. Although the food and service were exceptional, what really struck me was how people took the time to say hello and tell us how amazing Joey is to work with. The general manager even came by to say how much they valued her work ethic and her demeanour.
I observed her in her element interacting with customers, her coworkers, and management. She was poised and confident. I grabbed Chris’ hand and squeezed it. He squeezed back and we both held back the tears.
Here is Joey at 5 years old:
No I can’t.
I don’t want to.
I won’t go.
Mom, I can’t. Really, please listen to me.
Notice the “Welcome to Kindergarten” sign behind her.
For the first three years she went to school, I ignored her daily pleas to stay home with me because I listened to other people who told me it was normal and that she would get over it. She never did. Every single day from the first day of school in Montessori at three years old until I finally pulled her out of school at seven years old, she cried hysterically. She would make herself throw up on Sunday nights and she developed eczema all over her body.
Joey is allergic, anaphylactic, to nuts, tree nuts, and shellfish. We thought this anxiety had something to do with her allergies so the naturopath put her on an elimination diet and so we would have to bring our own dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan cupcakes to every birthday party she was invited to and where she would cling to me the entire time. She also wore a medic-alert bracelet and carried an epipen with her at all times.
A neighbour once tried to be helpful and gave me advice. She had a background in child psychology and had been watching my #2, Joey, cling to me as a child. She knew that I struggled with leaving her places, like school and playdates. My neighbour told me to consider therapy and prescription medication. I politely thanked her and said I had another option in mind to try first. I told her that I was just going to follow my intuition as a mother and keep her home with me. We were already homeschooling the eldest and now it was time to homeschool all of them.
Four years after we pulled her from school, she turned 11 years old and I wrote this blog post for her and as an observation of the results on my decision to just keep her closer to me.
She transformed into a new child. She moved differently. She breathed differently. Her nervous system adapted to life at home which was relaxed and calm.
She is an example, and a personal inspiration to me, of the power of neuroplasticity and changing your narrative and how the power of beliefs of those around you about you can make a difference. Who you surround yourself with can determine who you become. As the primary person in my children’s lives, it was MY attitude and MY mindset that mattered most.
Intuitively I knew she needed nature. There would be comfort there, a quiet power, that she could draw from for the rest of her life. Her demeanour often reminded me of the mineral kingdom, the crystal realm – unmoving, reflecting many facets.
In order for her to be comfortable with nature, I had to be. I had to put the layers of clothing on in the winter. I had to deal with the horse flies and mosquitoes when camping.
She grew from a little girl who could only sleep on the top bunk with her tissue box at right angles, to a powerful young woman at nineteen years old, laying down beside her mother in the mud in eight sweat lodges in four days.
From an old post:
I took #2 and #5 on a canoe ride at a friend’s cottage. #2 was a little hesitant because it was windy and she doubted my skills as a paddler and general waterman. I get it. I don’t blame her. I don’t have much experience in the matter but I am quite confident in my physical strength. Maybe over-confident is a better word. I convince her that it will be fun and that we will follow a friend who is very experienced and knowledgeable about the lake and boating in general. She agrees and we set off. The canoe is a bit tippy, as canoes can be, and #5 insists on reaching for every open lily on the water, much to #2’s chagrin. With each lean, the canoe sways. I counter it nonchalantly but secretly running through my mind rescue scenarios should we capsize. I’m pretty sure the marsh wasn’t as deep as we had feared especially since our canoe would get stuck on raised banks half the time. The wind picked up and we started turning sideways. “I got this,” I say as I try to do a three-point turn with one oar. We go backwards and forwards sideways. She wants to turn back asap as panic rears its ugly head and it takes everything in me not to scream, “I’M DOING MY BEST!” Instead I say, “Paddle this way and hard while I steer us to turn.” I’m pretty sure I was doing everything counter-intuitive but my calm voice soothed the situation a little. Then #5 spots a heron and we stop and look. We gaze at it, transfixed on its graceful glide across the marsh as if time has stopped. That old friend. #2 wonders about the nest and if it’s the same heron we saw last year in this marsh. She starts to talk about different types of herons and now we are quiet trying to listen to birdcalls. All the while she is talking, I am able to get us back on track, right side-up. She smiles and is surprised at our change in orientation and happily paddles forward again. A tense moment flees quickly with a 4 year old spotting something that we would have missed in our haste to right ourselves.
“Let me read your personal essay.”
“Mom, I am not a writer like Frankie. It’s all over the place. Please help.”
I didn’t know how changing an environment could give permission to change one’s narrative. She had this revelation about language after we moved here. She took for granted all those years she could speak to people in English and now she had to learn a second language to communicate.
Reading her personal essay for her application to design school, she writes about this change and I have to break it to her that all they want to know is why you want to go to design school. But I know what she means. She wants to go because she never dreamed that one day she could.
When she was home at Christmas, she sat beside me at the dining table doing lessons in Portuguese. Her love of languages continues. She talked about painting again. I caught her and her brother with their sketchbooks one night.
Today she calls often to talk about her health and wellness. After living with allergies all of her life, and having to be sensitive to what she eats, she is very in tune with her body. She is always curious and investigating how to take care of her body. She often calls me during her “Zone 2” time on the treadmill and we end the call because she has to go into the sauna.
We talk about the same thing – her routines, how she is feeling, and how she is creating her life to support her practices. It is a check-in. She asked us to get her DNA analyzed for her birthday (she bought it for herself anyway) and also to buy her next batch of vitamins and minerals. Her new favourite person is Tori, her naturopathic doctor, who also had coached her and her sister in house league volleyball when they were little.
“So Mom, I am just waiting for my DNA test for Tori to analyze. I am so excited to learn about what my body needs to thrive. Ok, gotta go, I have to run into the sauna now. Did you now Dr. Rhonda Patrick does sauna after her workouts too? Anyways, talk to you soon. Love you.”
Each of my children have had their own journeys. I am proud of this child and her journey discovering herself and how she loves the world. This is the first birthday I will not be with her in person. That little girl who could not stray from my side is now living away from home, working two jobs, and getting ready to go to school and move to a country she has never been to in the Fall.
I have realized that it is not just my resolve that is important. I needed to encourage their own resolve, solving their own problems knowing I am a phone call away or that they can draw on a lifetime of teaching moments like sometimes it’s ok to stop and admire the beauty of a heron when you are tired of paddling upstream.
Happy Birthday Joey. Love you, miss you, so proud of you. You are an amazing human and I am grateful to learn with you.