written 21 June 2014
Almost summer. Or is it summer? Solstice day or night is when the season changes. We are preparing to go to Tulum today. Intent on using a tour company but our local taxi driver convinced us to use another local driver who speaks English. We are getting the same tour for a third of the official tour price. Will we be disappointed? From experience, it appears that having the “official” anything does not guarantee proficiency or knowledge — a real tour guide may have a graduate degree in history or may have visited the site once. It would be great to have a fantastic guide — a naturalist who guided us around a park in Costa Rica taught us a great deal — but we’ll bring our guide book and just a few facts and ruins themselves feel sufficient.
Having Cheshire here to speak Spanish is an incredible help.
We are having a good time. I am having a good time. Yesterday, we were lazy. We had our equivilent of not leaving the resort for most of the day. We lounged around our little pool, took frequent dips — I am in love with out tiny pool! — watched a midday movie and napped, and finally made it out of our house to go downtown for dinner in two restaurants and an ice cream bar and shopping.
Julia is spending a lot of her time relatively alone. That Is, she is with us physically. Always. But not always interacting. Instead, she is drawing, playing with leaves or plants or sand, reading or asking to play with her iPad. I need, desperately and not so much, the interaction with adults that my dears, Cheshire and Alice, provide but I also have felt incredibly guilty not constantly interacting with Julia. And yet, Julia’s time is not ill spent. This morning I feel a gentleness come over my feelings. Realistically speaking, the time away from interaction is not in some dark corner but within hearing range, physically together, and available for interaction. This is not different from how all young children are raised. I have wanted to shovel everything that was missing from Julia’s first years into our lives together so that she could “catch up.” At the gut level, I have wanted her to become typical. I am still learning. As I contemplate art lessons for her this summer — art, the last quarter in which Julia does as she wants — I am drawn to think about respecting her integrity, her spirit that expands at its own rate and in its own way. Her not quite appropriate interactions with us and with the people that we encounter are her own becoming herself. I am aware, acutely, that I have the power to squash her soul and suck the creativity out of her. How, in a much, much subtler way, that was done to me. I cannot do that to her. If she be an artist, if she be human, she deserves more than correction and fitting into some box that I have imagined. I am here for her, to protect and defend, to teach but also to be taught. This is a fluid relationship — like all relationships — and I can never allow myself to forget that.