Censorship. Against it.

Where the mind is without fear

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

~Rabindranath Tagore




There is a painting above my fireplace.  I painted it when I was pregnant with Nik.  The urge to paint it was overwhelming and I couldn’t function until it was all out of me, and on the canvas.  When I was done, it was as though a part of my soul was sitting outside my body. 

A few days ago, Anjali looked at it, and then at me, and then back at the painting, and finally, with real frustration in her voice, asked: “What IS that, mom?  What does it mean?”

And that opened up in me a flood of emotions and memories.  In my mind, I was painting it again, and then when I was done, standing back and looking at it, and realizing what I had done, and how much of what I had gone through to get to that point in my life, that miraculous point in my existence where I had a living, kicking, healthy baby in me that was going to stay, and be born… how much of all that was in that painting. 

And then I looked at the beautiful boy who was sitting there at the kitchen counter, eating his cereal, looking at me, waiting for me to answer his sister.

And I started crying.  Large gulping sobs tore out of me, frightening them.  I saw them look at each other and I knew I had to say something. 

So I said: “I painted that when Nik was in my tummy.  It is a picture of all the darkness and sadness that was my life before Nik, and it has the babies that I lost, and it shows how I felt that God was giving me another chance and finally trusting me with Nik.  And giving me a vision of what his power is, tearing through all that darkness.  And that, at the center, is Nik.  But I didn’t know that was what I was painting until I was done.”

Anjali nodded, and looked at it again.  And Nik looked at me and said: “You lost babies?”

So I told them.  I told them that they had a sister and a brother that died before they were born.  And Nik looked at me with so much empathy in his eyes, that I was crying again.

And he said, “I think they are with God.”

I nodded.

And then: “They are with God.  I know it.”

Now I know it too. 

Fail. Or not fail.

Nik: “mom, when I grow up, I want to be a game designer.” He’s already doing this. I told him that he doesn’t have to wait until he’s grown up.

And coincidentally enough, I saw this TedTalk video on a leadership blog.

This is why I tell my son that he can do whatever he dreams of doing…and that there is no need to wait. I am not going to be the parent who hides behind my fear.