Solomon and Salvador are the sun to my sky and the stars to my night. The more time I get to spend with them the better it gets as our bond deepens.
The 3 of us have spent the past 2 weekends together as I an now permitted to do so, and it’s been amazing on a number of levels.
We do lots of play-acting, which I fondly remember doing as a child when I’d spend some weekends at my aunt Minerva’s in Melrose Projects in the Bronx with my girl-cousins – Michelle, Joy, Eraina, Jenine, and Serena. We’d play out different roles thru improvisation and production, building sets using furniture, sheets, pillows and other things. Those were magical moments in my childhood which I now share with my sons, entering their world like I did when I was a child entering my cousins’ world and feeling the magic of play and pretend come alive in me. I am magnified through my sons when I see and feel that same magic come alive in them.
Right now, there imaginary world is Star Wars; other times it’s been dinosaurs, in space, flying planes and rockets, playing baseball like we were in the major leagues, pirates, sea captains, in the jungle, on safari, swimming in the ocean with dolphins and whales, being lions and cheetahs and bears, and on and on and on. Imagination is inexhaustible.
We played baseball and basketball in the bedroom (it was a rainy weekend), transforming it into a ballpark filled with fans cheering their every hit and catch. We watched movies and cartoons and played with toys and invisible things they populated the room with. They love it when I read to them and snatched books off the shelves for me to read and act out.
I also see certain tendencies emerge in them which I ponder with concern. For example, Salvador readily defaults into a sad posture when his expectation is not met, repeating, ‘I’m sad…’, dropping his head, and drooping his shoulders until he has hypnotized himself into feeling it.
(We all do this, by the way. We all follow patterns reinforced with body language, expression, verbiage. We all are walking around hypnotized until, by degrees, we awaken. And it begins in childhood, in infancy, in the womb).
Having noticed this for some time, I finally decided to get creative in beginning the process of re-patterning. I’d try different things – a ticklish poke to the stomach, an attempt at humor, a hug, meridian tapping, acknowledging his feeling and his desire for attention (like WE ALL do!) and honoring his right to all those feelings, redirecting his attention – all in an effort to assist him in his growth, imparting to him thru these experiences the idea that he is in charge of his self-liberating and self-developing.
This occurred a number of times over the course of this past weekend and different approaches succeeded then failed, failed then succeeded, as my attempts to break his hypnosis had to evolve rapidly in the moment until something worked.
I learned that validating him and asking questions help. Like, “Ok, it’s good that you can say you feel sad or that you feel angry. That’s good that you express yourself and you say what you feel. Now, can you say different words? Words like ‘I’m happy?'”
“Nooo,” he cooed like an injured dove.
“That’s ok,” I said, “you don’t have to. Can you promise me this – can you promise that you will think about what I shared with you?”
“Can you, Papito? Can you at least think about it?”
He nodded yes, still looking sad.
The last time we went through this, on Sunday, it was getting close to my time to leave and Salvador fell into the ‘sad’ pattern with his words and body language. I felt an urgency to help him in that moment because I wanted him to be back in the moment and enjoying what time we had left.
This time, he was way more persistent in staying in that space, which suggested to me that he was protesting my leaving. this pattern he’s creating is first and foremost a cry for love from his father, his mother, and his brother. His mother and I have damaged him, and Solomon, by our actions and choices. All parents damage their children and pass on traits, habits, and tendencies that will only be resolved with self-awareness, honesty, and a humble willingness to be and appear vulnerable as we undergo, or endure, the process of healing. as he persisted in his insistence in stay true to the sad pattern.
“Papito, say ‘I’m happy.'”
“You can say it. You can say ‘I’m happy'”
This went on a number of times and we both went at it for a while. And Salvador would not break from it. I implored him because I wanted him to be in the moment and enjoying what time the 3 of us had left.
Then Solomon pleaded with me to please don’t leave. I got up from Salvador, who was lying on the his bed, and picked up Solomon and held him to consoled him.
Then I exclaimed, “Hey boys, I’m here! I’m still here right now! Let’s have fun!”
As I stood holding Solomon, Salvador rose up from the bottom bunk, walked over to me and asked to be held. I bent low with Solomon in my left arm to pick up Salvador with my right arm and held them both as they rested their heads and cried on my shoulders pleading, “Dada, please don’t leave. Please…”.
Solomon recovered first, getting quiet, then peaceful as he re-entered that present moment. He asked to be let down and wanted to play some more as I continued holding Salvador who was quiet now, too. I told Solomon to hold on for a couple moments as I kept holding his little brother.
Then, Salvador, with his voice in that soft coo, with sad tone and all, said, “Dada, I’m happy.”
I shed tears as gratitude flooded my soul and I thanked Salvador over and over and over again. In that moment, he had decided on his own to break the pattern and showed himself willing and able to do so. Maybe not once and for all, of course, but he progressed and at his age it’s far easier to re-pattern then it would be with adults.
With Solomon I am seeing the fruits of my evolution where it concerns him.
You see, through my current circumstances of living in my car I have gained much perspective and understanding of myself, greater self-awareness, through reflection, contemplation, and experience. It has been a humbling time which I employ to rebuild myself, my life, and my opportunities. I am my own project.
And as I reflect on things, on memories and such, I grapple with regret and remorse at having brought pain into others’ lives, whether my family or anyone else, and I tussle with the emotions until I arrive at a space, a clearing, where I can find acceptance, if not peace.
And with Solomon I have been working on my patience with him in only one area because this is my biggest trigger where it concerns him – his attitude and behavior towards his little brother. It’s not that Solomon does not love Salvador, not at all. He loves him dearly but he can be very cold, rough and mean to the little one and that triggers the bullied child in me. I’ve lost my patience a number of times with Solomon in these moments and I’ve screamed and even gotten physical with him. And I deeply, deeply regret it. The more I would attempt to micro-manage Solomon’s behavior toward Salvador, the more Solomon would act out. Patterns give rise to other patterns if proceed without awareness.
Since those times however, I’ve been able to stay present, not resorting to old patterns or memories, and when Solomon does something to make Salvador cry I say, “Solomon, come here and let me hold you,” which he does every time. I pick up my boy and hold him tight and he softens immediately in my arms. I had taken this approach several times before the breakup of my family and I remember how easily I could reach Solomon once I softened my position.
This tells me that his behavior pattern toward his brother is his way of saying that he wants to feel loved, valued, and not forgotten now that his little brother has entered the picture, a pattern in the making since Salvador was born.
And it’s one that I myself exhibited when my little brother, Dennis, was born. I was 5 going on 6 that year, which was a pivotal year in the formation of my personality and character for a number of reasons.
All hell broke loose for me at the age of 5. I have been seeking heaven ever since. And I’ve finally found heaven….it was in me all along and it’s expressed and fed during these healing times with Solomon and Salvador, and in many other contexts as well.
So with a little more self-awareness and consistency in my actions I regain Solomon’s trust and love. He now freely tells me that he loves me whereas for some time he hadn’t, which I did not allow to bother me as I knew inside that I had to regain his trust and heal our bond. I engage Solomon in dialogue, probing him with self-guidance questions during his emotional flareups and he doesn’t turn or run away from it anymore.
Another breakthrough occurred when he mentioned how awesome Jesus is which totally threw me for a loop because that’s now where I’m at at all and neither is his mother. But it turns out that thru a curious development, which I started sensing intuitively when I was still in Redding, CA and which I had shared with my mother in a conversation at that time, another pattern is being repeated by another which I will not go into here right now because it’s not my direct life pattern (and yes patterns overlap). Jesus is now being fed into my sons’ minds as the savior and light of the world.
I told Solomon, plainly, “My son, listen to Dada right now and trust Dada. The story of Jesus is just a story. Jesus is not real even though a lot of people believe it’s real. I used to believe Jesus was real, too. But then I learned that the story of Jesus is really about us and about the Power inside of us. Just like the Force in Star Wars – it’s everywhere. There are lots of ways that different stories say the same thing – that the Power is in us and in all things. Now, you can choose to participate if you want. But I want you to know what is real and what is not, and I want you to know it for yourself just like I had to come to know it for myself. As long as you know within yourself what is true for you, that’s all that matters. Jesus is not real. The Power is real. And that Power lives as you and Salvador and me and Mommy and everything we see. Understand?”
He nodded yes. We sat in silence for some moments as Solomon processed what I shared.
Then, he said, “Dada. I love you.” That was all I could ask for in that moment.
The time to leave arrived and they held on to me, crying. I held them both, my chest swelling with their grief (by the way, any parent who thinks these moments and the dynamics that feed into these moments are only momentary with no lasting impact are……let me choose my words carefully……are in a state of denial, or worse).
In that moment it occurred to me to say the following, “Solomon, Salvador, one day the leaving will end. There will be no more leaving.”
I have no idea what that means but as I spoke I felt its truth. I just have no idea what it will look like. Solomon and Salvador’s face lit up into a smile when I said it. To simply comfort them with my words was not my intention but I’m glad it did.
Leaving is difficult for now, for them and for me. I remind them that I will always return for them and that we will be together again next week.
As I drove back to where I stay I thanked Creator for the blessings of my sons and of our bond. I grieved a bit that there is a leaving for now, born from the breakup of our family. At the same time I was encouraged by the possibility of profound healing through the recognition and resolution of patterns that occur with greater self-awareness, leading to true self-empowerment.
And Solomon and Salvador are teaching me, showing me the way toward greater self-awareness which helps me be more sensitive to the needs and expressions of their deeper souls.
I love you, Solomon and Salvador.