Alfie Kohn, you had me at hello

i started off writing, and thought, no, this is trouble,

still unsure of how much to edit here, how much to just say

(hoping one day, like my friend says, i’ll just trust the adults

to deal with their own emotions, and stop worrying)

but i also wanted to say that i am in one of those moods

where i don’t know

so i have these go-to memories (you know) and they give me something, at least –

warmth, safefty, a sense of home –

what else should I do with myself? ava sleeping elsewhere for the first time, well, ever

and me writing, close to her.

so i’ve been thinking about a family – one of two, or three maybe – that i used to love

watching and listening to

all so compassionate, so kind, and trusting

in each other’s innate goodness

no sense of conditions or currency. just what it was, what they were.

this is what i strive for, with A. as rare examples as they are, they’re there.

proof. what unconditional parenting actually looks like.

to accept myself wholly, so that she can accept herself too?

that’s the one i’m trying to learn, every day.

She gives with all her might but is never afraid to lean back.  To collapse and fail and weep and let in the sadness.  We see all of her and through that act of bravery we show our selves in return.’

i didn’t understand this was even a possibility until, perhaps, two or three years ago.

but with A., i get it. she’s not me, she doesn’t even have to be like me, and that’s okay.




About Kendal

I'm Kendal Mosley-Chalk. I live in York with my husband and four children.
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One Response to Alfie Kohn, you had me at hello

  1. Dana Lindquist says:

    Reminds me Khalil Giabran’s “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and the daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you, but they are not from you. And though they are with you, they belong not to you.” If you get a chance, listen to Sweet Honey in the Rock’s music version of this passage. It has helped me let go, and even celebrate, at each stage of separation.

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