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Grethe Viken-Moksnes

photo of Grethe reading©2012

Free as a bird?
I woke up this morning, feeling fresh—danced lightly up the stairs to the living-room, and plunged down in the sofa, safely wrapped inside of my cozy, warm blanket. I looked forward to my own, special quality time. It was just me and “iCarly.” I enjoy my life!

After just having said hello to my friend, I was interrupted by a sharp, annoying voice from downstairs: “Good morning my Dear, have you been sleeping well?” Before I got to answer, the voice kept grinding: “Have you been to the toilet? Have you been eating anything?” In an uninterested manner, I barely answered: “no,” before the voice once again nagged: “Turn off now! It’s time to get dressed!”

Oh, why all these questions all the time? I have been sitting in the front of the screen just for a little while, calm and in a relaxing way, bothering no one, except maybe some sound from my “friends.”  Now the intensive voices from below reached me again. It said: ”I have put some clothes ready for you on your bed, and the news for today is that you can make a choice from the two outfits.”

This input from below, made me think about what kind of trap the voice had laid out for me this time. I didn’t understand the problem; I already knew what to wear….  Suddenly, something grabbed me.

Empty cage
I woke up this morning, just to hear that the bird had flown out of her nest again. Yes, she had done it again, like a bird she had entered the living-room, just to use her valuable time with doing nothing next to the screen. Now I could hear that the TV was ON, I mean; ON! And here we were again, one of these mornings. Once more, I had to start pushing, nothing would happen without me… In a calm way, I introduced my thoughts about the small tasks at hand, just to help organize the morning.

No response from above, except from the noise coming from the TV. That made my heart beat a bit faster. I could not get to her.  I had to do something, before my anger escalated. I took a deep breath to keep calm, reminding myself once more to reach out to her and avoid spoiling our conversation. Would my request be obeyed? To stay in control, I had to wait and give her some time to see if she would react. Nothing.

Now the stress was really getting to me. MY time was running out. I could feel a drop of sweat running down my back as I once again raised my voice in a firm way: “Turn it off, it’s time to get dressed… dear”.
Due to our tight schedule, we had to get a move on, and quickly. I put some clothes to wear on the bed, and gave notice upstairs. The little one upstairs was keeping me from staying on schedule. I really couldn’t bear these delays. Why is it so difficult to comprehend? 

When would I finally be heard? I have introduced my one need in a calm way, given by my schedule, my quality time. Why doesn’t she submit so I can start the day without any obstacles? Why doesn’t she understand? Why? She has got ears, she has got eyes, how can she ignore time like she does? She is disconnected from reality, she doesn’t respect my feelings. She does it on purpose. She wants my day to collapse by doing what she does. I’m her mother, for God’s sake, I have to be in charge, I need to be in charge. She doesn’t know what’s good for her. Does she?  Everything is now destroyed. I hate this experience.  

There was only one thing to do, I had to make things happen. So I did.

In the bird’s nest
All of a sudden I got dragged by my mum’s hand; she was forcing me to get dressed in less than a minute, which certainly isn’t possible. I put up a little fight, but I figured out pretty fast that doing that was not a smart thing to do. When I stomped down the steps, I kept on thinking of how I can ignore the voice right in front of me. I hear this noise often and usually I can block it out.  That helps me to mentally survive it. Why can’t I have a noise filter fix the noise so I can hear what I want to hear? Like the junk filter that ”iCarly” has on her computer on TV.  Who is the administrator of my computer, my head? Is there anything I can do? Do I have to do something? Now, everything is broken. I plan my quality time for weeks, maybe days, at least minutes. My personal time together with ”iCarly” is now destroyed. It’s not fair. Mum drives me crazy, I can’t stand her.

In the cage
As I went upstairs in a big hurry, I took a few breaths as calmly as I could, before I took a few steps towards the white, soft sofa.  In my time of hopelessness and fury, I gently grabbed her hand and said in as calm of a tone as I could: “Please get dressed, it’s time for school”. Slowly, together, we went down the stairs.  I softly held my daughter’s hand, and brought her into her room.

Am I free as a bird or a bird in the cage?
I really want to decide on my own if I just feel like watching TV for a while or having a big ice-cream right now in the morning, without asking my mum first. I am my own person who likes to do cool things, with not always telling anyone where or with whom I’m seeing. My mother wants me in her arms and still holding me tight, and it seems that she doesn’t want me to fly.

Should she be free as a bird or a bird in the cage?
I want my daughter to be a girl with her own individuality.  I want to be proud of her and watch her achieve what she is capable of achieving. I was there when she said the word “mum” for the very first time.  I watched her write her first words. I stayed close to her when she was afraid of something or just wanted some contact. I took time to be there for her even when I let go, thinking of her first steps on her own as a baby.  Those were the first steps of many a parent gets to be very proud of, but also, the first step of many on her way to reach her independence.  And I want to be there when it happens.

But, right now, I haven’t got time. I just need to go to work.