Introspective and retrospective today, thinking back on the past several years of parenthood. The screw-ups, the golden moments, the yelling, the loving, the laughing and the heartbroken moments. The dance parties, the "I'm not going to make it" moments, the absolute certainties and the hope-crushing doubts. The breath-catching responsibility for these gorgeous lives coupled with the soul-freeing knowledge that all we have to do is follow their lead and provide the lantern to the light the way, the love to sustain them and the net to catch them should they stumble.
I know I screw this up every day. I'll never win Mother of the Year or have my home featured in Better Homes & Gardens. More often than not, there are hamster droppings outside of the cage, dog hair on the floor and a ring around the toilet. The kids do not get a bath every day...neither do I. Not a day goes by that I don't speak through gritted teeth or let a sharp word slip or raise my voice. I occasionally think, "I am not smart enough for this and I am going to ruin them forever."
But then again...maybe I don't need to be smart enough. Maybe my brain doesn't have to be big...but my heart does. And that, my friends, is something I can do. I have learned how to listen to my heart and to know when something's not right and when something is. I am learning how to live according to my own integrity and truth and not a teacher's idea, a parenting "technique" or an expert's opinion. And perhaps that's enough. Love them, on their terms, not mine. And until they have the power and means to follow their own heart, hold their heart in mine and listen to them both.
And, with that, I'll cheat and re-post something from three years ago. It's as relative now as it was then...at least for me. Happy Mother's Day.
Someone sent me the video below in celebration of Mother's Day. I just now viewed it for the first time. Talk about making an impact. It reminds you why you're doing this thing...this parenting thing. It reminds you that there is a spiral effect here.
It's more than scraping the week-old banana off the wall. Instead, it's "I explored a banana today!"
More than washing load after load after load of laundry only to have it sit, clean, in the closet for a week before actually being folded. Instead, it's "I got to help fold all afternoon!"
More than rushing to make preschool drop-off and then rushing, rushing, rushing to make preschool pick-up. Instead, it's "Mommy, mommy, mommy, you're here!"
More than wiping noses, eyes, bottoms and hands. Instead, somewhere down the road, it's the remembrance of being cared for.
Those things we do now; coaxing them through a terrifying night, laughing at the ridiculous, loving them so hard that it hurts (us)...those things are building the Future. Their future. And ours. I forget the bigger picture here. A lot. As the author says, you lose yourself. And then you find yourself. And then you lose yourself. For me, it's a cycle. And I need reminders like this. Because, at least for this afternoon, I can be aware of the incredible importance of Being Here.