It is a sunny afternoon and I’m sitting outside on our porch with my computer, listening to the birds, the sounds of the neighborhood cars and the humming of the tractors from the construction nearby. Anjali is sleeping upstairs. Just the knowledge of that makes everything peaceful. It makes everything right – me sitting here right now, here in this moment. There are no questions of self-worth or doubts.
It is not often that such moments come by. Motherhood is filled with moments of attachment –to want to do everything right or perfect, to want to do our best, to be patient and kind all the time, to love, to be the model of discipline and control – not too much and not too little. To nourish our little ones with the right food and the right affection, so that we may raise sweet kids who know how to share and be kind, who may know empathy and compassion as well as joy and affection, and who can bring peace and goodness in this world. This is a tall order for a human being.
And then there is also the emotional piece – the holding on, versus letting go that happens every day. Letting our kids explore the neighborhood but not go too far. Letting them feed themselves but still sometimes want to feed them the buttery rice with our own hands, while they wriggle from underneath our grasp. Play run run and catch catch, and as we catch those little bodies and give them a hug, a moment of holding on and then letting go of their squirmy bodies to run some more and explore some more. In this emotional landscape of a parent, it is easy to get attached. We want to do it right and we care so much!
And perhaps that is why this is the biggest opportunity we will ever have for our practice. And the moments when the roof falls over our head – children fall sick, parents fall sick, baby sitters are unavailable, daycare is a germ nest and we wonder why we send our kids there– these moments become opportunities to appreciate how imperfect we really are and how little in control. How all of us are in the same boat – we try so hard, and in that trying is the joy and the peace. As Rumi says, ‘Lo, I am with you always means when you look for God, God is in the look of your eyes, in the thought of looking, nearer to you than your self…’
Sometimes it hits me that while we have a destination in mind – raising a child who will one day grow and be on his or her own feet – independent and strong, gentle and kind, it is the journey that will matter to us in the end. How we travel this journey will make all the difference. The tiny moments of how we approach these dishes in the sink and the folding of this laundry of the umpteenth time this week. This new developmental milestone – that brings the explosion of words and cognition but accompanied also with tantrums and new self-awareness. Or this growth spurt that brings new capabilities – sitting, reaching, seeing – but with day and night of nursing. This meal right now and this walk on the stroller. This fall of Bud, beloved insect friend and the picking up and giving a hug to Bud. And this sweet kiss to Mama. This journey is what will matter at the end.
We don’t have forever. We have now. That’s the deepest realization implicit on this journey of parenthood, indeed in any journey…
May we continue with patience, kindness and love on our journeys…
with Love, S.