Is this one or is this two?

I have often wanted to write about this dance of separation and union that unfolds in the deep love between a mother and a child. How there are these profound moments of connection I feel with Anjali when I’m watching her play outside, walking in the fresh air, listening to the sound of the crows in our neighborhood and pausing whenever a car goes by. When she is pointing to the trees and the leaves and wanting to sit up on the cold bench with me – not minding the cold for an iota of a second. There is no separation between us – we feel, we take in, we see. I see my own surroundings as if for the very first time, and it never fails to delight me every single time.

Or like the mornings when we come down and I put on the Christmas tree lights, and feel her joy in seeing the tree light up, pointing to the snowflakes and the angel on top. Or the moment when the discovery of the teaspoon amidst the array of blocks brings out an exclamation: ‘OOOO’ that makes me smile. Or in the mornings when I’m lying in bed and I can hear her up, playing with Abhi and suddenly, she comes running into the bedroom in a pitter patter of small feet, and says Mama! And as I swing her into bed with me, I feel her utter uncomplicated delight. In these incredible moments, there isn’t a she and there isn’t an I, only a We.

I’m equally aware of the moments when there is a she and there is an I. And the I needs space. I need some time out. I’m tired from the demands of caring for a baby, changing the diapers, running after her to get her to eat, or to not put that paint brush into her mouth. When I’m with a friend and can’t finish my fruit salad with pudding, or when I’m cajoling her to not eat tissue paper and she doesn’t listen and I feel a twinge of irritation. Or sometimes when it takes half hour to get her dressed for the cold because she thinks its a game, and all I really want to do is sit and finish a warm cup of tea by myself and put my legs up, without somebody needing me. The moments when we are out of eggs and bread and milk and we have to do grocery shopping and just thinking of the effort it involves makes me sigh. It’s the moments when she is sick and I have tended to her for what feels like many ages that I desperately want to curl up in bed under the sheets. I’m so tired. These moments, I feel the agony of separation and disconnection from my gudiya and it hurts more than the actual physical fatigue.

This morning reading the lines of Wu Men brings it alive:

‘Moon and clouds are the same
mountain and valley are diffeent
All are blessed; all are blessed.
Is this one or is this two?’

These words make me smile. I don’t think Wu Men was thinking of motherhood when he wrote this, but he has hit that deep place in my heart that knows the truth. Sometimes there is one, and sometimes there is two. That is simply the way it is. This heart moves through it seamlessly. It is the mind that finds a difference.

May we welcome all that comes on this journey.

With Love, S.


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