Monday was a day full of heartstrings being tugged and emotions so full they spilled out all over the floor. I was brought to the brink of tears more than a couple of times with my little ladies and I've been mulling it over in my mind ever since. Not "you're driving me crazy" tears, but tears from listening to my girls--the older 2--deal with heartache and frustration that comes from life and being human and breathing air. As these girls are growing up there are more and more emotional and interpersonal needs that need to be addressed. I will admit that one of the hardest things for me as a mom is just to sit still and be with my kids. It's not a matter of necessarily taking more off my plate, but rather understanding that my plate will always be too full and therefore I need to choose to put my time toward the best things. The enemy of the best is the good, as my old boss used to say. Choosing the best is life, it is most jobs, it can be a single moment or an entire year. We are always faced with that question, did I choose the best thing? Not that it's that simple, because on paper the best thing will always be enriching relationships and connecting with those we love, but in reality sometimes dinner can't wait and sometimes I really don't have time. Is it about balance? I'm not sure. Or maybe it's the fact that the best changes from moment to moment and we just have to keep up.
One thing I really like about yoga is that they refer to it as practicing. You have a beautiful practice or thanks for practicing with us today. That word is so gentle and welcoming. I cannot do perfection, but I can certainly practice. I like this idea when applied to parenting because somedays I'm really off my rhythm and out of sync with my family, but every day I can practice again. And like yoga, it's not about comparing yourself to anyone else. I don't have to be anywhere than where I already am when I practice, and that's a good feeling. In fact I'm just going to start using this in every day life, when I wake up I'll think to myself, Time to practice being a human today, and see how that goes. I feel like I just had a major epiphany here, so if someone else is already preaching this please don't tell me...just let me think I made up a whole new thing. (Kidding, you can tell me.)
So Monday when my now 8 year old started to have an epic meltdown seemingly out of nowhere, it seemed like something bigger than what was on the surface was brewing inside. Eventually she came and asked if we could cuddle and talk and so we did. She cried tears of sincere heartache and I could tell she has been struggling with some things lately--things that are not her fault, but rather the fault of good intentioned parenting gone awry and it broke my heart. We talked and cuddled and hugged and she spoke words that hurt to hear, but needed to be said. I apologized and she felt validated. I am realizing that I need to adjust some things in my parenting practice when it comes to my oldest and Monday night was a good start. Practice.
Moving away from practice (or maybe not, we'll see) was a heart-stopping moment that came from a prayer that Lamp said at dinnertime. She volunteers for prayers quite often, so that wasn't unusual at all, but she often says the same 4-5 sentences each time. So when she voiced something we had never heard her voice in a prayer before, just a little tidbit in the middle of bless the food and amen, tears were in my eyes and my heart was in my throat. ...and thank you for making me the way I am, even though I wish I had hands like everyone else. I'm grateful for all that I am, just the way I am... and then she finished with the usual fare. The next day at lunch time was something similar... thank you for making us perfect in our own special way even though I have limb differences...
Of course I can't really know what God wants from our prayers, but in my estimation these are some near perfect ones. I think God wants the honest feelings of our hearts, the bold and naked truth. But I also think He wants us to then dig a little deeper for gratitude that may or may not be obvious. Just trying to tell God what we think He wants to hear, sugarcoating or pretending does us little good. But so does wallowing and self pity. She's 4 years old and here she was practicing gratitude. (There it is.) I'm sure as she ages her emotional range on these things will both widen and deepen--in sadness and in gratitude--like most of us. But today I find myself thinking that if I can teach my girls anything, it is the idea of practice. Because really there are few ways in which they can really screw up life and do it all wrong but the fear of doing so paralyzes us all at times. Today I want to teach them that they don't need to be anywhere than where they are, or anymore than who they are. Just get up and practice again.
I don't know that I want to say too much more--about her prayer or anything else--but after Lamp said that first prayer, my heart and mind echoed the same words to God as well, 'I too am grateful for all that she is, just the way she is. Thank you.'