It's amazing where you find inspiration if you are open and paying attention. Over the weekend we were at the doctor's, and during the extremely long wait, I picked up a catalog for ridiculously overpriced baby furniture. On the first page, I found this:
How incredible and filled with truth! This simple, yet meaningful statement has caused me to reflect quite a bit on how I've changed over the past ten years of being a mother, and I've been filled with a deep sense of gratitude for my children. They have inspired me to continually strive to be a better person. I could get caught up in so many regrets, absorbed in so many times that I was selfish. I was quite a different person and mother at 22 than I am now at 32. But I'm not going to get stuck in a cycle of regrets, instead I've focused on being present, and looking back, I know that I was the best mother I was able to be at the time. I know I provided a loving presence to my boys, and I know that I owe so much to them in terms of how I've grown. They remind me to laugh, to be present, and to relax. For someone who gets stuck in her head all of the time, it's perfect, and I am learning to be more open to it.
We went for a walk yesterday, and as Rowan and I watched the boys zoom ahead on their scooters, I wistfully thought to a time when they would have stayed right beside me. I'm learning to let them go a little at a time, to urge them exercise their independence, and to encourage them to be brave and courageous. I had to fight back the urge to shout their names and tell them to come back, they were going too far ahead. But that would have been selfish, that would have been thinking of my needs instead of theirs. I saw our timeline lay out before me... Pacey in the front, Gage in the middle, Rowan still close, and I realized there is beauty in these moments of struggle. I could hang back and watch the grown boys that they've become, I could let go of what I felt they should be doing and just watch them be. That is a wonderful feeling of release, to loosen the control and to trust and be present in my parenting of them. To me, this is part of living a better life for them and filling our experiences with love, beauty, and goodness.
And even more beautiful was the moment when Pacey slowed down just a bit and allowed me and Rowan to catch up with him, so he could walk with us for the last stretch.
I turned to the next chapter in my Momfulness book this morning, and I realized I was practicing the next meditation yesterday without even knowing it. The practice of being present and just watching my children play. Without interfering, without controlling, without guiding the experience to be what I think it should be. To delight in their selves, to see the world from their vantage point. To trust and to know that if they go on ahead, they will come back for snuggles, for reassurance, for affirmation. And because I haven't been absorbed with my own agenda, because I haven't created stress, I am more available to give them what they need in those moments-- to be present with them, enjoy them, nurture them, and continue to learn from them.