I’m sitting in the boys room. Casey is ensconced in his tent and Cameron is enthralled with watching his reflection, in his little mirror, as he threw a ball. We’ve recently rearranged their room and I’m quite happy with the results. Casey declared that he “has the prettiest room,” which is pretty high praise from an almost 4 year old. Although this is the same almost four year old who declares enthusiastically every time he farts, as if it’s never happened before, then becomes downtrodden if you don’t respond with equal enthusiasm. Still, I take what I can get these days as we move into what I hope is the end of the “threenager” phase. It’s a real thing- google it.
Casey’s newest game is to gather every single toy he can find into a huge pile somewhere. I’m not sure what he imagines when he looks at it but I find that it resembles a large trash heap inside my house, a sight which sets my anxiety into overdrive whenever I walk by.
I’ve been trying to become more mindful recently, more relaxed in my reactions to the events that life throws at my during each day. Possibly, this is some unconscious response to Casey’s new hobby, or it may stem from the brief article I read on mudras and meditation in a Yoga Journal I picked up at Whole Foods. It has sat largely untouched on our TV stand since bringing it home, save the one time I opened it and chanced upon the article. Either way, I’ve begun down this journey of becoming more mindful and it’s led me to a few startling discoveries. Like the other afternoon when I was standing in the kitchen and discovered that I could have cookies and kombucha at the same time without any guilt. Turns out I have all these unconscious rules that govern how I live my life, what I consider right and wrong; rules which, apparently, can be broken without earth shattering consequences.
Actually, over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed that many of these “rules” actually interfere with my ability to stay present and feel happy. When I am held rigid by a rule, like “no mess in the house,” I can’t relax enough to be present with my child as he gathers every toy and stuffed animal into a “fort” around himself and let’s not even talk about being present to what he is thinking, feeling, seeing. What a huge loss it would be to not understand this, to never learn to relax within this tension just enough to open a keyhole to peek through and catch a glimpse of his world.
Practicing mindfulness, a little bit more each day, I find that inspiring thoughts seem to rise up out of no where:
You are not responsible for other people’s emotions.
Things are changing all the time. This too will change.
If you’re not sure what to do, do nothing until it presents itself
I am sure that I have read all these quotes somewhere- in books, on pinterest, posted on facebook. But all of a sudden they seem to appear when I need them, like little drops of fairy dust helping me to learn, slowly, to fly.
It’s not to say I don’t have my bad days. Sometimes, like yesterday, I feel like a shitty parent because I wake up in a bad mood and I’m immediately thrown into the trenches of motherhood, losing my patience and reaching my daily quota of butt wiping before I’ve even finished my first cup of coffee, which is now cold. I yell at my children to much, I yell at my husband too much and I stomp around the house muttering about all the injustices of life, feeling overwhelmed and ignored and wanting nothing more then for someone to throw me a rope and help me find the strength to climb up and out of it all.
Then I leave the house and drive and drive and drive until I can think straight and get myself in order and find enough distance and breath to regain a sense of balance and lightness. And wouldn’t you know it, these inspiring quotes spring annoyingly to mind, reminding me that this is just one day, that I can not control what other people do, and also that it is unreasonable to expect people to read my mind.
Upon returning home, I find not a thing has been done and no one else’s mood has changed but I feel better equipped to handle it all. I have taken myself away to find my own rope to climb and I realize that this is good parenting. For my children to see me have a bad day is just a part of life. The important thing it that they also see how I am able to get myself out of it- at least I hope that one day they will see that. For now, I make jokes about how the tiger ROAR’s like mommy did this morning and take comfort in my boy’s laughter.