I thought I'd sit down to write a Mindful Monday post, since it had been so long since the last one. The problem is I have no idea what to write about. I'm flying by the seat of my pants. I'm doing a lot of that lately. My plan is to just see what comes...
If my children are my best mindfulness teachers, (and let's face it, nothing brings you face to face with all your Stuff and forces you to hang out with it like children do) then Yonas is my Professor. I have to stay open and aware of the ever changing tide of emotions this boy brings. Sometimes I can hardly bear it. Most of the time I see exactly what he needs from me and most of the time all I want to do is give it to him. And sometimes I really don't want to give at all, but I do it anyway. And then sometimes, I watch myself watch him, knowing what he needs, knowing what I'm feeling, aware of everything, mindful, and yet. And yet, it feels torturous and tedious and I struggle to not head out the door and walk the few blocks to sit under the highway bridge by the railroad tracks and take up a new life. And then sometimes mindfulness is nowhere to be found and all I want is chocolate or tequila.
That's how it is, this parenting gig. Or at least, that's how it is for me. That's how it has been from the beginning, when Ava was an infant, or Eden a toddler, Safa right now. But because they've been with us from the beginning, the stakes aren't as high if I check out from time to time. If I don't respond in the most open-hearted, mindful way, we have a history of learned love and attachment and trust to carry us to the next moment. They know I will listen, come, comfort, tend, and care. They know in the deepest parts of who they are that we are a we.
Yonas has no baseline knowledge of this we-ness. So those moments when I can't seem to open my heart enough to engage the way I know I should, those carry far more weight with him than they do with the girls. Those pitiful moments like the one we had today where even though he could have absolutely gotten up from his seated position on his own, for some reason he needed me to help him. And for some reason in that moment this admittedly pull-yourself-up-by-the-boot-straps kind of mama just couldn't do it. So we sat in some kind of ridiculous stalemate, his needs bumping up against mine, the oldest of human dances. And he cried. And I sat by him. I said, "You can do it." (Which I should have probably just been saying to myself.) I offered him a hand to reach for. But he wouldn't take it. So I pointed out a roly-poly instead. And I broke a stick. I looked at his fat belly, the swollen mosquito bites on the back of his neck. We watched the roly-poly together. The wind blew. I noticed the yellow dusting of pollen over my arms. I heard the girls playing. I saw how I wanted to be somewhere, anywhere else. I noticed how I wanted a glass of wine. How I still wasn't just helping this kid up. He said roly-poly. We laughed about it, this crazy gray bug that becomes a ball.
And then it happened. At the same moment he began to stand, I reached for him. And I picked him up and we went inside, a mama and her boy, both doing the best we can.