When I woke up this morning, there was nothing to suggest that this day would offer up a zen parenting moment. Life since the baby was born has involved a lot of sharp contrasts, extreme emotions playing out across each family member in a variety of ways. Our two-year-old son has been the hardest hit, especially since we had to move a week after his baby brother was born. We have spent the 3+ months since then observing him very closely, following his lead wherever possible in an attempt to return a sense of stability and security to his world.
The word I would have used to categorize today was “overly.” He was overly tired, overly sensitive, overly frustrated. Despite this, we managed to eke out a few enjoyable moments during our Halloween festivities this morning, then brought him home for an early nap. Unfortunately, that nap got started in the car, often the kiss of death for the rest of the day. As usual, this gave him the false sense of a second wind, and just intensified the “overly” he had already been feeling. It took several hours, but he finally succumbed to a deep, late-afternoon nap.
When he woke up a couple of hours later, he was disoriented and out of sorts. I went in to him and just rubbed his back. He settled almost immediately and we stayed like that for a minute or two. He’s never been a particularly cuddly baby, so at one point I straightened and removed my hand. He started crying and got up on his knees, grabbing my hand and pulling it back into the crib. I got back to rubbing his back and just breathing with him. I asked him if he wanted to cuddle in my bed, a new favorite pastime of his that often doesn’t include much recognizable “cuddling.” He grabbed his hippo lovey and let me carry him into the master bedroom.
I was already feeling pretty blessed to have had such an intimate moment with him, and was expecting this to shift into a more familiar silly and riled up moment. But his energy was still really quiet and subdued, so I wasn’t entirely surprised when he wanted to lay down on me as his pillow. After a few attempts, we found a position that worked well for both of us — a half sitting hug of sorts — and settled into it. That is when the magic happened.
Simply put, I held him. My arms were around him, hugging him, stroking his hair, expressing my love wordlessly. My mind was fully and completely focused on him in this moment. While I did send him Reiki, mostly out of habit, there was much more of a sense of “being” rather than “doing” to this experience. There were no expectations, no wandering off into analyzing what this all meant, no trying to figure out what he needed and whether or not I was meeting that need. It felt like I was listening to him on another plane of existence, listening to his need with an inner ear and answering it with my energetic love. We just breathed in and out and hugged each other, occasionally shifting our weight to get more comfortable, but mostly just staying completely still.
We stayed there for what felt like an hour but was probably less than ten minutes. His dad came in with his brother and they curled up on the bed with us, but it was like we were in our own bubble. And at the end of that time, whenever he had finished refueling, filling himself up with the love being offered him, he pushed off of me and said, “Mommy, let’s go play.” And then he slipped off the bed and ran into the living room.
Young children are so pure, so uncluttered, so simple. I don’t want to confuse “simple” with “easy” or even “basic.” But generally, they wear their needs on their sleeves, and if you’re paying attention and have the right vocabulary and your own batteries are charged up, those needs can be relatively easily met. But those three things — paying attention, having the right vocabulary, and making sure your own batteries are charged — are the most often missed. The complexity we experience as parents so often lies in our own lives, our own experiences, and how we learn to balance our needs with those of our children such that we can both grow and thrive in that experience of love.
Before I started down this path of motherhood, I feared that becoming a parent would mark an end to my spiritual journey. I have learned so much in the last 2+ years, so much that has informed the way I walk this earth, and on days like today, I recognize that it was not only a beginning, but perhaps the only way for me to truly experience the divine. Today I was blessed to experience true grace. As my son ran off down the hall, I was filled with both gratitude and the desire to share my spiritual journey once again, this time from the perspective of mother. Thank you for joining me on this blessed journey!
Originally published on Pachamama Spirit