Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Letting Go

I remember when we first switched Sophia to the facing-out position in her stroller. And how excited I originally felt for her (oh boy! check out the new view, baby!) and telling everyone who would listen how I felt, all the while secretly noticing just the smallest pangs of inner panic.

And so it begins. Already we're here and she's still so darn tiny. The beginning stages of her moving away from me. More independence every single day. Next thing we know, she's going off to college and we'll wonder where all those years went...

It was a huge worldview shift for both of us. She got to see trees and passing strollers of other little people and streetlights and faces other than mine. And I got to see other faces beaming at my beautiful child. And really life was very good.

Then came the cruising and crawling, the toddling and walking which has turned into a purposeful and spunky strut that I simply adore to watch. She begins school in the fall and despite my joy for her (and for me: some newfound freedom two days per week!), as the days count down closer to September I'm noticing again some pangs of worry. We never dealt with that whole separation anxiety thing that first year because there simply was no separation. Sophia and I have been like peas and carrots on the plate. For the most part, she's been my constant companion for two and a half years now. I've always been a late bloomer and it appears that even now this is the case. Separation anxiety comes a couple of years later than 'normal.' And instead of applying to my baby, the anxiety is all on me.

I think she will be fine. In fact, I'm sure of it. She's a social girl, despite her being home with me all this time. She's chatty and affectionate and quirky and hugely funny with grand gestures. She loves people and just sitting around shooting the shit. Even at this young age, she literally likes to hang out with a tiny coffee mug and chat with adults. Her personality is so huge, stuffed into that tiny frame. I'm often taken aback by her self-assuredness, which I suppose is not all that uncommon for a two-and-a-half year old. It just seems like she gets it already. She is so sure of what she likes and doesn't like and isn't afraid to say it. My hope is that she never loses her voice. That with age, her confidence will continue to grow, that she'll remain open to other ideas but always stay true to herself. And I guess that's how all mothers feel, right?

My hope is that come September I will feel as certain of Sophia's readiness for school....or rather, my readiness for her 'leaving me.'

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Where Did My Baby Go?

Just a few days ago - or at least that's how this time warp of motherhood makes it seem - she was a helpless little infant who didn't even know how to smile yet. Her needs were so simple. Sleep, milk, poop. Today, she's standing up on a step stool pretending to wash dishes in the kitchen.

Where do all the days go? And how is it that I've let so many of them slip away, squandering time like I've got an infinite supply. I've become more adept at savoring the moment, being here right now because I'm beginning to understand that truly there is nothing but this moment. I'm beginning to understand that someday all this will be done, that time will march on and I will no longer have a heart beating along with everyone else's.

Silly as it may sound, I'm surprised to be turning forty this year. Forty! As a kid, forty was ridiculously old. Forty seemed like you already had one foot in the grave. Forty meant that you were done. All the fun, all the crazy times were surely in your past. And here I am, peering over the precipice of the final days of My Thirties and taking in the view of the next decade, wondering how the time passed so quickly. What have I done with my precious time all these years? Besides desperately trying to change other people, wishing I were doing better or living somewhere else, or dreaming of a better life? Besides making excuses for not writing, running another marathon or starting a healthier diet? Besides dwelling on (and damning) The Past or dreaming of (and worrying about) The Future.

It's all right here, right now. Meditation surely helps gets this message across into the membranes. And hearing Sophia yell "wow!" as she pours water from a mini-watering can into the sink, fist pumping the air in truimph. It's an awesome gift to witness: the pure, simple things that bring her immense joy. Right now, she's saying "Happy! Happy! Happy!" over and over again. Unprompted, unabashed happiness. How did she get to be her own little independent self when just a short while ago she was bald and spitting up on my shoulder?

I came across this excerpt while surfing around the net just a few minutes ago. I've seen this one before and enjoyed it then, just as I've savored reading it this morning.

From A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen, 2000

You are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at your desk, or your life in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your HEART. Not just your bank account, but your soul.

People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is a cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broken, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the check X ray and it doesn’t look so good.

Take a moment: Think about your resume, your resume of heart.

So I suppose the best piece of advice I could give anyone is pretty simple: GET A LIFE. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Get a life where you pay attention. Keep still. Be Present.

Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Each time I look at my diploma, I remember that I am still a student, still learning every day how to be human.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Quote That Most Defines Motherhood For Me....

"Making the decision to have a child -- it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."

- Elizabeth Stone.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ever the Skeptic....

I just finished my Evening Meditation (Doreen Virtue) and there's a part of the visualization right at the end where you ask four angels to come stand guard outside your home so you can fully relax and know you are safe while you're sleeping. I saw myself opening the back door and popping my head out just to see if any of them needed a sandwich. "It's going to be a long guys hungry? Maybe just a little nosh....I've got some munchies...some Cheese-Its if anyone likes. Alrighty then...well, I'll leave the door unlocked for you just in case...."

So with all my spiritual longings lately, there's still a part of me that's planted firmly right here, right now, all is visible and a part of me questions all the fluffy stuff. There's a big part that wants to believe in the power of God and the existence of angels - and that part believes in them, or at the very least, wants to - but there's still The Eternal Skeptic, that part of me that makes silly jokes during meditation.

Earlier in the meditation, Doreen said something about calling the Archangel Michael to our side and that whenever we call he immediately appears next to us. My immediate reaction: "Really? How the f*#?! do you know?"

So hmmm.....I guess I still have a teeny, tiny bit of work to do on faith.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I forget that this is simply a blog. A place to write down some ideas that maybe a couple of people will read. I forget that it's OK to make typos, choose words loosely sometimes, say something today that maybe tomorrow I may feel differently about. I'm not a perfectionist but I do fear being wrong (I never raised my hand in class when I was a kid) and truly dread the thought of someone thinking that I'm - or God forbid actually calling - stupid. In fact, even when it's not about me, I feel awful inside when someone refers to another person as "not the sharpest knife in the drawer, if you know what I mean." I mean, wow. Painful. Just a horrible insult in my book.

My hope is that I'm not passing on any of my old nonsense onto my girl. That I'm actually giving her the space to check things out for herself and that she isn't now and won't in the future censor herself, stop herself from trying new things. Just this morning, as Sophia yet again wouldn't go down the slide - a baby slide, for that matter - I thought "This must be because of me, somehow I've not allowed her to challenge herself in a physical way. She hangs onto to me so much, maybe too much...." And then two minutes later, there she was going down the slide by herself. So it goes with motherhood. The constant considerations we make, the worry, the judging, the self-doubt. I know that these simply come with the territory. I just hope that I'm up for the task. And I do think that for the most part I'm a great Mom. Certainly I am doing the best that I can. But oh boy, that right there scares the shit out of me. It's always the crappiest mothers who use that phrase. Doing the best that I can. Or am I doing the best that I am? I've been in therapy for nearly my whole adult life, I worked a lot of stuff out, I've moved on and up and gained lots of new insights and I have a whole host of tools - a great big awesome tool box! - of ways to be and do better, to live a healthier, happy life. Hopefully I am passing these onto my girl.

I find myself watching Sophia and just feeling completely and utterly awestruck by her very essence. By her delicate mannerisms, her uproarious laughter, her silly, sweet nature, her pure goodness. I see her interacting with other kids, letting them take her mini-stroller at the playground, and she's so generous with her things and she just seems to be watching and taking everything in. I watch her walk in front of me, her slight swagger, her fancy shoes that she insists on wearing every day, her collection of purses she carries whenever she leaves our apartment, and I envision her as a young girl, a teenager, and then going off to college someday and my heart breaks just a bit in the simple act of her leaving. And then a moment later, she's back to me asking for milk or yelling "No!" in response to nothing at all and I remember how wonderful it is that she's just two. And we have so much time together, so much to learn and do before she'll leave our little nest. And everything settles back inside me, my chest relaxes and I feel happy just to be next to her. This is the time that I feel most connected to Spirit, to God, to the present. All the stuff that I meditate on, read about, try to attain. These are the moments that I feel most like I'm doing exactly what I should be doing and I don't question anything at all. That truly life is unfolding as it should. I feel the enormous power of gratitude that I have each day with my girl while she's still small, that these days - like all, really - are fleeting. And I'm the lucky momma to have all these moments with her. My hope is that all my old stuff, all the baggage, all the crap that has hindered me most of my life - that this is the work I've been doing all this time, not trying to erase it, but simply understand it and make peace with it and find forgiveness so that I can move on and not saddle her with any of it. And for the most part, I think that both John and I are doing pretty well. If you look at Soph, she's so joyful and such a delight that we must be doing something right.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bad Mommy is Back, Banging on My Door

It's this unshakeable feeling in the center of my gut. I'm doing affirmations in my kitchen, waiting for lunch to warm up ("I love and accept myself exactly the way that I am!") and yet I can't shake the Bad Mommy feelings. The less than, neurotic thoughts are climbing all over one another in my head, clamoring for my attention. One more abusive than the next.

She's never going to get into that school. And you know so-and-so will just to totally screw with your head. Why haven't you signed her up for any classes yet? She's behind! She's behind the pack! What's wrong with you, anyway? You're always blaming everything on not having enough money well why don't you just go out and get a job already then? Why aren't you working like the other Moms? You're just lazy.....You know that Mitsi-Bitsi's mom is way better than you are at this. I'm just a terrible cook and I'm f*cking up left and right aren't I? Just completely deluding myself all this time. Why doesn't my girl eat vegetables? Oh God, it's all my fault, she's malnourished. Oh and that comment at the party the other day when that woman called my girl skinny...too skinny...what?! Don't say that. She's perfect just the way she is, damn it!

And right there. That's it. I know the lesson. Intellectually I get it. That we're all God's children. We're perfect just the way we are. Even in our imperfectness. I see my girl and see pure perfection. If only I could capture that essence for me, look lovingly upon myself the way I gaze at Sophia.

I'm pretty sure that this is all just low-blood sugar talking. And by now, I know to silence that bitch up when she's start slamming her rhetoric at me like that. I'm doing fine. I'm doing the best that I can. I'm doing great actually. Aren't I?