How not to lose your mind raising children

All of a sudden, there’s space. Glorious empty space for breathing and relaxing into, like a large soft chair with a chenille blanket and a cup of chamomile tea offering cozy reflection time. I’m not sure what prompted the shift in perspective, for that’s exactly what it is… A different way of processing pretty much exactly the same circumstances.
Sweet girl still needs me as much (dare I say “more than”?) as always, asking for my time and attention and dreading separations, but I don’t mind anymore.
I seem to have acquired the ability to distance myself from the emotion that is this three and a half year old spinning ball of energy and moods, yet still observing and responding as need requires, like before. Is this the observer mind that my mindfulness books speak of? I wonder only because I dont feel detached or distant… I love her more fiercely and completely today than yesterday, if that’s possible. All of a sudden, I appreciate who she is in and of herself and love watching her grow and change.
There are some circumstances that prompt an ironic wink or a conspiratorial chuckle from deep within. I can’t seem to find the familiar feelings of frustration and anger when my daughter changes her mind yet again, as she often does. I see myself as part of a motherhood chain that goes back through time. Surely i am the same prehistoric mother who had to run back into the cave for her child’s forgotten security object (perhaps a spoon? A leaf? I don’t know… Were kids allowed childhoods back then or were they put right to work?)
I’ve tried for all these days to get beyond my limitation of exasperation and that sense that too much is being taken from me( time, energy, physical space) with not nearly enough left for myself or anyone else.
When I would carry a magazine article around all day but not getting even a few minutes to read it, or wanting a lazy day when I didn’t have to entertain another person with craft projects, snacks and meals, fun outings or educational teachings.
Sure, I still want those things. But all of a sudden, I see this little person as transient, growing up all too soon and off to live her own life away from me. I have heard from enough empty nesters to realize that the gift of witnessing a childhood should not be wished away. So I am noticing and reveling in all of it … The irrational outbursts, the prideful accomplishments, the firsts and seconds and even the mundane thirds, with a sense of humor and perspective. About time!

I don’t have to solve her “problems” or heal her wounds. She simply needs me to be there. My presence, my attention, my enfolding arms are the most important right now.


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