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Contrast

Photo by Lyn

I'm not proud of myself today. My kids are at school, barely. I resist writing this, fearing that I will have to rename this blog Confessions. But if there are no new stories, then all of you have been where I've been in some form or another. And those of you who would judge me, probably aren't reading this blog anyway.

This morning I completely lost it with my seven-year-old. I became a mommy monster afraid of her being late AGAIN! and with picture day stacked on top of it all. I lost it when she decided to scare her sister with her spidery Halloween tights instead of brush her teeth, when it was time to load up the car. We were on a time crunch for various reasons including kids not moving very fast, and mommy's brain not working fast enough to get the morning organized--largely because of kid chaos--and so I came after her to tell her yet again to stop and brush her teeth-- then I see that she isn't wearing the clothes I picked for her for picture day--and I lose it!

The funny thing is, a few minutes before I blew up, I was working beautifully through my typical morning anxiety, bringing myself back to the present, telling myself that it really would be okay if we were late AGAIN. That I didn't need to worry about my reputation at the school. It is what it is. I reminded myself of my good qualities, of places where I was making a difference, even if small. Yes, I thought, I could stop being afraid. I felt peace swirling around me, even in the chaos of a kitchen I'd been too tired (or lazy) to clean the night before. Because I had been so beautifully nudging myself into a more peaceful state, even I was surprised how fast I turned into Mr. Hyde.

Of course, my daughter wailed, and then didn't want to go to school with her red face. I didn't blame her. I didn't want her to go either. I wanted to have her stay home and cuddle up with me until we both felt better, until we could both laugh at my mind that had just thrown the most insane tantrum.

But I shuffled her off to school. I knew she needed to go to school, to see her teacher, who is her view of the perfect person, and to see her friends. I knew I needed her to go to school, so I could not put immature pressure on her to make me feel better.

So, I am writing through this, because I know that somewhere deep in the heart of this experience contains wisdom--at least I hope so.

It begins with the guilt that clouds around me, threatening to suffocate. It points at me, and in the most reprimanding voice, it says, what kind of a mother are you? She's seven for God's sake. You are the adult here. Look at what you are teaching her. Look how you couldn't keep it together. You have damaged your children. How will they ever feel safe in this world, if they can't feel safe with their own mother. You were out of line. You blew up out of nowhere. She was only being a kid. You should be ashamed. And now you'll go blog about this, and exploit the situation. Have you no integrity?

And so I ravage myself, just like I did my daughter. Ouch.

So, here it is, all laid out, and what do I make of it? I have scolded and been scolded. And what possible wisdom can I come away with after such a harrowing morning, whose intensity, has admittedly been softened in this writing, out of self-preservation.

What wisdom?

I am losing momentum in this post, wondering if I am only trying to justify my appauling behavior. The mind comes in to judge all over again.

Help me find the wisdom here.

What do I know? I know that keeping this story playing over and over in my mind only paralyzes me further.

Okay, I'll use the word perhaps. Then all of it is only hypothetical, and I can still flog myself all I want.

Perhaps my daughter went to school today, stronger and braver, because she was able to practice her resilience. She saw the one that she should trust become a ranting and raving lunatic who couldn't take it anymore, AGAIN.

Perhaps this is helping her to practice standing strong on her own two feet. She knows that she can transition from crazy house with crazy mom, with her tear-stained face, and still be okay and face her day. She can recognize that her power is always there, even when her world feels unstable. Perhaps.

And perhaps, I have been given the gift of observing my mind even closer. I have the gift of watching how my mind wanted my daughter to suffer for her sins--and how shortly after it came after me, with no more mercy than for her.

I feel some strange sensation of release, that something from deep within has compassion for me and for my daughter, who knows that we are both doing the best we can. This must be the part of me that told my daughter as I drove her to school, that I really wanted control of her this morning, how hard it was for me because I didn't, and how frustrated I was, because I didn't want to be the mommy who was always late, and how I wanted her to like her pictures-- and that I was sorry--that I am working through my anger and fear, and doing the best I can, just like she is.

I asked her if she could feel the part of herself that knows that everything is okay, even though her mommy lost it--and like a good little girl she said yes--probably just to make me happy.

I just realized that I'd forgotten all of that part, only focusing on how bad I'd been, and how she must be suffering: the negative. I was saying all of that to her, and thinking she probably isn't hearing me--but I wasn't even hearing myself!

In conclusion: if you've lasted this long:

Today there was big contrast, and perhaps it was for the good. Perhaps these moments when I am picking on someone smaller than myself are the perfect contrast I need to keep me motivated--to keep me flowing with the practice of seeing past my crazy thoughts, to a more loving and peaceful way of being. This more peaceful way is always there when I trust--when I don't get caught up in being afraid of falling short in the physical world--and maybe next time I'll do better, or maybe I won't--but maybe that isn't the point! Perhaps.

What remains with me, however, in this moment, is a knowing that she and I are supposed to be together in this. Together we will see peace in this world. We will embrace our gifts, and we will learn to stand grounded in trust, knowing that whatever is thrown at us, is only illusion. And illusion isn't true.

I allow myself in this moment, not to be completely sure about anything, but to relax into the knowledge that this morning is in the past, and who knows what the future will bring--but the present moment, ahhh the present moment still holds all of the magic that I could have ever dreamed of.

Comments

  1. Hmmmm. I've so been to this place you write about. Many times. I think all of us who are mothers have been there. I only wish we could all be conscious enough to reflect and find the wisdom that is always there, regardless of how much we feel we "lost it."

    Be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to be perfectly imperfect. You are so loved.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can feel a pain deep inside as I read your words. A connection or a a recognition surfaces to places where memories are shoved away, as we march forward through our lives... That memory, I am sure, pretty much all Mother's can say they have been visitors of, as they parent. Your honesty about a situtation gone crazy says much about your intent and heart. A situation many would choose to keep behind close doors. The gift is your awareness of seeing beyond what was happening, even if unable to do anything about it in the moment. As you love yourself, and your beautiful little one, wrap yourselves up tightly together in gratitude for this experience and for each other, for in the healing of it, is bringing you closer together not farther apart. A new moment is being born, with more love, tenderness, and awareness of what is, than ever. I love you.

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  3. Brilliant woman! Yes, we have all been there.

    Your words to her in the car were so clear and grounded. I was just yesterday celebrating "contrast" (and surprise, surprise, today's title of your post!) You went from "insane tantrum" to clarity..."I asked her if she could feel the part of herself that knows that everything is okay"...how enlightened! :)

    I believe she did feel it.

    And, loving this from your mom: "A new moment is being born, with more love, tenderness, and awareness of what is, than ever." What a gift!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for your comments! Your words bring so much love and the wonderful feeling of solidarity!

    ReplyDelete

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