Last night my son cried in the middle of the night for the first time since he was born. I cried too. Not for the first time since he was born. I’m pretty sure I started crying first. He was having a hard time latching, I got frustrated, and something in me just snapped. Baby having a hard time latching + crying frustrated mom = crying freaked out baby. At that point my partner woke up and picked up our son to soothe him and give me some space. And there we were: me sitting in bed with my face in my hands sobbing, my partner trying to soothe our son, and our son continuing to scream louder and louder. Welcome to family life.
A part of me felt frustrated and helpless. A part of me felt guilty. A part of me was beginning to realize that this wasn’t about a bad latch. It slowly started dawning on me that I am the adult here. It was okay that something was triggering me, but I had better identify and let it go now for the sake of my family. To condition me pulling it together on my son pulling it together was absurd. I have 29 years on him when it comes to managing the experience of being human.
Within a few minutes I realized that this whole scenario was the bubbling up of me trying to “go back to work.” I was taking on too much, or maybe just thinking about taking on too much. Or maybe I was just thinking too much…
With that realization, I renewed a commitment that I made before my son was even born: to put him first. To remember that no amount of success or accomplishment in my professional life was more important than giving him the time, attention, and love he needed to be successful in his life.
This remembering took a huge weight off my shoulders. I didn’t have to do it all now. All of it would unfold as it was meant to, but nothing was worth me being a nervous wreck and having it affect my son. So I stopped crying, got out of bed, held my son, and told him that I loved him and that he was the most important thing in my life. He cried for a little while longer, and I listened to what he was saying.
Before going any further, I acknowledge that what follows may very well be my own realizations projected onto my son. But it was really listening, tuning into his frustration that brought the following message:
We are empowered by situations that force us to choose, to prioritize. At first we may notice the big dramatic moments where it is obvious that a choice must be made. But eventually we will see that these “situations” are each and every moment of our lives, and the more moments we can string together by consciously prioritizing and acting according to our hearts, the more we will embody spirit and be co-creators of this existence, free to explore and create love, joy, and grace. There is nothing in the future or past that is worth compromising living the path of love in the present.
I want to work. I want to be involved in new things that inspire and manifest abundance in a sustainable way to create “security” for my family. This desire to work, however, largely exists in a vacuum. Moment to moment, when I am listening to my heart, I want to be with my son—to go hiking with him, to exclusively breastfeed him, to laugh and play and sing with him. In the moments when I don’t want to be with him (yes, these exist too and I suspect that any parent who denies this is…in denial) I want to be taking care of myself—practicing yoga or meditation or breathwork, writing stuff like this, or taking a shower.
It’s only natural that I want to provide for my child. What I’m learning though is that I need to provide for my child in the here and now, first and foremost. When we found out we were pregnant a year ago my partner and I had no idea how we would move into a home appropriate to have a child in and make ends meet. And yet here we are. The last year has really shown me that Spirit sustains us, and that the real work we do isn’t about making money. It’s about being love, being of service, and being joy.
Maybe the last couple weeks have been a test to show me how tempting it is to rejoin the rat race of thinking I have to do it all, and how much that costs. I’m learning, though, that the opportunities and cash actually come easier when I choose out of the rat race, and that life is simpler and more enjoyable when I am focusing on love, service, and joy in the now. It’s always a leap of faith until we realize we’ve landed someplace much better. And once that realization comes the fear and struggle of the freefall become gratitude for the grace that pushed us off the cliff.
If you give me permission this is what I want to say:
I love you in a way that is beyond
a story. That makes the story look like
the joke, dream, trip, tragedy it is
when we hold it
in a way that keeps us
from the grace
of waking up
in this moment
to the fact
that we are love.
We are love.
Wake up, you are love.
Wake up. You are love
beyond the doing and planning,
the should’s, have to’s, fears.
The not being enough. The needing more.
The truth is
we are every-thing.
Creators not out of need or obligation,
It is the how and why
you were born.
The only way to heal is to realize
you don’t have to do anything!
You are just love learning
all the funny ways love teaches itself:
paranoia, neurosis, clinging
and if you’re lucky the push and pull
between the ego and the soul.
It’s just the beginnings of getting free now,
it’s ok to feel torn apart, it’s ok to scream, it’s ok
to rediscover your wholeness and cry.
Thank you, thank you, thank you
for reminding me so beautifully
that we are just the universe coming of age.