Sometimes we get chances in simple moments to realign ourselves with Love.
I had a few thoughts swirling in my head yesterday morning.... my need to super-clean the babes' bedrooms was among them... getting my thoughts together enough to write an essay... pondering how to turn around some of the thoughts and reactions that I had the day before (and how to avoid them on this Bright New Day), wondering what would happen if I chose to live the day for Love....
In the middle of cleaning Trev's room (he wasn't sleeping in there - we co-sleep, so their bedrooms are pretty much just used for personal space) I hear Maddie rousing from her sleeping spot in the other room.
Since I was pondering all things Love, I interrupted my cleaning agenda and went to Maddie to offer her Good Morning loves.
And I consciously thought about how much I loved her while I was doing so.
Lots of kisses... lots of squeezes... lots of gushy "gosh, I love you!!" 's....
She smiled and hugged and loved me back...
I really was supposing that my child would suck this up infinitely. I mean, here I was, giving my absolute full attention to her (not thinking of how I should hurry off now to get my things done)... would she cling to it needfully, not wanting to ever let it go? Was she starved for Love such as this?
Something unexpected happened.
"Mom. What time does the movie start?"
"Um... 'bout lunch time."
"We're still going today, right?"
"I think so."
Now you might suppose that my child was dismissing me, and you'd be right.
But what this moment revealed to me was that my child apparently feels this love always.
One of the things that spurred this particular topic was a few days ago I was snuggling and loving Maddie first thing in the morning, and whispered, "I love you!"
"Yes." she answered back.
A gift, then.
An absolute acceptance of Love.
A savoring of being held and coddled.
An admission of "Oh, yes, This is mine. I claim this Love. I deserve It. It belongs to me."
A gift to me... a reminder to say "Yes" to Love.
Another such opportunity had presented itself just a few nights before...
I had woken up in the middle of the night (maybe to get a drink of water?) and noticed my nine-year-old son sitting at his computer in the den.
"Go to bed." I said.
Just like that.
Now being up late isn't unheard of in our house... my son sometimes has late-night bouts for days or weeks at a time. It's not something to which I'm peremptorily opposed, "just because". But for some reason I was reacting, and not thinking, this time. I think it probably was because he had had a cold. And because he had slept until twelve o'clock the day before. Because my brain was sleep-drugged. Because I'm too tired to make sense of this in the middle of the night. (I usually fall asleep around ten, so anything after that seems like the-middle-of-the-night to me.)
The next morning Trev came to me.
"Mom. I need you to not come to me at night and just boss me to go to bed. I can't just go to bed when I'm not tired. I don't think that's fair."
"Oh." Think about it. "I was feeling worried. You've been sick, and I want you to get enough rest. I want you warm, I don't want you scared, and I want you to feel good and happy."
"I understand, Mom. But I'm not scared because I always keep the lamp on. Dad is right there (points to our bedroom - just a few feet away), and I can just go get in bed with him when I'm tired, or cold."
"I see. When I come in and say "go to bed" when you're not tired, and then you lay there and can't sleep, it's much worse..."
"What were you doing?"
Shrug. "Just watching I, Carly. Looking stuff up on Wikipedia. Playing games." he said. Then, "It's just my quiet time. I just do whatever it is I want to do..."
"I see. And no one's there to interrupt you." Me. "No one's there to bug you." Maddie.
"Exactly. I'm free and it's quiet."
Hmmmm. Exactly like my morning time. The three of us are together every day, all day, after all.
"Sorry, Bud. I get it. Mine is in the morning. It's very important to me." Pause. "Okay. It's yours. Just make sure you're warm enough and safe from things that will frighten you."
We went on to discuss things; how glad and relieved I was that he came to me when he had a problem, and I asked him if there was anything else we needed to talk about, if he had any other complaints about particular things that we needed to straighten out... I let him know (again) that everything is negotiable, and that I'm always willing to listen, particularly when I've done something bossy or am feeling like I get to rule the roost... [sheepish smile]...unchallenged.
I can see now as I put these thoughts together, that this is pretty much how it goes around here.
That the work we've done (as parents) - even when it's not spectacular, but the every day stuff - is the foundation for the rest of it.
The four hundred "Love you"'s every single day.
The quick squeezes as you pass by eachother in the kitchen throughout the day.
The "Yeah, I can help, just a sec..." 's.
The "Oh, goodness, I'm sorry"'s.
And "okay, I need this, and you need this, so how can we make it happen for both of us?"
"Yes! we can make cookies. What kind shall we make?"
"Yes, I can sweep the kitchen floor right now so you can do your giant puzzle."
I think as parents we need to look within the family circle often, not only to "check in" to make sure everything is going alright, but so that we might recognize (and dwell in and be happy for a moment) the love that will show itself, too.
Sometimes we'll find out that yes, we messed up, but that it's not irreparable, and sometimes, like I have now, that even though we're feeling glaringly imperfect, that things are actually quite right, and good.
We shall get to see that should our finer and more present moments happen often enough, they are what guide and influence our everyday occurrences and conversations.
We shall receive the gift of understanding that these moments of saying yes to Love are not "the exception" of the way things flow around our home, but, thankfully, rather these moments are the Flow, itself.