New Year’s blog posts: Losing weight, developing productivity skills, becoming the Queen of DIY, building stronger self-esteem and managing money like a boss. Whatever! Go for it…. I wish you the best of luck. I just don’t see myself as a person tackling any of those specifically. Make no mistake, I want to bid adieu to my “muffin top,” I dream of paying debt off using a plan devised by some bleach-toothed, tanned finance guru and if I could get my hands on some power tools I’d totally build a farmhouse table compliments of Pinterest. This year, like last year, I choose to focus on mindfully setting out to survive circumstance, enhance the life of my darling child, and welcome the wondrous wisdom the universe has afforded me since the birth of my son.
I have no plan. Nothing I can type on a to-do list or use an app to help me accomplish this. Some people may say this lack of purposeful plan is a direct antithesis to my mindfulness approach. It’s not. My daily life takes firm roots in embracing the present. Sometimes I look past the mess on the floor and just breathe in as my toddler sings to his Ninja Turtles, races his Bat Mobile across the kitchen and attempts to feed his breakfast to the toy horsey. I make less plans, I abandon ideas when playful whimsy occupies our hearts at a given moment, and we take naps together just because we can.
In the quiet of snuggles and sweet kisses I have learned my son also practices this mindfulness approach. He tells me his secrets, his fears, and why he needs to rest his heart. You see, Holden struggles with emotions. He feels deeply. So deeply and intensely we take “heart breaks” to stop what we are doing and let his heart find some calm. Many toddlers need this type of intervention when a tantrum goes from horrible to soul piercing. But Holden struggles—he has suffered loss from a young age and that loss is cyclical in nature: his father appears for scheduled weekends and disappears again. Holden worries parents don’t come back. Thankfully Daniel Tiger has a song for that: “Grown Ups Come Back.” Holden knows where the important people in his world live and work. He knows if we must travel a long ways or a little ways to see them. Holden knows when someone presses the “ignore call” button and he takes great offense to it. Holden deeply feels rejection… something I actively attempt to thwart by offering a variety of reassurances.
Most recently I came to understand the intensity and introspection of my two year old while we sat in the glow of the Christmas tree cuddled on the couch. Holden told me something very depressing, “My dad is sad. My dad hurts.” Holden’s last memory of his father from Christmas seared his little heart. His dad sobbed saying goodbye and Holden held out his little hand and stroked the tufts of hair on his father’s head. He told him it would be ok and shushed his father as if Holden were rocking a baby to sleep. Holden’s concern morphed into puddle of tears as his father left the room; I held my son, stroked his head, hummed sweetly, and I resolved to stay stone cold. In this moment Mama could not feel… there were too many feelies occupying the space. Holden continues to ask me if his dad feels better. I cannot answer him as I do not know. I have no rights to the knowledge of those emotions.
My son needs me in the moments with him, not watching games or cleaning the kitchen while he plays, but WITH him. Nothing gets accomplished this way…but Holden knows I am HERE. I am not leaving for an undisclosed amount of time or avoiding him. I am HERE. Playing. Singing. Reading. Cuddling. Responding to “I hold you mama.” And when Holden feels sad I respond with love and attention. When Holden shouts “I AM MAD!” I can ask him why he feels so angry. I can stop his tiny tot rages by helping him recognize his heart needs a rest. I can smile when he smiles. This year, like two years before, bestowed upon me the gift of motherhood. A tragic, terrifying and glorious gift. I can only resolve to continue to evolve as a mother. To bake less cookies and engage in more play dough picnics. This is the wisdom I embrace and will seriously utilize in the coming year and all the years after 2015. I AM HERE for YOU, my sweet Holden Bear.