The thing I find hardest about parenting is those times I have to disappoint Cowgirl. Tonight we were going to bring her cousin up to spend the night and to watch Cowgirl while we went out to dinner with some friends. I know every book on relationships and family stresses the need for the parents to have some regular alone time. Lying in bed exhausted at night does not count. But in all honesty, it is hard to add one more task to my weekly list and procuring a babysitter, making arrangements with other couples who have equally chaotic timetables, is not something I joyfully nor regularly take on. So this was going to be a special night for all. And a lot of effort went into the preparations.
So naturally, disaster strikes this morning. To be precise, rather severe menstrual aliments have smote me down although now I am wondering if I haven't hit the daily double with some kind of flu? I struggled all day, hoping and trying to feel better so we could proceed with our plans but I am losing the battle and the war. The husband is out with Cowgirl, an hour away to pick up her beloved cousin and I just called with the bombshell, leaving him to deal with the emotional carnage. With any luck, I will have succumbed by the time they get home.
Cowgirl has handled other disappoints with a rare aplomb for a five year old, but still I am anxious. It will be hard for her to understand mommy really really wanted this evening to happen and it tears me up to have to let her down. I am understanding the deep conflict mothers face when placing their needs before their child's. It is necessary for my daughter to learn in order to care for others in any authentic way, one must tend to oneself first. I know this but still ...
And I know my task as her parent is to prepare her as best I can for the world at large. Disappointment is inevitable and an essential tool is learning to be adaptable and flexible. I am reminded that the Yoga Sutras teach us that a number of obstacles will arise on our journey: disease, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, sensuality, false perception, failure to reach firm ground, and slipping from the ground gained (my favorite as it always happens!) To hold onto one's center when everything is trying to knock you over, that is a real gift. And what is that center? Well, I firmly believe it is Joy. To teach myself and my child how to remember this truth, even when disappointments and set backs make us miserable, is my mission. Happiness does not depend upon outside circumstances, but upon an interior attitude. In any given moment, we can make our way back to our rightful state. It is in our power. As someone so wisely said, "If you cannot change the situation, then change your attitude."
I just received the phone call that Cowgirl is spending the night with her cousins - a treat far greater than having just 1 cousin over at our house. See? The universe always provides! Meanwhile, I am snuggling under the covers and awaiting the dawn of a hopefully healthier day. Did I fail to mention I lapsed from my 12 days of healthy semi-raw eating to indulge in pizza? Hmm ... loss of ground gained? Certainly my body is letting me know she is not pleased. Pass me the gatorade and please, no more commercials with food in them! My stomach is on strike.