Monday, September 21, 2009

Excuse me while i whine a bit

Last night while I was making dinner, I could hear a child crying in the distance and while it sounded like Cowgirl, it didn't seem right. I wandered away from the stove to find her and her Pa Pa as she calls him, sitting in front of the computer watching old video footage from our first months home when she was just two years old. These are movies I haven't seen since they were shot because, well, while my husband does teach film making, that skill extends to his students and not the mounds of data sitting inside the magic box that is the computer. But that's another story ...

So I walk in to find the two of them engrossed in these home movies. One was Cowgirl playing with stacking cups while we were still in China; another was her doing an impromptu impression of Cookie Monster long before she every spoke a coherent word to us; another one was her signing for more food and cackling like a deranged tyrant, gloating over her power to control us, her willing pineapple providers.

Then there was one where she was obviously babbling a tirade at us, slapping her cheeks, sighing deeply, rolling her eyes, hands and arms flapping away. I watched myself in the movie walk up to her and said "Wo ai ni" which is mandarin for "I love you." She immediately softened, got this gooey look upon her face and sweetly replied "hao" which means good. I had forgotten she used to do that. And in watching all these moments of my baby being a baby I was hit by the sucker punch that every parent must experience when they tangibly know their child is growing up.

I mean, I had forgotten so much of this stuff which I swore I could never forget. And to see her chubby little cheeks, her toddling around like a umpa lumpa, I was almost paralyzed by the sense that all of this is slipping through my fingers. A dear friend and mama mentor reminds me frequently that there are no do-overs and to enjoy every bit of this gig called motherhood. So here comes my whine ... I am desperate that this is our last year before she enters kindergarten and school full time. I know for many families, there is no choice; both parents must work. And I am very fortunate to have a part time job with flexibility and to work a 4 day schedule. But I am greedy: I am still not satisfied. I want more. I want more open time that isn't crammed between nap and dinner time; I want to feel free to act spontaneously, deciding what we will do based upon our moods, whims, and the weather; I want to have more energy and emotional space available for my child and our time together and that has been hard with my current life.

I know something will have to change and it will probably have to be my attitude. The concept in Yoga is called Pratipaksha Bhavana and it means when we are troubled by disturbing or disquieting thoughts or feelings, we are to cultivate the opposite attitude. So if someone is annoying me, I am to think about the sweet face of my child to soften my heart and direct my energy in a positive way. My problem is, my monkey mind will lead me back to the fact that I am missing my child and that I am stuck at my desk while she is busying growing up without me there to witness it.

Can you tell I'm really wallowing in it? How do other mothers handle these feelings? How do you find peace in your situation? What is a healthy balance?

Oh, and the theme for Best Shot Monday is play. The little guy up front here I bought in China way before Cowgirl was old enough to play with him. She loves him now. He blinks and winks and chirps "Hiccup hiccup I yie yie." He reminds me of how little I knew about children back at the beginning of this wonderful adventure. I know a bit more and am better at improvising the rest.

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