She knocks her daddy and me off our feet daily…and not always in a good way.
Garrett, Jeff and I are pretty mellow, even-tempered folk. So you can imagine our surprise when Vivi came screaming (literally) into our lives. When she was a baby, she was upset a lot. Now, she’s still upset a lot, but she is also really funny. Charming, surprising…vivacious if you will.
A wise woman once told me, “We don’t love our children more or less. We love them differently.” A little more than three years after my daughter was born, I’m starting to understand what she meant. There are times when I am at peace with this difference and times when I struggle.
I wish so much I didn’t lose my temper with Viv, even when she yells, “NO, MAMA!” or “I don’t WANT that!” all day long. I wish it was easy for us to be together, that I wasn’t constantly readying myself for the next blow.
I’ve recently started participating in Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project. It’s pretty great if you want to start meditating but are intimidated by the practice. She sends two e-mails a week, each containing a short “lesson” on meditation along with a 10-minute guided practice.
10 minutes! Cake! (Well, not really, but it’s just 10 minutes!)
When I did her practice on strong emotions, part of the text struck me. Though she was talking about what to do when big emotions arise during meditation, for some reason it clicked in my heart with my relationship with my girl.
“Look, we’re just human beings here. The intention of our practice is not to help us transcend the human condition but rather to dive into it in order to live our lives fully, deeply, fiercely. When we embrace our aliveness, we can explore our creativity, be delighted and confounded by it, have our hearts broken by love and the loss of love and the return of love, fulfill our singular mission, and discover the truth of who we really are.”
When I get angry at myself for losing it with her, I am attempting to transcend. I’m going back to that old tendency to try to be perfect. Instead of seeing that few could make it until the afternoon under those conditions without blowing a gasket, I get upset with myself for not lasting till bedtime.
Yesterday, I grabbed some chocolate milk for the kids at the store. Garrett yelled, “Wahoo! Chocolate milk!” Viv asked what he’d said, and I smiled and told her, “I got chocolate milk for you. I think that makes me the BEST. MAMA. EVER.”
Her reply? “You are not the best mama ever.”
My response? “You know what, sweetie? You’re right. I don’t need to be the best mama.”
And really, I don’t. Because if I was the best, if I was perfect, how would she know what to do with her own imperfections? Every time I lose my temper, then take deep breaths, calm down and re-group, I am showing her what to do when she loses her little mind.