So I’m sitting here at a campsite having a moment of revaluation as a parent.
Living with my mother has been challenging for my family. Don’t get me wrong, we are beyond grateful in a time of crisis for our family that has turned into a huge boon for us and our future along the way. But no house was meant to house 8 people (three families) all in very different phases of life for an extended period of time. I’ve lost my way and lost sight of the person I was meant to be to my child(ren). I’m supposed to be the best mother she deserves ESPECIALLY in the hard times. Not only when it’s easy.
I’ve lost sight of that. And I hadn’t even seen it. I’ve used ‘just surviving’ and ‘transition’ and ‘life is hard sometimes’ in the midst of my own pain and lost compass as an excuse to phone it in, yell, be lazy and turn on the TV. When Scott decided not to come camping I thought it’d be a good time for Susan and I to get a break but I just had a surreal hour plus in the tent with her: not worrying about schedules or the baby or my family or the house. She talked to me and I listened. We laughed. I heard, for the first time (again) how kind of a soul she is. We snuggled. I taught her how to make a pallet out of a folded comfortor, just as my father (the king of appreciating the moment) taught me. I was the recipient of a million spontaneous kisses. I learned my daughter believes friendship casts a spell on you (it totally does) and that she still can’t wait to learn to be in love like me and Daddy. We shared chips, hugs, books and so much love. I didn’t even have to ignore the clock, I simply forgot it. She was the one that said to me “Mama, we’re having such a great time that I wish I wasn’t tired…but would it be okay if I went to sleep now?” And when she did, I was touched and I was the one that wanted to cry and wail that I wanted to stay up with her. It gave me a refreshed perspective on what it must be like to be four and a half years old, spending every moment of your day orbiting a bright light in your sky and never wanting to close your eyes and be in the dark.
After she snuggled down in her first ever pallet, I remembered a moment almost exactly 4 years ago when she she was 9 months old: I had had this singular moment of clarity; I sat on the floor with her while she did a puzzle and just…enjoyed the moment. Just enjoyed it. The peace, the quiet, the harmony with the chaos that is this life revolving around Sol on this rock. It is a moment I’ll remember forever. The moments where I can just be are so few I can count them on one hand. When I married my husband, met my future children and nursed my daughters for the first time are among the top few.
I have lost sight of that.
Tonight, here in these woods, brought me back to the priorities of this life.
I need to be a present, engaged, loving parent.
Not just for my kids.
Not just because of my kids.
But for me.
I’d better remember that, lest I lose everything I was ever made to be here for.