Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Space Between

"Jump up and down, spin around!"  chanted the girl on the song I'd just downloaded.

"Listen, BG, let's dance!" I prompted and burn off all that energy and take a nap later.

She stood still for a long moment, her head tilted to the side, staring me straight in the eyes.  Then she turned her back to my jumping, spinning self, walked over to her toybox and emerged with a tiny drumset.

"I need my glasses."

After a little more digging, my sunglass-clad preschooler perched on top of the ottoman, tapping on her tiny drums with an air of gravitas.

I couldn't make these things up.

There are moments in my day, brief moments usually, when I look at my kids and everything about parenting makes sense.  When I know that they are going to be okay, that I am going to be okay.  When I can see the delineation between the two. When I understand my role in this relationship.  When I can really, for that moment, believe that it's all enough.

And they're never moments when we're doing something I planned.

Often I feel desperate to fill every moment of our day.  Either I am  carting my children to activities and planning crafts and projects for them to do with me, or I am plopping them in front of a screen and tuning them out so I can work my way down my own to do list.  

Why is there nothing in between?

The space between is the terrifying part.  The being instead of doing.  The trusting that even if I don't have a plan, if I'm not in control, everything will be okay anyway.  The trusting my kids and myself to know what to do without a checklist.

If I go through all the motions, if I get to the end of the checklist - both for my kids' activities and for my own self care - then I will have a metric to know that I succeeded.  Then I won't have to face the anxiety and discomfort that comes with the stillness, with not knowing what's going to come next, with not knowing how to measure whether what I'm doing is enough.

But the space between is also where everything that is beautiful happens, where there is the capacity to be surprised.  Where I can see who my kids really are, what they really want and love.

Where I can see who I really am.

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