Lately I’ve been dogged by a sense of “What am I forgetting?”. My inner eye scans mental laundry lists, I run through a roll call of friends to email or phone, I pat my pockets and my purse, checking again to see if I have keys and wallet. Then my gaze falls on my daughter and the sense heightens. She might be standing right in front of me, but I find myself wondering where that kid I was living with 6 months ago has gone. I reference her as a toddler and then realize the label no longer works, now the term is “pre-schooler”. I may be running the risk of becoming a helicopter parent, not because I want to micromanage her activity, but because I am developing a phobia of missing something. Some incremental change or growth.
We found a 1960’s mini electric organ at a yard sale in Cape Cod, for three bucks. So we bought it and brought it up to camp, where it will live as a special toy to remember and return to each summer.
Since I can hear the thundering hoofs of my 40th birthday as it approaches from up the road, I have been
freaking out from dancing with a heightened sense of how quickly it all goes, these lives of ours. I am having such typical mid-life crisis thoughts, that I haven’t really been speaking them aloud, leaving tasteless cliches to coat my tongue. Hindsight, regret, and the sped up ticking of a clock are the thumbtacks I find under my butt, every time I take my seat. I grasp at the moment with my hands, only to realize that everything has continued to flow while I am stuck back in some eddy, trying to catch my reflection in the water. (Sometimes, my compassionate observer within takes on the form of Princess Leia in this scene, for which I’m grateful.).
It’s really hard to break habits and keep new ones, you know? Or perhaps it’s just the latter, since the former are less habits and more just the same ol’ unconscious M.O. How many times have I come to the realization that slowing down and allowing for the simultaneous grief of what passes and joy for what emerges is absolutely, one hundred percent necessary for living a life where I’m not driving myself crazy? Maybe that morning sitting practice will become permanent within the second half of my life. (Permanent! See what I did there? All you Buddhists in the audience are laughing, I can hear you.).
In some ways though, I need to get up to speed. Because while I’m still reading about how to handle toddler tantrums, my PRESCHOOLER is in the other room, taking her aggression out on her stuffed duck, and then making up for it by playing him a song on her xylophone.
I remember the importance of “beginners mind”, of approaching her with curiousity, of the need to say who are you? Because by the time I wonder who she is, that child is no longer around to tell me, and I’ll never get to go back and find out.
While I am busy trying to figure out how to “do it right”, the moment has passed and we’re on to something new. She will never again be the girl she was six months ago, or yesterday even. We all know this, that each moment is a world of now that is gone with the outbreath. But nothing shoves it in your face quite like having a young child who is forever running just a step in front of you. Literally and figuratively.
Fern will be THREE a week from tomorrow, and her birthday party is this Saturday. We are undertaking a huge D.I.Y project as her main gift, and there’s nothing like that sense of sped up time to make you think there’s no way in hell I’m going to get this done. And so, I am going to take my leave of you here, and spend the next few mornings trying to complete the impossible. My posts may be short, or non-existant, so I can have extra time for scraping wood and decoupaging.
See you in a few days! xo