Friday, 19 October 2012

Taronga Zen

It’s quiet and chill at my house. I’m not sure the last time those two words could describe this house--especially with all four of my men home. 12:37 and I’ve only just had a shower and dressed. Spent the morning rocking in my Giddyup chair, drinking coffee and reading a book about Tuscany. Also a few books about animals and trucks and superheroes with little boys on my lap rocking too.

About 95% of me feels deliciously content and rested and at peace. The other 5% keeps wondering if I ought to take advantage of the pretty day and take the boys surfing. If we’ll miss out by staying at home all day. If they’ll resent it if it rains tomorrow as forecast and we didn’t DO anything today. Even though they are all content and resting and peaceful.

I do this as a mom. I have guilt attacks. Where I worry I’m not doing enough or too much or maybe not the right thing? I hate that stupid guilt monster. Some days though, some days I can quiet the beast and enter into the day and just be. Those days are always so delightful.

Thursday was such a day though it didn’t begin that way. The puppy had barked much, much, much of the night. Oh my. I kind of wanted to kill him. We had a trainer come and we were trying some new things and man a livin' he was struggling. So anyway, I was pooped. Also Littlest was just a stinker that morning. Demanding. Whiney. So very two years old. Then I accidentally opened a blog from one of those 'super moms' suggesting a clothespin game to play with your toddler in the living room that helps them work on the pincer grasp. RAWR! Guilt monster attack! I thought, "OH NO! I haven't been working on that. Was I supposed to? Now he'll have poor control and bad handwriting. Which means he’ll be a poor student and get behind and it will be all my fault. I've failed!" It sent me into a yucky space. Spiraling down into not-so-nice thoughts about myself and my mothering and how he wasn't in preschool and I wasn't doing preschool type things with him and would he be okay, was I wasting the short time I have with him, maybe we should have stayed in the US where he had a lovely preschool, etc. etc. On top of that the bigs just couldn't seem to get their act together for school. I was patient, but it was really irritating. There’s only so many times you can suggest that they get dressed in a serene voice. I had told Littlest I would take him to the zoo and I nearly bailed. In the end though we dropped the bigs off (late) at school and headed to the zoo.

It was so delightful. He had a cupcake and I had a coffee. Cupcakes and coffee always help. I need to paste that note up somewhere for myself. It seriously made a huge difference for my weary, cranky attitude. Then we just wandered.

The Taronga Zoo is amazing. It overlooks the Sydney Harbor--so it has a fantastic view of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Gorgeous. Also I didn't bring a stroller or the backpack. So we just wandered around at toddler pace. Which was so restful and restorative. Slow but deliberate. Another toddler meditation practice like I’ve written about before.

We went to the seal show. Which I LOVE. Hung out at the chimpanzees for a while. At one point he found a seed pod. A big one. He calls them 'shaka-shakas.' He loves them. If we were home we’d be collecting the US version from the yard at the top of Columbine Street on our way to Sandburg Elementary every morning. He shook it and danced and sang. Which was stinking adorable. Then he just plopped down right in the middle of one of the main thoroughfares and started pulling it all apart. At first I suggested we move and take it somewhere else. I was sort of embarrassed and not in the mood to beg him or negotiate with his two-ness. Then I thought, "you know what, why bother?" So I plopped down with him. Waited as he pulled apart all 5 pods one at a time. Unwrapped each of the 40 some seeds from their fuzzy-wierd shells and handed them to me one at a time. Right in the middle of everyone's way. It was so great. I nearly cried with the simplicity of it. The beautiful relaxing reality of just sitting anywhere we could find and doing ONE thing until we were done. Together. In the sunshine.

About 10 minutes later we were walking down a hill and he dropped his sippy cup. He realized that it would roll down hill and he just kept picking it up and rolling it over and over. Then he started to kick it. "Play soccer, Mama!" Again I was tempted to tell him no and worried about if it was a suitable area and about how filthy his cup was getting and would it break? Stuff like that. Then I just thought, "you know what, this isn't a big deal either!" So we played soccer. He just giggled and laughed and had the BEST time. Anyone whose way we were in was chuckling at him and his 'soccer ball' and his adorable laugh.

It was all pretty profound for me. I felt like I learned so much. Like that there is something both magical and meditative about being totally present with another person. Especially when that other person is very different from you--i.e. a toddler. Just to see the world at his pace. Through his eyes. Letting him take the lead--something I don't do very often. It was...well, magical! I also felt like I was able to be present with myself in those moments. Really honoring his personhood but also my own. It felt wonderful to sit on the warm concrete in the sun. To watch each seed come free of it's outer and inner case. I enjoyed that immensely and not just because he did. I also noticed that no one seemed particularly bothered that we were in the way. We broke some "rules" and weren’t particularly polite and it wasn't that big of deal. Then it occurred to me later, ha! We worked on the pincer grasp, vocabulary, science, physics, and a bunch of other preschoolish stuff! All just by being together!

It felt like such a peaceful, kind, precious way for God to say to me, "I love you. You're who I pick for these boys. I love YOU for just being YOU. Thanks for taking such good care of them. Thanks for taking good care of you."

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