If you’ve ever tried to meditate, you’ve no doubt experienced an achey back or a leg that falls asleep no matter how many times you shift your sitz bones. Likewise, when you parent there are invariably moments when you want to go away – when the repetition of peanut butter sandwiches and spaghetti is too much; when you don’t want to sing that song one more time or listen to that violin song again. There is a certain discomfort that comes in the repetition of parenting.
Here at yoga camp, I am currently dealing with a fair amount of discomfort. The honeymoon of the first week is done. We’re in a heat wave — 100-degrees yesterday — without any A.C. And I miss my kids like I’ve never missed them before. It’s the kind of pain I can relate to a yoga pose: holding and holding so that at first it is just a bit uncomfortable, but then it builds to a seeming impossible level, i.e., “Get me the hell out of this!” But then you breathe and you accept. You surrender. The discomfort doesn’t go away, rather it becomes a sort of new norm; it will eventually end, but you appreciate the shift that’s taking place.
I spoke to my daughter for the first time in days last night and I swear, she’d suddenly gone from a newly turned 9 years old to 12. She was so composed, so conscientious, so well spoken. It made me gulp for a second; “Where’s my baby?” But then I was so proud. I’ve given her space through this separation and she’s stepped into it beautifully.
I am stepping my way through it, too – though maybe not as gracefully. As I desperately want to reach for her – and her brother, too – I’m also trying to honor this space, which I chose. (Yeah, me — I did this, I got myself into this 26-day Warrior 3.) I knew at some deeper level that we need this time apart, and that I, especially, had places that I needed to sink down into, to explore and witness.
As much as it’s tempting to fill the tiny bits of free time we get here with activity – a Shakespeare play, a possible trip to visit a friend – I’m determined to sink down. I’m not sure what I’m learning, but I know something is happening.
Some time next winter, I’ll be standing at the sink emptying the dish washer whilst making a PB&J for my son whilst listening to the buzz of the washing machine and I’ll crave this time, I’ll long for it. I’ll even long for the heat. I remember that now and it allows me to go further, to stay with it.