This is third in our series, When Children Grow Up. Now, we get to the nitty gritty of how to embrace that new way of being as a mom or dad. It is a way to embrace a new way of being in any relationship, really. These steps allow you to gain something – rather than let go or give up something that is dear to you – so I hope that you are inspired to make that embrace!
Notice and remember all that you got to do as a mom or dad.
Go through your scrapbooks and photo albums. Remember brushing her hair, the fun of bath time, and the excitement of birthday parties. Remember vacations, graduations, friends, and holidays. Take your time doing this. Allow yourself to feel all that rises up. With each thing that you remember or notice, tell yourself, “Look what I got to do! Look what I got to experience!”
This is not a one-time deal. It is a practice that you do over months or years. Remember to fully feel and experience what you got to do! It was grand!
Redefine the new you.
Take the time to get curious about how you want your relationship with your child to be now. Ask yourself, “What three qualities do I want to have as the parent of a young adult?” Write those qualities down. A part of that discovery may be recalling what you most desired or received from your own parents when you were just embarking in college or in a job or in whatever may have drawn you away from home for the first time.
Begin practicing by responding to your child from each of your qualities. If you find yourself dropping back into non-current responses, plan how you will respond from your qualities the next time. Your world changed when your child could walk, talk, and eat on his own. You responded then from a new place. You can do that again in this new world!
Recognize the benefits of “from now on”.
While remembering what you got to do, know that there is more for you to share and experience from this moment forward!
From Seven Thousand Ways to Listen
By Mark Nepo
"It helps to remember how, in a field with no one watching, the smallest wildflower reaches its tiny root into a dark it doesn’t know and at the same time opens itself to a light it feels but can’t yet see. And while the flower has no choice to commit to this natural process, we as humans have a choice. Unless rooting and opening, unless listening to what is near but beyond us, we will forgo the soul’s birthright to blossom.
In very real ways, we’re drawn to what we need to learn. Often, it waits like a quiet blessing that we can easily ignore or just as easily open ourselves to, like that small wildflower. But for the soul to blossom, we must accept our deeper, humbler destiny. For the wildflower doesn’t become rich or famous for blossoming. It doesn’t live forever or become the greatest flower of all time. The wildflower’s reward for trusting what it senses but doesn’t yet know is to become what it was born to be--a flower whose inevitable place is realized in a small moment of Oneness, as it joins with elements that were here before it came alive and which will live on once it dies. This is the reward for every seed growing in the dark with no sense of what it will become. As a soul on Earth, this is all we can hope for, to feel the light and being of all time course through our veins while we blossom.
This is the closest we come to living forever. And after almost dying of cancer, after birthing and dying to many selves, after losing many and finding more, after feeling grateful for love wherever it might appear, I can bear witness that this deep listening at our edge is enough. I wish this for you though I can’t tell you how to find it. At times, I’m not sure I can find it myself. We can only steer each other to our own inborn gift. For it’s the gift waiting inside all our trouble that knows the way.”