Something funny happened today. I’ll try to explain it as simply as possible but I’m a terminal rambler…
Little dude and I were on the way to a meeting for his daycare but I could read the signs that he was not in the mood. Given that the signs were mostly vocal, everyone could tell. He was hysterical and usually he can be calmed using typical toddler distraction but today, not so. As we passed a park he held up his “puddles” (gumboots, wellies) and cried out, “Jump in puddles! I didn’t get to jump in puddles!” I’d promised a rainy day adventure the day before but we spent most of it inside the car. So I took a sudden left and we pulled up at the park. If my little man wants to jump in puddles, damn it, we will. This was the first funny thing. My desire to soothe him and make him feel happiness overtook the orindary urge to hide from the general public. It felt good. As it should. I’m still the all powerful Wizard in his world. I make shit happen.
Today was a sunny, mild winter day in Melbourne. It was delicious on the skin and helped ‘outside’ feel a little less scary. So we wandered around looking for puddles to jump in.
Little dude’s excitement was growing. His teary eyes cleared to reveal a perfectly honest grin. He was simply and innocently happy to be there. He pointed out the “bootiful ducks”, “luffley water” and blue sky. I had an ache in my chest and tears threatened to escape. Second funny thing. An overwhelming sense of the beauty of simplicity. Dare I say it, I was in the moment. I was inhaling it, absorbing it, just being. For about a minute. Then my thoughts went something like this,
‘This is amazing! Look how happy he is. Just being outside and observing. Like every little thing is brand new and amazing. This feels good. Oh shit, I feel good? Oh God, how long is THIS going to last? Stop! Hold on to the moment! Why do I PANIC when I realise I am having a pure, happy moment? That’s pretty stupid. God, this feels so RAW. Ouch. Here comes the waterworks. You can’t cry here! Who cries because they’re at the park? You’re just doing what mothers are supposed to do. Bloody hell, get a grip!’
So I ruined it a bit. And then I was a bit hard on myself for thinking I’d ‘ruined’ anything. I was still standing in the sunshine, holding the hand of the greatest little being ever to grace my life with his presence. “Mum, the ducks are laughing!” And he answered the ducks quack quack quack with a slow ha ha ha.
‘Jesus, I love him so much. He just makes my heart swell. I feel so full of love for him. It’s almost overwhelming. Oh God. I’m going to cry again…’
We talked to the ducks. I pointed out shapes in the environment and leaves and he just said everything was “bootiful”. Which made it so.
As we walked around the water (a few more times than I wanted to, but it was his treat) I had to take deep breaths. I was experiencing waves of emotion. Funny thing being that they were so raw, deep and the kind that remind you what a gift life is. It shook me. Am I allowed to feel good like this? Is this a blip on the screen or is this the moment that marks a new chapter? Am I on the way to allowing myself to feel good? Could I have a life that feels like this all the time? Do I ask too many effing questions about things that I should just acknowledge and be grateful for?
Mindfulness is the greatest challenge I face. I had a racing brain before this all happened. Now it races and swerves and freezes and snaps…*screams* I thought to myself,
‘No matter what happens in my head, the ducks are still swimming here. No matter how I worry about what happens next, they will still bob their heads under the water to feed and stick their bottoms in the air. No matter if a parent or student SEES ME out somewhere, the garden will still grow, the mountains will still stand tall on the horizon here. If I take antidepressants until next week or next decade, other things remain constant. Simple and constant. Some things remain as they were. It is not the whole axis of the Earth that alters, just a bit of mine’.
And the beat goes on…
I can’t emphasise enough how reassuring and calming this was to me in that moment. Not a flippant, ‘Life goes on, mate’ which deflects and demeans. It was almost a meditation. A chant. But such a simple thought. Straight away I thought, ‘I should get a tattoo saying something like that!’ because I know I need reminding. I’ll settle for this post for now 🙂
We neared the car again and I kissed and cuddled my baby boy and basked in that love. You know, briefly. But oh so intensely. We stood at the edge of the water and I looked down at our shadows on the surface.
Yes, he is kissing my hand. No, I am not Mary Poppins, despite the outline.
“That’s it. That’s what I have that no one and no trauma or trial could ever take away from me. This boy that holds my hand and looks up at me with all the love in the world…for me. He has no reason to believe that I am weak, scared, hurt or less than I was before. He sees me through my old eyes, the way I used to see me…as anything I wanted to be. Infinite possibility and promise. About to be unleashed on the world :)”
What a beautiful thing to realise. To feel. To my son, I am still the best of everything. So why not go with that? Like getting an A+ at the start of the semester, and I just have to maintain it. Can I? Hmmm. Not all the time. But I felt today more than ever that there’s a good chance I can do that. He deserves nothing less than that. He deserves the world.
We got to the car with many loving goodbyes to the grass, ducks, rocks, sky. And the ducks again. I turned around one last time and this is what I saw…
I thought, ‘Are you bloody serious? All these profound feelings and realisations and then, like a movie scene, I turn to face an open door. Symbolic much? I got into the car with a wry smile on my face. Something funny happened today. I’m cautious and a bit scared but I think, just between you and I, it was a taste of what’s to come for me.