My kids love to read a classic Sesame Street book called, “I Can Do It Myself”. In it, Ernie and Bert comb their hair, get dressed, and make their beds all by themselves. It’s great encouragement for early childhood independence. However today I saw the cover and had another thought; sometimes I can do it by myself. Other times I’m really grateful for the community of support that lifts my family and me through thick and thin.
If I were to write a sequel, it would be titled, “I am Glad I Do Not Always Have to Do It Myself”
Our neighborhood is ugly. All of the houses were build in the sixties (the raised ranch genre is limited). Even though I intellectually knew it was a wise purchase because of the schools, commute, and yard, I still inwardly cringed while strolling down the street.
All of a sudden today I saw beauty for the first time. Not in the standard concrete steps or routine brown paint but rather in the soul of each house. I gave thanks for the neighbors who have brought over food and helped with kid care during my recovery. I smiled at the connection with the other two mom family with twins living on the corner and the three generations of Vietnamese neighbors we are lucky enough to live next to. My heart went from door to door, thankful for the community we call our own.
After five long years and all of a sudden, I live in the most beautiful neighborhood one could imagine.
Our three-year-old twins are the learning how to skip count by twos at local rallies and marches. At home they shout: 2,4,6,8 we will not be ruled by hate!
Three months ago they had no idea what Washington D.C. was or what was happening in our government. Now my children are no longer innocent. While the twins ask about a bully president saying mean things, our nine-year-old has asked us about what the purpose of pussy hats is and what pro-choice means. We give answers that seem to be the best in the moment. Developmentally appropriate, but not glazing over the truth of our present reality.
This is the brave new world of parenthood. We are doing our best and trying to remember to breathe.
Our youngest one decided yesterday was a great day for a ride to the playground. Once she arrived at the slide, her monologue went something like this:Whoa, whoa, eke! This isn’t going very well. I huff and I puff and I go go go!!!!
She summed up my post inauguration feelings exactly.
Screaming up and down the court, phone capturing all her nine year old daughter’s moves, a basketball mom made her presence KNOWN this afternoon. What if we were all that focused on bringing peace to our inhabited spaces? How quickly would our worlds change?
Logistically it did not make sense for me to go to a community event on racism tonight. The kids were fried and so were we.
However, I heard the voice of my mom say what she has said my whole life, ” 90% of life is about showing up; physically, emotionally and spiritually”.
So I jumped into the car after the bedtime routine and made it just in time to see my friend’s daughter perform and a teen from our church lead a call for critical community dialogue .
I was glad I showed up. (Thanks Mom.)
After a rare cup of coffee today I felt jittery beyond belief. Instead of fighting it, I decided to get grounded by sitting on the floor and be present to my silly kids doing races around the kitchen island. I cheered them on, gave high-fives and comforted them after each minor injury.
Grounding myself not only resolved my caffeine induced tremors but brought me eye level to the joy of my children I would have otherwise missed.
How do we choose to be grounded in our daily lives?