The other morning I dropped off my daughter, Meera, at school to go on a 3-day cabin trip. My mama's heart feeling tender as I said, "so long" to my getting bigger all the time, 9-year old girl, who is riding the cusp between being, mature and still very young. Her fierce independence showing itself as she releases her small, soft hand from my own, her eyes scanning the playground for friends as we arrive at school, while at other times her still very young part peeks out, like the night before she left for her school trip.
After stories had been read and I turned out the light, we lay snuggled in her bed, our faces nearly touching, and suddenly, her eyes brimmed with tears, her breath became slightly shallow, as she pondered out loud how she might feel, being away on the trip, then, with a quiver in her voice she asked, "What if I miss you? What if I miss Papa?" Feeling this quality of intimacy, this tender depth of love with my child, is almost, but not quite, too much to bear and my heart swells.
Emotions swirl inside of me as I confront the reality that neither her Papa, who flies home that day from a sojourn to his homeland of Germany, nor I, will be there on Friday to meet the bus when she returns. Though I know she will be fine, a tinge of guilt and a wave of sadness pass through me and my body tenses, my heart contracts. I am grateful that a close auntie, who she has known since birth, who loves her immensely, will be there to welcome her home with open arms and still, I know Meera will have some feelings about being picked up by anyone other than her parents. I know that this experience will grow her.
The line I walk, as a one who is fully committed to parenting and, at the same time, one who is committed to my own soul's journey, to my own creative, professional and spiritual evolution. When my daughter returns, I will be at a training in Los Angeles. I will be in a space where the invitation is to turn toward myself, toward a practice that nourishes and inspires me, one that is devoted to discovering what is alive and real, rather than meeting my beloved child in the school parking lot.
As I choose this sovereign time I become more human. I am humbled. I bow to what it takes to skillfully navigate the many crossroads that life offers us. I realize that I cannot be in two places at once. I surrender to the fact that life is messy and there are lessons to be learned in all kinds of ways.
I am being stretched in two directions, stretched like a piece of salt water taffy, thinning in the middle, which, if stretched too far, will become as fine as a silken thread and break, each sticky filament falling toward the earth, as it releases slowly into gravity.
My "Mama Bear" feels a strong desire to be there when the bus arrives, if only for a hug and a kiss, if only, to see my child's face and look into her big brown eyes. This is a moment for her to return to the fold, to be welcomed home. However, it is true for me to be away, to choose myself, and as I feel this, I am awash with mixture of sorrow, surrender and gratitude.
I know that making these big choices catalyzes evolution. I feel the impact of this choice and I experience a stinging hurt that is akin to growing pains.
It is as if my mama's heart is being ripped out. Ripped out and squeezed, squeezed like a fresh meyer lemon that is being made into lemonade as its' sweet juice drips out. The juicing process massages my heart, bringing forth a bittersweet tenderness. It is clear that life is squeezing us, that we, mother and daughter are both being transformed. It is this squeezing that moves us into the next chapter of our life together and as individuals. This nature's way. I exhale fully as I open to receive this poignant moment.
The truth is that we are each on our own journey. Mostly, we travel side by side and sometimes, we each take a solo foray out into the world. I know that I will return with my cup full. I will return with more to share with my daughter, and everyone I love, much more than when I left. I will return with an expanded capacity to be present and respond lovingly with grace and clarity having drunk deeply from a well that feeds my body and soul.
Making difficult life choices grows me. I am choosing self-love which is utterly essential. I modeling self-love for my child, trusting that her attachment to me is secure, and that regardless of who meets her at the bus, she knows she is deeply and passionately loved. She knows that life has her back. Meera is evolving on her own path where her Mama has not walked. She is growing as she learns to accept what is offered with gratitude, as she feels her feelings and speaks to what is alive in her heart. She is a sprout, rooting into the earth as she grows into her own small tree. She is discovering her nature as a sovereign being. As I give her the space to be herself, she is becoming more fully human.
To contact Padma and learn more about her offerings as a healer, writer, mother and psycho-spiritual counselor please visit: www.theresponsivebody.com