What an incredible transition I have found myself in, mothering my daughter through this potent, renowned "nine-year change" -- navigating her swings, feeling our love stretch and evolve to meet her new-found thrust of strong-willed individuation.
One recent, poignant moment, my daughter sidled up next to me in the kitchen while I prepared dinner, and said out of the blue: "You know Mom? It's not that I ever wish you were a different mother, exactly?" She touched my arm so I would look into her eyes and see her sincerity. Raising my eyebrows, curious where this was going, I said "Oh, really?" She continued, nodding in confidence: "It's just that sometimes I wish you had, um, different... qualities?"
Touched by the safety in which she articulated her insight, I asked her: "What qualities do you wish I embodied more of?" Clearly having considered this deeply, she said: "Well -- animal husbandry, for sure. You know, Mom, like farming with animals and knowing their ways?" I chuckled: "Yes, knowing you, I can certainly see why you'd wish that!" She continued: "Yes, and also farming and gardening -- working with the seeds and earth and food? That's so important to me, you know."
I nodded in agreement, still at the kitchen counter, massaging the avocado into the raw kale salad, and said: "Well, how lucky for you that your Papa is inspired about those things...?" She hurried on: "Yeah, but I really wish you were too. And I wish you liked cooking more. Even though the food you make is yummy. I wish you got more into it, you know? I wish you got more into a lot of things." Sort of humored and a tad stunned, I laughed: "Well -- thanks for the reflection and feedback my love." She said, cheerily: "You're welcome!" tossing her hair and pouncing off to the couch.
I admired her sensitive and skillful communication, and wanted to be gracious and mature, but my heart also stung for a moment, and tender tears came to my eyes, with my back to the kids, taking in the reality that we seem to have officially reached the end of my being "the sun, the moon and the stars" for her. It hurt to feel my limitations and imperfections as a mother in her eyes, clearly articulated by her desires that I meet her differently.
Then I had a self-compassionate thought: how crazy would it be to expect I could guide and mentor my children in all the ways they crave to be nurtured? How freeing might it be to just bow into the truth that in fully being myself I cannot possibly meet all of their needs? And that perhaps I'm not meant to?
I decided to step closer into this hot fire of my daughter's clear reflection and asked her: "Anything else you're wishing could be different about your Mama, my love?" She sauntered back to my side by the kitchen counter, and after thinking for a moment, while scanning me up and down, she finally said tactfully: "Well, for a mom?... You can be a bit, um, starry-eyed?" I laughed at her word choice, repeating: "Starry-eyed?" She stroked her fingers along my waist, walking away: "Oh you know Mom, you're just sometimes, like, kind of, in the stars?"
I smiled at her wording, but it also impacted me. I responded: "Like sometimes you feel I'm distracted, or not fully present with you?" She considered this, responding, "Sometimes, yes, especially with your stupid phone. But more it's like sometimes I feel you're with me, but at the same time you're in the stars?" I nodded: "Oh, I see. Yes, I think I know what you mean." My heart throbbed in my chest vulnerably, feeling into what she was reflecting.
And then I recalled myself as a little girl, perhaps even more "starry eyed" then, with an intensely earthy mother -- a gardener, weaver, potter, cook, seamstress, incredible textile artist -- who was amazingly grounded and constantly set up art projects for me to do: busy, busy, busy.
And yet how lonely I felt inside our connection at times, as I yearned for my mother to drop into the quiet mysteries of Spirit with me, to peer into the subtlety of overlapping realms; to contemplate the vastness of Source, and the nature of spiritual love that captivated me so, even as a young child, with such potent curiosity. And how genuinely little interest she herself had in those realms -- so fully, un-apologetically herself she was.
And the many mentors I then sought and received as I grew into my womanhood, who met me in my love for God and Truth and the mystery arts of spiritual healing and prayer, dance and writing -- in all the ways I so deeply craved. All of which eventually delivered me to an ever-deepening love and appreciation for my amazing human mother -- with all her awesome, creative and earthy ways.
I returned my attention to my sweet blossoming daughter: this little earth girl, this fully descended angel who passionately loves horses and dogs and bunnies, delights in the change of seasons and hay in her hair, the magic of soil and necessity for dirt on her hands, who seems to have been born with the ability to identify plants and herbs, who can knit a small animal in a handful of minutes, sew a leather pouch together with tiny stitches of sinew, and is endlessly creative with scissors and tape and string. And her elegance and eloquence and maturity and exquisite perceptivity that amazes me so. What a profound mystery it is, that she chose this starry-eyed, spirit-focused mom to birth and raise, guide and adore her so, the way I do.
I called the children to the dinner table, and served food onto their plates. And as my daughter sat down, I said to her: "That must be frustrating and lonely for you sometimes, Love, to have such a "starry-eyed" Mom in this earth-walk, loving all the things that you do." She looked at me tenderly, and said thoughtfully: "Yes -- but it's also what's so wonderful about you, too. I wouldn't want you to be different."
I said sincerely: "Thanks my love." And as I sat down with them, I said: "And you know what? I'm super excited to meet all those people who are going to mentor and guide and even mother you in all those ways I can't, Beloved. And then, maybe? Someday? You'll come home and make us the most beautiful garden and cook for us the most elaborately inspired meals, teach me all about the animal creatures and show me your ways."
She smiled, nodding in excited agreement at that thought, then stood up and wrapped her little arms around my neck and said sweetly: "Thanks for making the kind of kale avocado salad I like." And with a softly sobered and broken open heart, I said: "You are welcome."