In my part of the world (Alberta, Canada) the days are getting shorter and summer is winding down. But as the temperatures drop and the days shorten, I always get a feeling of impending doom. As a parent of two teenagers, the end of summer means back-to-school. Many parents (and non-parents) revel at the return of a schedule, and all that is associated with the return of routines.
I, on the other hand, get sad at this time of year.
Having a child evokes big love. The kind of love that makes you think (and act) a bit crazy at times. Love like the protective mama bear, showing aggression to anything that may harm her cubs. Love that wants nothing but happiness, joy, and success for her baby bears. Love that does not want to see heartbreak, sickness, sadness, or hurt. Love that conjures deep strength from within, enough to throw a train off its tracks to protect the little loves, if need be. Love that reaches deep inside of me, grabs the earth below my feet, brings it up through my heart, giving me a sixth sense and super power skills to understand, heal, protect, guide, facilitate, and read minds of the little loves. Love that has no limits. Love that is, dare I say, unconditional.
But interestingly, it doesn't stop there. As you know, love knows no bounds. As these little bears grow into young adults, rubber hits the road. The cubs morph into independent beings with skills to make big and responsible decisions; venturing into the big wide amazingly beautiful world...in their own cars (well it's my car currently). Now they are out there in the world without me by their side to guide, protect, speak up for, and support. My work is almost complete. It's largely out of my hands now. I have done all I can to make sure they say thank you at a restaurant, tip the waitress appropriately, make good choices, and act like kind, genuine, and compassionate humans.
Okay my work isn't completely done. The home fires will continue to burn as long as Mountain Man and myself are around. Our home is place of refuge is for all its inhabitants. They are free and supported to dip their toes in the ocean of life and come back to shore to towel off and discuss what it was like. As parents of teens, it's our responsibility to put out the safety buoys. Boundaries are important. They are not adults yet; their pubescent minds are clouded with hormones and it's-all-about-me-ness.
More mistakes will be made.
The mistakes are essential to growing and understanding. The beauty of being a parent is we have the right to offer advice; even with it's unsolicited.
This summer, I let my 16-(going on 23)-year-old cub venture on a holiday with another family. Something I have not done before. And it's not just any family; it's her boyfriend's family! She is driving with them to a family wedding in another province, and flying back home on her own. You see this is a big deal for me. I have never even let my kids go to summer camp. I want them close, I know this childhood time is finite, I want to be with them, and I have always adjusted my schedule to allow us to enjoy a lake-filled summer with campfires, fun, and friends.
Our decision to let her go was not a light one. My wish for her is to have fun and enjoy new experiences on this holiday; however selfishly I want her near. As she was packing and getting organized, Mountain Man and I rotated in and out of her room, chatting with her, helping her with her list; basically smothering her with our love. All this emotion didn't go unnoticed. She said to me, "Wow if you are having this much trouble with a six day holiday, what are you going to do two years from now when I leave home?" My thoughts exactly; but I have two years to prepare.
For me, an important component of motherhood is not making my kids feel sorry for me or guilty. My mother was a master at the art of guilt and pity. She did her best with the resources she had. I have more resources. Thanks mom for ensuring I won't do this to my kids (see it was a gift and I can see that now). So while I was sad to see my daughter go, I knew and she knew I would be fine.
Loneliness is you looking for yourself. I am found.
But the night before her departure, something happened to me that I didn't expect. I suddenly saw her as others see her; as the other family may see her, as a smart, confident, kind, capable, and beautiful young woman. As someone positively contributing to their lives; to their fun; adding to the fulfillment of their holiday experience. Just then, at that moment, I felt my heart grow even more; I felt the love get even bigger. I felt huge pride at the gift we have given the universe. What a good job we have done! This being filled with love and light and so much beauty, and infused with our love... she is out there now, sharing her love and light, her gifts, making the world a better place for all of us to be in. As a healer and a student of energy, this is even more powerful to me. She is a gift that is meant to be shared. Our responsibility and purpose as parents is to create, nurture, infuse, guide, protect, and deliver this gift to the world. I am so proud of her; I like who she is so much; she is so fun to be with. Loving and seeing her as others do has opened up my heart even more.
My intent at writing this piece is not to share what a great parent I think I am. I am grateful for what we have, and I understand many others have struggles and stressors that I have not had to face, my own mom included. My intent is to share the love I am experiencing right now; the love that is bursting out of me like beams of musical notes emanating from my heart; the love that is fostered by reaching down inside of me to the earth and pulling up roots and dirt; the love that comes from nurturing my little cubs and being caring and mindful as they grow; the love that makes me love bigger than ever; the biggest love I have known so far.
This is the kind of love that heals.
This is the kind of love that spreads and touches others, opening more hearts, allowing us all to hear more songs from the universe. Spreading across the oceans and seas, seeping into the windows of huts and homes that need it. Healing us all. For generations.
Do your best; love life like it's all that matters.
I would love to hear about the biggest love you've known so far. It's healing for us both.
Love and light,