Carrots

Children are a mystery. Just when you think you have them figured out they ask for carrots at bed time. Yes, carrots. Not cookies, or toys, or a drink of water, or one more story, but carrots. This is why I think my son has completely figured out life. On some level he must know that eating a vegetable, any vegetable, is the only thing that would give him another twenty minutes of delay before bed. Maybe this is something only another parent would understand, but as he sat on the couch, doodling with a pen and paper and munching on carrot coins, I felt truly delighted and proud… and bewildered. Even more so when after finishing all, yes all, of his carrot, he went happily back to bed, no arguments.

So to all parents struggling to get their kids to bed, or struggling to get them to eat something other than noodlesbreadpotatoesrice, miracles do happen, we are living proof.

A Beautiful Body Project – Jade Beall

Jade Beall – A Beautiful Body #1

Jade Beall is a photographer from Tuscon who has started a project called ‘A Beautiful Body Project‘ capturing the full diversity of mother’s bodies. It is a wonderful reclaiming of something divine, the belly of a woman who has birthed children.

This project reminds me of the powerful feelings of awe I had when I looked at my own postpartum body, shortly after giving birth to my son. The pure, raw power of creation beamed back at me from every stretch mark and curve. I could not deny the wild beauty of my body, a body that instinctually created life, without any input, guidance or direction from my conscious mind. My body took over when I got pregnant and when I surrendered to its power during labour and birth, I could only look on my body with eyes of love and admiration.

I must admit that cultural expectations of what my body is supposed to look like has crept into my consciousness. But this is the gift of children, especially small ones, they have not yet been brainwashed into thinking there is only one way for a woman to look. To them, as mommy, you are a goddess. In their eyes, you are the most beautiful person on the planet and they can’t take their eyes off of you. No one else will love you as completely as your child does.

This adoration of the body of the mother is perfectly captured by Beall’s work. Check it out

and reclaim the power inherent in birthing and raising children.

Moments

Tangerine streaks across lavender.
Chasing indigo and periwinkle.
Shade outlined on crisp relief.
soft tipped coal presses to the outline
violet embraces midnight.

The soft pause at dusk.
held, intake, waiting
pupils spiral outward
a still hush
before raucous song
erupts as one last defender
shouts triumph
the day’s long slumber, over.
Night awakes to her feasting form.

Crimson devoured
ochre eaten
vermillion carefully prepped and supped.

Hearth heart gold,
flickers, flickers, flickers,
out.

Till
still,
still,
still awake
momma and babe.
Her soft ink cloak thrown over their heads.
Held in tender darkness,
Till,
till
till
Morning breathes in russet, ruby, carnelian, amber, ember, remember, ever, every, early, morning, held, momma, baby, baby, mommy, mine, mine, hold me, hold you, love you, love.

Four years

Four years ago my son was born. Arriving right on time in the midst of a swirl of activity. My teacher.

I have learned more about myself, life, and present moment awareness from him than any spiritual master that I have encountered. He is wholly in the present moment. Even now, as he begins to learn the distinction between past, future and present, he still spends his time living from NOW.

Children are a mirror. You see yourself and all your merits and foibles reflected back. Every careless word is faithfully repeated with the same tone and vigor that you delivered them. Did you really mean to say that about the guy who cut you off in traffic? The recorder is always on.

Kids push you to and through and past your limits. They teach patience and priorities. They teach mental and emotional discipline. They teach responsibility and commitment with every tender newborn breath.

Most of all… They teach you love. The love that a parent has for a child is unparalleled. It may partly be an indelible genetic drive to care for offspring, but it is deeper than the superficialities. They pull out all the good in you, they peer in all the shadows, they deconstruct the anatomy of your soul. And after a careful examination, they love all of it. They adore. You learn through their thoughtful gaze what true unconditional love is about.

The key to parenting is to learn to always see them in the same way they see you, with full, direct, unflinching unconditional love.

Cocoa and Kisses

kids_streetten little fingers curl protectively around the small mug
we silently sip
a brief still moment shared
between blocks and trains and cars and catch
a pause to colour
then off to storytime and pretend and hide and seek
superheros have thoughtful conversations with cowboys and spacemen
on the ride to the zoo and park and store
ten little toes stomp in dinosaur tracks
across the toy-filled living room
tears chase smiles
across sweet smooth cheeks
serious tumbles after silly on a fast paced parade

we dance and wrestle and hug
as it is first bath then bed then book
a session, procession, recession
a tug and pull and push
to play all the way through to
sweet dreams

the walls fall silent and listen to themselves
the air gently settles to a soft hum
so still when the whirlwind sleeps
the restless wreckage of play
gets packed away
reloaded in the toybin with an explosive hinge

lavender shades of dawn
embrace a small voice at the edge of the bed
two bony knees and two sharp elbows
tuck wrestelessly into the cozy parabola
that once held a tiny baby
springy, silly, bounding
bouncing out of bed
and back to busyness.

Holiday Traditions Revisited

20111204-220340.jpg
Holiday season is here and no matter what you are celebrating, chances are that you have a bunch of traditions you have adopted from your family. Before I had my son, I pretty much followed the secular Christmas traditions my family had solidified over the years. Now that I am a Mom I get the pleasure and privilege of carving out our own traditions within our small family (with my husband’s input of course). While we are both spiritual, we don’t follow any one religion over another. That puts us in an interesting place that many people share; we don’t go to church, but here we are celebrating a Christian holiday.

We did discuss, briefly, not celebrating Christmas other than attending family events. But, let’s face it, Christmas time is just too much fun. We both grew up knowing the excitement of a Christmas morning, so we could hardly deny our son that same experience. Since we live in a mainly Christian country there is also the backdrop of fitting into society to consider as well, though that definitely played a smaller role in our decision to keep Christmas.

So, if we are not Christian, then what are we really celebrating at Christmas? Both my husband and I do like Jesus’ philosophies and teachings, so that is a pretty nice thing to celebrate. We also like the spirit of generosity that accompanies the Holidays; that being the main time when food banks receive their donations. Giving back to our community is important to us. So, we have the ritual of buying a toy, with the help of our son, to give to the local toy drive. Since our son is small, we bought a small toy to give to him after he put the bigger toy in the bin. I am so proud to say that he didn’t know about the small toy when he happily gave away a LEGO set. What a sweetie. The reason for the small toy for him was to mainly put in place a positive association with giving in his three year old mind. Maybe he is already a generous boy.

As for the rest of the holiday season, what my husband and I really love is visiting with family over some fun board games. I also like putting puzzles together, and I figured one a year is perfect. We did some baking tonight and we will also get a real Christmas tree. Gifts we have decided to keep low key with stockings in the morning and one bigger gift each. The shopping for the big gift will be decided by the rest family, so that we don’t end up with tons of shopping. Although I think the real tradition is the yearly discussion of how much we should buy for each other. Every year we end up deciding to do the same thing. 🙂

A new tradition will be to do our yearly donating on kiva.org as a family. We are basically spending the amount of an extra present each and instead giving it away to a charity.

Everyone will have their own traditions that are right for them. I think the most important thing is to consciously choose what you do and why you are doing it. Even if you don’t change a thing, I think the intent behind our traditions and rituals are very powerful.

How will you be spending your holidays?

Paper Snowflakes

A picture of a Snow Crystal taken by Wilson Be...

Image via Wikipedia

For the first time ever, my son and I made paper snowflakes. Having an excited three-year old handle real scissors can liven up any evening. How wonderful to savour these precious little moments. At times I cannot believe how fast he is growing and developing and others he reminds me of his newborn self. Every single stage he has been in, I have told myself “Remember this. Savour this. This moment only comes once.”

It is a beautiful exercise, savoring. All too often we race through experiences trying to stay two steps ahead. We live in a culture that is chronically stressed, distracted and busy. “Busy” is a badge of honour, but “Savour” is a luxury reserved for holidays. But savouring life is required to properly live it. What are you rushing for? Where do you think this journey of life ends? Savouring is living.

There is no excuse for not savouring life. It doesn’t need time, money or even to change what you do. Savouring is a change of focus. It could also be called living in the Now; though, I like the word ‘savouring’ better because it is more descriptive. How do you live in the Now moment? You savour it. Good, bad, a bit of each, savour it all. No moment lasts forever, everything changes; so enjoy every part of this delicious life! 🙂

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: