I had been saying that I believed children were our teachers. So I got to thinking about what the Wildflower had to teach me at this moment. I thought about presence and acceptance. And wondered if there was still room for more understanding there. I thought about accepting myself - how I didn't think of myself as a failure, but I had been second-guessing my parenting.
At first I thought, that's it, I'm all about accepting my baby's behaviour and personality, but was I truly accepting myself?
But then, I thought, no, that isn't it. It didn't feel right. So I stopped thinking and while she played quietly nestled in my legs, I let my mind and heart drift and reach out to the Knowledge that is Out There.
And then it came to me. My focus had been accepting her, accepting the situation, and even accepting myself. All good and necessary. But I had never considered another thing to accept.
The relationship between us.
The relationship is a dynamic on its own.
Yes, a relationship between you and me is the product of what you and I put into it. However, it has its own reality that is apart from us. It is influenced by time, culture, circumstance, chance, fate, environment, pasts, timing, other people, as well as the you and me that is subconscious.
I can want my daughter and me to be close, to have a loving relationship, and I can want my parenting to have an expected result (contented baby), but how can this be possible? It isn't. Not really.
I only have the power and responsibility for who I am as a person, which affects who I am as a parent. This affects who my daughter is and it affects our relationship, and it may do so with great impact, but it does not determine it.
It. Does. Not. Determine. It.
Do you have any idea for how many relationships I have held myself accountable?!
How many times I questioned how good I was as a daughter, a girlfriend, a wife. Was I pretty or slim enough, loving enough, giving enough, perfect enough, good enough? Was I saying something wrong, doing something wrong, being something wrong? Or simply, what more can I do to fix this?
Despite feeling angry or even furious at others for not holding up to their end of the relationship bargain, ultimately, I allowed the burden of the relationship's success or failure to rest on my shoulders. As well as the inevitable sadness and longing that followed.
Although I healed the wounds from my broken relationship with my parents several years ago, I can see now how feeling responsible for making it right between us led me to accept the wrong men (and women friends) into my life. Broken men. Broken men that I thought I could 'fix' by being a wonderful partner. Of course everything would be alright, I was such a thoughtful and loving woman, how could it not be?
Incidentally, there was a time when I couldn't cope with someone not liking me. I just couldn't understand it. If I was a good, loyal, fun, kind person, how could someone dislike me? I got over that many years ago, but I can see the connection.
For a long time now I have understood other people's responsibility in my relationships with them. But I had never thought of the relationship as a separate force that is subject to its own influences and behaviours. Which is funny considering I live by the belief that somes things just aren't meant to be. The spaces between the spiral are just as real.
Whether my daughter is a contented baby, secure toddler, happy child, peaceful teenager, or whether we have a wonderful mother-daughter relationship throughout, is something I want. But now, I accept, that the relationship has the right to be what it will be. For all I know, a challenging relationship is what I and my daughter need to grow in mind and spirit.
* pic by meganneforbes