My sweet baby turned 10 months old today. It's pretty amazing how the time flies. I mean, everybody tells you that as you get older time seems to whiz by faster and faster, and I kind of got it before, but now that I have a child, this strange re-interpretation of time has taken on a whole new meaning. So anyway, to commemorate her 10 month-long life earthside, I put a sweet sticker on her shirt this morning with a little hot air balloon on it announcing to the world that she's now 10 months old. I snapped a picture of her and we sped off to daycare.
When we got there, I took off her jacket and set her down to play. As I was talking with our day care provider about details of her diet and what not, I noticed that she was crinkling up the shirt and sticker and off-handedly made a comment about how maybe a tighter shirt would have kept the sticker intact a little longer. Right away, an older girl came over to Vera as I mentioned the sticker, and promptly peeled it right off of her shirt and threw it away in the garbage can. I almost lost it. I curtly told our day care provider what happened and left as I was so angry and hurt that I was starting to tear up. And also, I didn't want to lose it on someone else's child. I just kept thinking to myself that that was such a mean thing to do. Now, I can't be sure this girl's intention was mean-spirited. I mean, she's older than Vera, but she's still a very little girl. But at the time I interpreted it as mean. And of course Vera could not care less, in fact I don't even think she really knew what happened, and as soon as the sticker was gone, I think she forgot it was ever there. It was my way of celebrating her, and nothing that she could identify with at this age.
So, this now brings up two very interesting problems for mommy to begin addressing within herself:
A.) How am I going to react and handle situations where someone else treats my child in a way that I deem to be mean, hurtful or in any other way wrong.
B.) Why did I even take something so personally, when my kid didn't even care? How much stuff am I constantly projecting on to her? Can I catch myself before I project said emotions/reactions on to her, and let her develop her own way of being in the world?
As far as how I am going to handle situations in the future where I think my child has been done wrong - I guess that must be a circumstantial answer. If it is something like another child hit her or hurt her, I imagine I will say something to that child. Now, the amount of grace I can bring to that interaction will depend on how much I've been meditating lately, how hurt my child really is, how contrite the other party seems to be, and how much of an impact I think I may be able to have on this child's future aggressiveness...I hope. I hope that I don't just fly off the handle as I was on the verge of doing today. It was my sense of social awkwardness in front of our day care provider at the thought of getting upset with someone else's child over something so petty, that kept me together until I got to the car. It feels decidedly childish to admit this in such a public forum, but it is unmistakably the truth. As I sit here considering the Great Sticker Debacle of 2014 I realize that the only thing that kept me from telling that little girl just how mean I thought she was was that our day care lady would think me a petty person, a horrible mother, and kick us out of her practice. ...Wow, that stings a little.
Now, if the circumstance in which I believe my child to have been done wrong is less offensive, like for instance, someone takes something from her (and let's say, as she gets older, she may care a little bit - though I am holding my breath, in hopes that she will always be as non-committal as she is now to "her stuff" and never really care if someone wants to play with a toy she has or use her things) I think I need to learn to be a little less affected. I mean, really, to think that after the years I've put into meditation and working on being less attached to things, the stark realization that a little girl taking my daughter's sticker got my goat so bad is a rough one to process.
Which leads me into the second issue that I need to work through - How can I begin keeping my stuff as my stuff and not putting it on my wide open, un-conceptualized, innocent little girl? The funny thing is that that moment that that other girl peeled the sticker off, walked over to the trash can and threw it away occurred to me in slow motion, much like the worst car accident I have ever been in, when the spinning of my car and flipping over happened so slow and so fast at the same time, that internally I had time to process what was going on, that I may actually lose my life, and also that I could do nothing to prevent it because it was happening so fast in actuality. That slow/fast thing about time and participating in the present moment is maybe, actually, could it be?...a testament to all of the mindfulness work that I HAVE done, and that I could see what was happening, understand that I cannot know another person's mind (the other little girl - or my little girl's either for that matter) and leave the thing alone to be processed by the parties involved and NOT, in fact "put my stuff on her".
The fact that I took it so personally, I think does show a bit of over-attachment to my kiddo, and something I hope to tether as I watch her growing independence. Her life is, in the end hers, and my connection to it, a lucky happenstance that I couldn't possibly be more grateful to the universe for - but I cannot create her personality; her reactions must reflect how she chooses to interact with the world. So, though I may still need to do a lifetime's (or a few lifetimes) worth of work on lessening my attachment to stuff, to my kid, to this blessed life that I get to live, a big part of that work now must reflect a desire to keep my stuff as the work of MY life, and not expect other people like my daughter, sharing my attachments to lessen the burden of that work for me. In fact it would just muck up their life worse, and we all have our own muck to wade through before we bloom into our lotus. So here and now, I embark on this journey to consciously keep my child's eyes as clear as I can - as unclouded by mom's stuff as I can, and let her find her own work.
I love you, little munchkin! Happy 10 months.
As a student of yoga, massage, meditation , poetry and other such introversions, I figured some of my inspirations might also touch the hearts of others. Read, ruminate, digest, create...always returning to this well of deep love inside to renew ourselves and rediscover what we are. Enjoy!