Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On Being Loved

I love my husband.

This morning, amidst the normal morning chaos, I was bustling about trying to get Maya ready for school and the babies changed and fed. And suddenly I said, "Oh, I better take a shower before you leave!" I sometimes forget and then am sorry when I am unclean and in my pajamas all day. And Marco said, "You already did last night. Why don't you just sit down with Maya and enjoy your coffee." I'm getting a knot in my throat just thinking about it. It sounds so simple. It sounds so small. But it meant more to me than you can possibly imagine.

This simple statement said so many things to me. You do enough. You are enough. You need to relax. You need to enjoy. You need to care for you. It was a simple, pure gift of love. Here, Heather, take this moment. It's yours.

I've been getting a lot of these gifts lately. I sleep on the couch due to some pain issues I have. This means that Marco sleeps in the bedroom with the babies. For the most part, he is able to sleep through their huffing, puffing noises and only wake up when they are crying and ready to eat. Then he calls me, and we go into action together. But, after one of them is done, he almost always offers to finish feeding the other one so I can go back to sleep. And then, if they don't go back to sleep right away and fidget and snort and cry, he cares for them and holds them and settles them down. He lets me sleep. He gifts me with sleep.

It seems like, in life, we are often fighting for our own rights. I mean, I hear it from Maya every day. "That not you doggy. That my doggy." "They not you friends. They my friends. You friends gone." She wants to claim something, anything and everything, as her own. I'm the same way. I'm selfish. I want things to be equal and fair. I want my way. I'm the first to say, "I did the dishes last night. It's your turn." "Hey, you got more of [blank], that's not fair." I get angry and demanding. I don't deserve to be gifted with sleep when I'm complaining if he got to sleep in more than I did. I don't deserve to be gifted with a moment to sit and drink my coffee when I can be such a grumbling grump, always begging and never offering. But I am.

Now, because I am crazy, there are two thoughts that come to mind when I am in these moments of pure love and grace. First, I feel guilty for accepting them. I worry that I haven't done enough or been nice enough to deserve it. I haven't earned it. And, when I am able to accept it and sit in it and enjoy being loved, I am filled with paranoia that it is going to end. I sit there, drinking my coffee, listening to Maya tell me about her monkey eating bananas and watching Zoe and Elliot play in their gyms, filled with unbearable love, and I am terrified. There is just no way, in my mind, that such a life can continue in this fashion. I cannot continue to be loved so much and love them so much and live in this little house with all these people steeped in this love. Something is going to ruin it. Something bad is going to happen. I play through these absurd scenarios of what could happen, as if doing so can prepare me in any way for the actual situation.

Here's what I realized recently. I am already ruining it. If I'm spending these blissful, perfect moments filled with fear that they might end, then the moment is completely ruined. It is true, bad things are going to happen. "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." But, I am out of my right mind if I think that I can prepare for what will happen. I can't predict it. I can't prepare myself for it. Even if there is order in this seemingly chaotic universe, there's no way I'm going to know about it with my little pea brain. And, if I could know ahead, would I want to know. Wouldn't the knowing of the bad thing on the horizon completely shadow the purity of happiness that exists NOW?

Therefore, I have decided some things. First of all, I'm just going to accept the love and the help and the gifts. I'm going to say thank you. And, to honor the gift that is given, the unbelievable love and grace, I am going to honor it by actually enjoying it. I'm not going to waste it. My babies are giving me this gift of time to do some writing. Thank you, Elliot and Zoe for sleeping at the same time. And on top of accepting and enjoying, I'm going to attempt to give back by being kinder and more gracious. I'm going to gift them with the love I've been given so freely.

When Marco and I got married, there was a quote read at our wedding by Rainer Maria Rilke:

"Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distances between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky."

I believed it could happen, and now we are finally getting there. Marco, thank you so much for all the little gifts you give me each day. I love you more and more as time goes by and am filled with appreciation for this amazing love we have. You were right, the universe does favor chaos. We're living proof.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Well said.

I touch on those feelings often and resolved during the first months of my first child that these moments are fleeting and to live in the now, the beautiful "present", is most important. Etch these wonderful memories that will bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. I still hear from total strangers in the grocery store or in line at the post office that these are the best years, these young, fresh, green moments in a child's life are to be cherished. Sometimes I wonder if they alluding to the control that they lose as children become opinionated individuals and disguise it as happy times. I must admit that I feel the total opposite in this sea of screaming frustration, foul diapers and tantrum time outs; and I delude myself with thoughts of more peace of mind in the near future where children tie their own shoes, wipe their own bottoms and entertain themselves happily. There are other times that I tell myself that my children are somehow more mischievous, more daring or more active than the average bear (my mother calls it "very healthy"). I remind myself that is a sign of intelligence. But how can this be? They constantly test boundaries and I have become this growling, roaring monster of a mom just to keep them from harms way, "Don't play with electricity; Don't play with the oven; Don't go outside without Mama; etc." I feel that I am somehow marring them with the constant barrage of my exclamations. It does not help that I have never been attracted to children and the whining is the top of my most annoying pet peeves.

So, yes, cling desperately to those small gifts of love and peace in the ocean of mothering and child rearing...that is where the sanity lies. I have friends raising teens and they feel as if they are nailing jello to the the future is not better or worse it is just out there in front of us waiting to be experienced.

Nice reading and chatting, Kim

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