Every day, when I expect the girls to arrive home from school, I wait for them outside and meditate.
By meditate I mean bring myself back to center, breathing, and focusing my eyes on the grass, the trees, the sky, the clouds — anything that is right here, right now. This transition is a much-needed moment after spending so much of my day thinking about the future and sitting at the computer, writing and creating. I live in my head too much as it is so this meditation is one that I use often to bring me back to my life.
Because being right here, right now is important to me when my children are around.
And, once they are home, more often than not, our afternoons and weekends are filled with creative learning and play. I zip in and out of their worlds and they do the same in mine. It’s an ebb and flow that isn’t always perfect but always works in some strange, mysterious way.
But, tonight, we were off.
I’ve mentioned soul fevers before and it was very clear we were in the midst of one. At least my children have been this week. All signs of bad attitudes and stubbornness and tears pour out when we’re in this phase.
Years ago, I would let this kind of night tear me apart. Such high expectations. Such hopes for a peaceful night — as if they should all always be so perfect.
No longer do I let these fleeting moments take over my life. And while they always do seem like the end of the world at the time, they are always fleeting. Thankfully.
Instead, I learn to listen. I ask myself a series of questions. I start to problem solve. I retreat to my special quiet space. And I breathe through the mystery and try to unravel the puzzle.
Some days feel longer than others and it’s often on those really long days when I reach into my Abundant Mama toolbox and stretch myself and challenge myself on how creative I can really be as a mother — to help them move through this kind of a phase. Often, creating family fun activities is the best remedy out of a place of struggle as a family. Often, my own creativity and playfulness is all it takes to change the mood and tone of a moment like this.
But, not tonight. Tonight called for serious mama intervention.
Tonight, intervention began with an early dinner and then a straight shot to the couch, under the coziest blanket we have and with just our family room twinkle lights shining on us in the dark. There wasn’t a noise in the house other than the giggling under the blanket. Not even music. Just a dog barking in the distance.
“We should play some music,” one of my girls said.
“I am enjoying the quiet,” I said, slouched down between their warm bodies.
“Me, too,” they both agreed.
When that moment passed, as they always, do because of not enough blanket on one person, I moved upstairs.
They followed as I knew they would, as I knew they needed to do. They are like little ducklings that way.
And we all piled onto my bed in our pajamas and fuzzy socks and read and wrote independently and hardly said a word to each other until it was time for bed. We sat close together. I could feel their breath on my arms. I read. One of them wrote a note for daddy, who was working late. And the other moved from a series of things that made her happy.
Sometimes quiet togetherness is really what we all need more than anything else.
And this quiet togetherness is almost always the most awake I ever feel as a mother. The ability to stay connected and do our own thing while being there for each other. It’s a precious moment that is surely to snap any of us out of our soul fever … at least after a long night’s sleep.
This week for Project 52 | Stay Awake, spend a little time thinking about a time when your own family enjoyed some quiet togetherness . How did you feel? Is it a space you retreat to often, or not?