My twin daughters start college this September. As I reflect back on the years that have passed much has changed and much has been learned.
Infants – Accepting Help
They were born 6-weeks early and spent almost two weeks in the NICU. Little did I know what laid ahead for me – the joys, the fears, the pride, the worries, the laughter, the tears, and much more. No one told me that I would have my highest highs and my lowest lows or if they did, I probably didn’t understand the depth of those words. In that first year, I experienced incredible joy watching them each laugh for the first time to crying uncontrollably and feeling helpless and a terrible mother when they went on a nursing strike together. Gratefully, I had the support of my lactation consultant telling me that she went through a similar nursing strike with her twins. She listened, empathized, and supported me like I have never been before. She held space and gently supported me through that dark despair. My daughters were already teaching me, even in those early months - learning to ask for help was one of the many lessons, finding community. We are not meant to parent our children alone. We need to lean on others and accept their support.
Toddlerhood – Being in the Present
We took daily walks in the neighborhood. Sometimes it would take us more than five minutes to move forward one foot. One of them would be enamored with a bug, another a rock. Both of them were fully and completely in the present moment. At times I could join and visit the present with them. More often I tried to rush them along - dinner had to be made, laundry had to be done, and we had a walk to finish. I had things to do! If I only knew then what I know now. I would have chosen the present with them every time. I would have set aside my “to do” list, myself self-imposed need to have dinner ready at a certain time and embraced the moment as they did. They were showing me how to beautiful it is to be in the now.
Elementary School Years – Accepting Life As-Is
During these years, I still didn’t fully understand that each of my daughters were my teachers. They had so much to teach me about life and myself, yet I had to be willing to listen. They were beginning to show me their independence, which highlighted my own need for control and perfectionism. Life was not that - having twins was anything but predictable. I was an only child, so not only did I not fully understand sibling relationships but add in the twist of being “identical” twins and life was anything but predictable and calm. As they grew, they showed me that life can be full of chaos at times and resisting that only created suffering. They taught me to accept life as it comes, the ups and the downs, and how to flow like the waves of the ocean. I started to understand that each moment was there to bring me back to a deeper knowing, if and only if, I was able to accept what was happening as it was, not what I wished it would be.
Middle School Years – Embracing Consciousness
As they continued to grow and request more autonomy, the lessons they gave me became louder and stronger until I could no longer live life the way that felt safe to me, in essence me continuing to believe that I was able to control of life around me. I know now that control was an illusion anyway. It took me until the middle school years to truly understand that when I was upset or frustrated with either of them, I was really upset or frustrated with myself. I was accessing an inner pain that was mine alone and one that I needed to accept and heal. Each daughter provided a mirror into my inner self in their own way. They taught me where I needed to grow, how to set boundaries, how to witness and support their own growth alongside my own. My daughters brought me to Dr. Shefali Tsabary and conscious parenting. They opened the door to the teachings, to the passion in my life of supporting parents. But first I needed to look at myself, my parenting, my own embedded patterns and inner pain. I had to start there. Through their teachings and their gifts, my life shifted towards fully embracing a different way of parenting and a new way of living, with consciousness and acceptance.
High School Years – Living Authentically
The teenage years have been the incredibly transformative. I have witnessed each of them step into themselves. I adore the teen years and teenagers! While they each still feel uncertainty and unknowing, just as adults do, when they connect to themselves, their power and grace is unstoppable. They have taught me to step back and guide, trust them, and their own journeys. Do I slip, falter and fall back into fear and control, of course? No one is “perfect” (nor do I want to strive for that unattainable vision anymore). They remind me when I’m overstepping and when to lean and hold a needed boundary. They have allowed me into their lives in a way I never thought was possible. They have opened my eyes to what I could not see and taught me to live life authentically.
My own inner strength and knowing, my heart and my passion, finding my authenticity and returning to my inner home have been among some of the biggest gifts both of my daughters have given me. I look forward to witnessing their own individual lifelong journeys. Regardless of what arises, they each will be exactly where they are supposed to be, as will I. Even when life feels unmanageable, I hope that each of them know that I am their safe place to land. Always. I thank them both for gracing me with being their mother, their guide, their student of life. Without each of them, I would not be where I am on my own journey today.
Community. Presence. Acceptance. Consciousness. Authenticity. Wholeness.