This morning, savoring my waking moments alone in my bed, I listened to the gentle chatter of my children from the other room where they were quietly playing together. From that soft, open-minded space of post-night-sleep I could hear with heightened clarity and neutrality the breathtaking sweetness of their connection; listening to the careful rapport between them, negotiating a direction for their combined imaginations and finding their way, skillfully, toward joyful compromise and creativity. Ezra, (5), sincere: "I'm wondering why does your guy need to be the driver in our game? I feel like that's sort of controlling?," Araela(8.5): "I'm not controlling it, I'm leading it because that makes it fun for me.. I was happy to let you decide what we would play, right? 'Emergency Rescue' isn't my favorite game, but I'm playing it for you." Ezra, quiet, considering. Then: "Ok, that's true. Thanks. And then next time maybe my guy will drive the firetruck, and yours will be the passenger, right?." Araela: "Sounds good, or maybe we will play 'Veterinary Clinic' and your guy can be the Lead Vet."
It is an amazing thing as a mother to contemplate this simple phenomenon of siblings; the inherent relationship between the people who each called to me from Spirit, yearning for incarnation, who then grew inside my womb, 3 years apart, who were born and then grew wonderfully fat from the milk I made, the nutrient-dense love I fed them from my breasts; who each lived a precious chapter of their lives strapped to my back. And how their relationship has blossomed through these years.
Remembering Araela at 2, before her little brother was conceived, demanding with inquisitive longing: “Where is my baby?! My real baby, Mama? For me to love?” Remembering the way she talked to him in my belly as he grew, and informed me about what starry adventures his spirit was still having, and that glorious way she could make him burst into laughter as an infant (and still now!) like no other. And how restless she was, for a long time by his side, waiting for him to grow big enough to actually meet her in play and mind and speech. And how he looked at her constantly, drooling with admiration, like she was the perfect shining rockstar of his baby world. Or that unfortunately long stage, once he learned how to move his exquisitely chunky body about, of her referring to him, aptly, as “The Wrecker”, since his sole pleasure seemed to be found in physically destroying whatever she had worked especially hard to create. The unspoken language of love and peaceful understanding between them while riding in the double-stroller I pushed them in. Or all those deliciously private jokes in their backseat-carseat world: between their little eyes and hands and hearts and laughter.
And now, aged 8 and 5, her reading to him on the couch, so delighted with herself to entertain them both in such a grown-up way, him listening cozy by her side with rapt attention. And how he asks her for help and inspiration with his drawings, writing his letters, expanding his imaginative play. And just recently, a new dynamic is beginning, as Ezra begins to flourish inside his distinct strengths and callings; a newly exquisite role-reversal, wherein she is looking to him, clearly inspired by his masculine physicality, courage, diligence and stamina, celebrating his rambunctious and coordinated achievements, and using them to challenge herself to thrive in new ways. The relationship they have with each other now is rich in heart, complex and elaborate , as distinct and brilliant, blossoming young people, and it exists utterly separate from their relationship with me.
Listening from my bed to my children playing in love in the other room, I recognized: this relationship between these two souls, this bond between these two people who live together and play together and bathe and eat and grow side by side together is so incredibly primary right now in their worlds. More than anyone else, they are each other’s most consistent constant, as they move back and forth together between their father’s house and my own. They share such an intimate depth of understanding for one another’s hearts, personalities and vulnerabilities, in ways that clearly transcend my own knowing of each of them. Their connection is profound, their soul-chemistry deep, the contracts they seem to carry of protecting one another, teaching one another constantly about sharing, support, communication, integrity, disappointment, self-responsibility, alignment and difference; the shining fruits of mutual adoration so often startlingly apparent to both of them.
Mornings like this morning, where I can hear the tender co-creativity in their play, the evolving joy, skill, and real love breathing and pulsing through their interactions~ oh these moments reward my earnest Mama heart like nothing else.
Of course not all mornings carry this flavor. ;-) Sometimes I wake to a sour slew of demands and complaints from narcissistic little people seemingly requiring noisy conflict in order to start their day! There are those utterly unromantic moments as a parent of young siblings where I find myself feeling somewhat existentially disoriented: as though I’ve suddenly arrived in a wild, unfamiliar land over-run by two, small, constant-mess-making, demanding ego’s; that horrifying, nauseating feeling of: “Who are these annoying little people, where did they come from, and why, dear Lord, is it my job to care for them?!” (Laughing at myself now, so human~ all of it.)
On those less gracious mornings it is quite painful to remove my precious nighttime earplugs; those are the days it stretches my heart uncomfortably to find a solid ground of patience, compassion and maturity. What a steep path of humbled surrender to service is required to play the role of wise steward for these young ones in relationship with each other! How many mistakes I make along the way. Disciplining them with love and sober clarity while guiding them in ways that can support them in making more conscious choices with their bodies, hearts, words and energy, requires such an immense self-discipline on my part; a kind of giving in to the true service project parenting essentially is.
The ever-strengthening bottom line is a deeply humbled bow of gratitude: that I chose them, this intensely rewarding, difficult and humbling path, and they chose me, and we all choose each other, continuously~ as potent teachers in this life-walk. That we get to love and learn like this, grounded by the heartful complexity of human relationship, so vulnerable in our attachments to one another, exhausted and triggered by the tasks of caring for one another; always opening wider to the immense gifts of living and cherishing one another within an innately challenging and fleeting life of love. What a chance, what a chance we have! Yes, the bottom line: a deeply humbled bow of gratitude. <3