This is my daughter sitting beside a lake in Canada when she was a teenager. The photograph is beautiful. She, is beautiful. She is poised, still and present to the beauty around her and her being emanates peace and serenity. Hannah is like that, and, she is full of the vast complexity and richness of living a life on the edge of her being. She comes from the ground of the core of her being, the very center, and reaches out into all spheres and realms ready to explore what is beyond the next turn. I do not know everything about her. She is full of mystery. I do know she is firmly grounded and much larger than others may perceive her to be if they only look quickly.
There are some people who seem so big and vibrant and when I get to know them I see they are simple and not as ‘big’ as they first appear. Everyone I meet, when I am allowed to go deeper than the surface is full of interesting complexity and depth and I am always surprised and delighted by who they reveal themselves to be. Some people share most of who they are in the beginning of an encounter, others wait. My daughter waits, sometimes for a very long time to reveal what is within her. I have learned patience, deep patience with her because I find her depth so worth exploring.
She continually teaches me that by simply ‘being with’ her and waiting until she is ready, something extraordinary is revealed. I am often overwhelmed by who she is and the integrity and strength she has in her quietness. It is and has always been worth the wait and struggle for me to learn how to truly see her. It was never up to her, the child, to prove herself to me. It has always been up to me to foster what wants to emerge in her. That simple fact is the most important part of being a parent. My children are going beyond me. They lead me forward, and I am given time to learn and perfect how to do that for and with them. It’s an exquisite dance called relationship. It is co-creative and co-operative and co-llaborative. If I think I am in charge I am very wrong. We dance this dance together continually shifting who is leading and who is following throughout the years we are together.
How does this all relate to Cindy and what have I learned about love from these two extraordinary women? Cindy was almost always peaceful. She was still and centered and could sit quietly for a very long time in peace. There was no angst, fear or resentment. She simply was who she was at rest and in activity, in stillness and in motion. She never changed and never wavered. Cindy was pure and simple and the truest expression of her being. Like Hannah in the picture above emanating serenity, Cindy was at peace in every moment.
Though I ‘knew’ more than Cindy, we danced the dance of learning about life together. Like my daughter, I made many mistakes expecting her to be the way I thought she should be, I pushed and pulled in ways that were not right for her because I was in a hurry or wanted a different outcome. If I had only opened my eyes to what was right in front of me I would have seen the truth of what was important. For many years I missed seeing who she really was and have worked very hard to change that with Hannah. Every day I am grateful that I am learning to see in a truer way.
Being a parent has been the greatest gift I have ever known. Hannah and Jake have given me countless opportunities to learn how to love more honestly and authentically. They have forgiven my endless mistakes and allowed me to grow. We have been, for over two decades dancing this dance of co-creating, learning together what it means to grow in love and respect for one another. It has never been up to them to follow me. It has been my privilege to learn from them how to become my self through allowing them to become who they most want to be.
If you had asked me years ago what is most important about parenting I would have said something along the lines of raising good kids. Today I know different. My children have raised me to higher levels of understanding through supporting them as they reveal themselves to the world.