I'm a hot dog and you're my bun
It's a mini-miracle we ever get to where we need to go with all the obstacles, speed bumps, distractions and detours. For example, getting to work on time. My littlest little, a night owl who likes to sleep in late, is often still in dreamland when I leave the house on weekdays. She likes when I wake her up to say goodbye, even if many mornings she falls right back to sleep and forgets I came and later accuses me of forgetting. One day last week I gently ring the bell to signal wake-up (a practice I picked up on retreat) and lean in close.
"Bye sweetie, I'm going to work now. Love you."
Little Go Go Gadget Arms snare me around the neck with remarkable speed.
"No, mama. You can't go." With one eye peeking open, she pulls me tighter. "I'm a hot dog and you're my bun. And a bun can't leave its hot dog!" Reprimanding, scolding, "What is a hot dog without its bun?"
For a minute, I'm caught between the intellectual knowledge that each passing moment increases the chances of missing the train, and the emotional understanding that this dream-infused embrace is worth the gamble.
And suddenly, the arm wrestling match between head and heart is no more; the little hot dog has fallen back to sleep. The Go Go Gadget arms retract, and the bun flees for the commuter rail, train #706.
A wonderful teacher with a beautiful heart, Jo Ann Laliberte teaches yin yoga and meditation at Tranquil Souls on Sunday. On occasion, she brings little gifts for her students. A bookmark with a quote that she shared during practice; a little homemade treat just because. (Update: today, after writing this post, I attended Jo Ann's yin class followed by our monthly Book Club, and Jo Ann brought *both* -- hand crafted origami book marks *and* delicious wonderful homemade treats. She truly is a magical unicorn.)
On New Year's, Jo Ann placed mason jars with tealights - a sort of luminary - near our mats, ours to take home after practice. We might choose to make a "Goodness Jar." You identify one happy moment daily, jot it down, place it in the jar, and at the end of the year (or when the jar is full), you'll have an array of happiness to reflect upon, reminding you of the goodness that happens each and every day of our lives.
I brought my jar home and took up this ritual. My girls saw what I was doing and wanted to create their own. They decorated a label for their jars and began their own daily reflections. It's been a treat to learn what moment of happiness gets the spotlight each day. "I had a really good breakfast." "Grandma came to visit." "I helped Daddy to build my bookcase." "Mama helped me to make dinner." "My sister read books to me."
Of course, not all moments are happy. Not all days are easy. Yesterday Sylvie and I were having a rough morning. Not seeing eye to eye. She was being a quite difficult five year old. I was being a quite difficult parent of a five year old.
Finally, after an epic meltdown, on both our parts. "Mommy, you just don't remember how HARD it is to be a kid!"
Perspective. A moment to catch myself. After a morning of reacting, reacting, reacting... the space to respond.
"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." - Viktor Frankl
Finding that space doesn't always come easily. It's a practice. It's my practice.
"Tell me. Remind me. What makes it especially hard, to be a kid?"
It was a moment, a turning moment. She crawls up on my lap, snuggling in as a hot dog would inside its bun. And she tells me about it. I listen. Our growth, our freedom . . . Our happy moments. Often surprising us when and how they arise. The goodness remembered, each and every day of our lives.