Early this morning, before the sun had even risen, my boys clunked around the lower level of our house, proudly breaking in their new school shoes not yet smudged and stained from the adventures that awaited them on their first day of school.
Noah entered first grade and Luke began half-day kindergarten. Noah was dressed in the official school uniform, complete with shirt tucked in and a belt around his waist, notched at the loosest possible hole (might be time to buy him a new one, but that one will work for now). And I just watched them both with a big grin glued to my face.
Last year, on the first day of school, just as each year before, I was a ball of nerves. I jumped at every chime of my phone; would it be the school telling me to come right away? Something had gone horribly wrong…but no. That call never came. I just worried every day that it would.
Instead, for the first time on the first day of school, I felt quietly reflective. After I kissed their fuzzy little heads good-bye, I sat on the couch and watched the sun rise over the trees in our backyard and felt joy in just being. I also feel a sacred part of my own journey has begun, not only as a mother, but as a human being. I finally feel I understand what it means to choose to live a life of love. I know it may seem to many of us that we are living a life of love. I thought I was before, too. But now I know I wasn’t because I see how much fear and anxiety ruled my emotions. Even my most joyful moments, I nearly ruined because my next thoughts were often, “Okay, but what is going to go wrong?” It was almost as if I didn’t think I deserved to be completely happy.
But I do! We all deserve to be blissfully, stupidly happy, even those of us who struggle with challenges of health or circumstance. We are NOT OBLIGATED to “get through” the days of our lives. We are given the OPPORTUNITY to choose love instead of fear to meet each day, regardless of what situations the day greets us with.
And in truth, I love, love, LOVE being a mother. All of it. I recognize that my Truth is to love who I am right now, in this minute. I love that my kid dropped the F bomb the other day. I love my daughter who even after six weeks of being potty trained, crapped her pants yesterday while watching t.v. I love that my boys will not eat any vegetables and I can’t bribe them with all the ice cream at every Dairy Queen in the U.S. to try a piece of broccoli. Of course I could think of less frustrating things to do. But I love that these are all opportunities for me to choose love to guide my reaction; not to worry about the end result.
So what is that end result? Will my son have the mouth of a sailor? Will Gracie need to wear diapers in high school? Will my boys never eat a salad? I think the answer to each of these is, “Not likely.” The result I can count on and what brings me back to my center is that no matter what I do or don’t do, my kids are going to be exactly who they are meant to be. Now the choice for me to make is, do I help them get there with love or fear?
I am choosing love.