As I dive deeper into my own blind spots, as Owl wisdom counsels, I better understand my own parenting compulsions—all the inner rules I have in my head about what my children need each day (vegetables, bookreading, time outside, etc.). I realize I have this incredible urgency to parent attentively because I myself didn’t feel attended to as a child.
A few weeks ago I had my glorious bookstore experience (meaning time to actually browse as there were no kids in the picture) I happened upon a book by Roger Housden “Ten Poems to Say Goodbye.” I trust his taste in poetry, and thought I might find some inspirational nuggets to chew on: the kind of words so true they pierce your heart. He didn’t disappoint. He included Jane Hirshfield’s poem, “When your life looks back.”
“When your life looks back— as it will, at itself, at you—what will it say?”
These are the kinds of question Awareness asks of us. To hold something bigger than the daily struggles, but to ask ourselves continually how do we live a life worth living.
In terms of mothering, everything gets turned on its heel for me when I ask myself the question: “Would I like to be a child of a mother like me?” On a good day, I can say, with a grateful heart, yes…but on other days the answer is more ambiguous.
That’s why these lines from Owl are so spot-on:
Owl, with her acute night vision and keen hearing, teaches us telepathy, awareness, and wisdom. But her perceptiveness goes beyond things of a sensory nature: owls are experts at tapping into what’s brewing beneath the surface. This skill is a mother’s secret pride—our ability to read into our children’s souls. When Owl calls to us, we need to sharpen our powers of observation, starting with our own true nature.
I don’t want to worry about my kids all the time, or believe they need constant fixing and adjustments. I worry about my son the most right now, as he will start kindergarten in August, and he will be one of the youngest in his class. When I pull Owl it’s a reminder to tap into his soul, his unique spirit, and stop comparing him with all his friends and peers.
When my life looks back at me, I want it to say I held my kids, in exactly the way they needed, that I loved them beyond any measure, and that I delighted in their spirit.
What do you want your life, looking back on your mothering, to say?