Thursday, November 15, 2012

Divided Mind

Worry divides the mind.  Max Lucado 

I’ve just returned from a wonderful, decadent four day getaway with my lover of 17 years. We visited wineries, hiked on the shore of the Rappahanock River, rode our bikes through dapple-lit leaf tunnels, and laughed with friends over amazingly fresh and fabulously cooked food. But I missed my kids. 

How is it we can’t wait to get away from them, but once we’re down the driveway we worry what they’re up to and crave their intrusions? When I’m caught up in the planning of our escapes, four days doesn’t seem like long enough, but after I’ve been gone only a few hours I worry whether my youngest will be in tears at bedtime or my oldest will remember to feed the cat. I worry about my four footed children also. What if their caretakers forget to check the water trough? It’s hard to be gone from them. 

As my kids get older it is getting easier to relax another state away. But only a little. I know that my parents raised three kids of their own – quite successfully, mind you, but that still doesn’t keep me from worrying whether they’ll be overwhelmed by my children’s demands (the two and four-footed dears). 

I imagine that this condition of the worrying divided mind became acute upon pregnancy. The quote about motherhood meaning that your heart is now outside your body and walking around on its own is painfully true. And it is not a fact that any pregnancy or parenting book can warn you about. It strikes the moment you learn that you are becoming a parent. Sometimes it is a suffocating notion and at other times you are just incredibly grateful that these people have helped you discover places in your heart you never knew existed. 

That’s it. Parenting is a life-long condition. No escape. Vacationing serves only to remind me of the invisible thread that tethers me to my children.  

One of my babies turned sixteen this week, adding an entire new level of worry to my already overly divided mind.  

I suppose the real skill in parenting is letting go of these worries. It’s trusting the universe with my most precious creations. It’s knowing that I’m doing the best with what I know and so are they. Laying down my worries is an act of faith. Parenting then is an affirmation that this world is a good place. It’s underlining our trust in the world as a sacred and safe place.  

I let my babies go beyond my grasp and try to beat back the worries to a manageable state. But worry will forever divide my mind, maybe that’s why parents are so good at multi-tasking.

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