Close To You: A Video of Us in Paia, Hawaii
When I envisioned this post I thought the words that would accompany the video of us from Hawaii were going to be light-hearted, blithesome and effortlessly joyful. I, however, experienced something much deeper after watching this video.
How can three seconds completely transform your entire way of being? I must have watched this video a thousand times and I can’t stop crying when it hits the 50-53 seconds mark. The way her hands touch both of our faces at the same time, it’s like she knows.
It's as if she understood that a part of her parents needed mending and that both of us have been fighting so hard for my health, our marriage and to provide her with a safe and loving home.
If she could talk I know she would have whispered something along the lines of thank you, I love you, I am here, we are just fine because we are together.
It's as if she took a bit of the soft glow from the sun and rubbed it onto our cheeks to illuminate our hearts so that we were a bit brighter that day.
Our daughter, Winter, is the most empathetic soul I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She is indeed a gift to the world, and I don’t see how we got so lucky to be able to raise her.
I am on my knees praying that the emotions I feel when watching this video will etch ever so deeply into my soul and consequently, linger for a lifetime.
I feel like I have been spending entirely too much time thinking and worrying about what I don’t have and what I haven’t done yet. I hate the wasted moments I've spent crying because we aren't pregnant again with another child even though a beautiful child is right in front of me. I wish I could take back all of the moments that I have stressed about Instagram, blogging or meeting deadlines after a long day of working in an already extremely emotionally taxing job as a school psychologist. All of these worries have robbed me of little but oh so significant moments of joy with my family.
It has to stop here. The way our world inundates us with the concept that productivity (meaning doing more, having more and being more) is paramount. That to-do lists are beneficial and working through lunch breaks equates to the determination, dedication, and loyalty to our employers.
I have to figure out a way to put the phone down, let the emails pile up, let dishes sit a bit longer in the sink and just be with my family. And I don't mean spending time with my family while also thinking about something else. I intend to strive for that wholeheartedly, whole mind, whole soul kind of being.
I know I talk all the time about mindfulness and I do my best to live a mindful life, but I am so guilty of being a slave to my own to do lists, my insecurities and thinking about the things that I want for my daughter that I never had. When I watch this video (specifically, seconds 50-53), I can't help but think how those thoughts that create inner turmoil for me directly affect both her and Perry.
Winter is just like me, an empath, an emotional sponge. She cries when she hears someone else crying, becomes overly emotional (whines, repeats the phrase "oh no," or gets clingy) when she perceives that someone is sad, upset or angry. And while I love this about her, I know from first-hand experience that when you care so deeply about others it can often lead to feeling emotionally drained yourself causing you to withdrawal and seclude yourself.
I am her her mother, Perry is her father, and together we have the most significant responsibility to do better for her. I never want her to think that sitting, resting, spending quality time exploring the great outdoors or having a deep, uninterrupted conversation isn't the way to get ahead in life, because dammit, it really should be.
So here is my pledge to you, sweet girl:
Because I am your mother, I vow to no longer gauge the worth of my day by how much I got done. I challenge myself to value my days by how many smiles I gave and received, how many pauses I took to notice the air blowing my hair, the way your sweet hand feels when it grabs for mine, and the positive thoughts I had about myself and others.
I pledge to you that the phone won't be out when we play, that we will spend more time outside and that when I am with you, I am with you.
I promise to show you how to wander more, pay attention to your inner coach and how to ignore that inner critic that says that you are less than anything but spectacular.
I vow to show you how to give more to your partner by actively listening and giving graciously without underlying intentions or expectations.
You, Winter, have made me a much better person already. And somehow that one moment that we shared on top of a cliff on the beach taught me more lessons in three seconds than most of the ones I have learned in my three decades of life here on earth.
I can't thank you enough, sweet girl, for the reminder that we are here, right now.
We are a family of three, and it is and always will be enough.