As is so often the case in my life, a sudden shift in my perspective makes all the difference.
I was recently at my son's martial arts class when he had to use the bathroom. He came out right as class was ending. His belt was tucked into his white uniform. I helped him right himself, and realized a little too late, that he had gotten himself a bit dirty while in the restroom. Sort of par for the course at barely 5, he hadn't really gotten himself cleaned up, and now his uniform pants and belt were a mess.
It had been a long day. I was worn out, and just wanted a warm bath and my bed. I tried not to react to him, as he was obviously embarrassed and wanted me to take care of the mess. I was able to get his belt and shirt off him (he had a tshirt on under his uniform) and into a bag I had with me so his classmates didn't realize what had happened. After we got home, and I got both kids cleaned up, read bedtime stories and tucked them in, I went downstairs to deal with the uniform mess. As I washed my son's uniform in the kitchen sink to get the stains out, I found myself overwhelmed and tearful. I never "planned" this.
I didn't want to be a single mother. I hadn't signed on for this. I began to dive into a deep pool of self-pity. After wallowing for a bit, I realized this: Most days, in most ways, I love life. I wouldn't trade watching the kung fu boy punch and kick to have tea with the President. There's no greater gift in my life than getting to watch my kids grow and learn and become who they are to become. All in all, they are worth the poop and puke and tears and moments of being overwhelmed and times of feeling inadequate as a mother.
A few days later I sat next to my ex-husband and watched our son graduate from preschool. As he waved at me from the stage and blew me a kiss, I knew that I wouldn't trade a moment of my life. And I realize what a gift to be in this place nearly 2 years after getting divorced. 2 years ago it didn't seem possible that I could sit in the same space with my ex-husband and not want to alternately cry or scream. And yet, it seemed natural to watch my son next to his father. It felt right. Finally.
It seems to me that life is a bit like swinging on a swing on a spring day. There are moments where we are pushing up and out - times of anticipation and growth and new heights attained. There are other moments, those times of swinging low - the times of difficulty, challenge and sometimes sadness. And there is the life in between...the suspended space. In those moments, there is such a potential for growth. Life is about those moments between the now and the not yet.
I am exceedingly grateful to be back in the suspended space. Not living for the next high...and not feeling as if my whole life is over...being back into the space of full and rich life.