As we walked into her Yoga class there were two boys sat on the right side of the room. Koa went straight to a mat on the left. Being there once before with her Dad, the room was already familiar and she felt comfortable sitting on the mat she sat on previously. I walked in and sat behind her on the mat she chose. As it got closer to 9.30am there was a total of five children in that Sunday class.There were two brothers around the ages of 6 and 7, two little girls, who seemed like best friends, ages 3 and 4, then there was Koa- Rae and I. The Kids Yoga sessions were meant for the children to be dropped off, while the parents enjoyed a cup of coffee and relaxed in the lobby or perhaps coffee shop nearby. As the five children got settled on their mats around the yoga instructor, the class had began.
Rosie, the instructor, made the yoga moves very pleasing to the children. Describing the yoga movements as summer activities, all children were engaging and having fun. Koa would observe at times and then try her luck with the movements. However, there was this one exercise that had me choked up.
The instructor had poured pom poms in the middle of the room. “Right, now its time to stretch out and utilise the muscles we wouldn’t normally use. Try and grab a pom pom with your toes and take it back to your mat.” As the other kids were hopping back and forth taking pom poms one by one to their mat using their toes to transfer them, Koa was there sat in the middle of the room with pom poms everywhere around her except for on her mat. She couldn’t figure how the other children were grabbing them. She sat there watching the kids hop wildly back and forth. She then tilted her head, grabbed a pom pom with her little fingers and squeezed it in between her toes. She looked up with the look of accomplishment. She had DID it.
It was that moment I felt my eyes tear up.
Being a mother, we always want the best for our children. But what exactly is the best? Is it the best in our own opinion? In our own experiences? Or is it the best for them as an individual? Is it a mixture of both? Or is it what we’ve been taught to believe is the best?
Nowadays we live in a culture that tells us how a child should develop, eat and behave. Not only do we already struggle to be the real true version of ourself, but now we feel like we need to base our parent decisions on principals decided by this culture. Give birth in a hospital, jab your baby with immunisations, enroll them in mainstream school, receive that graduate diploma, attend university, then finally live on their own while working in the career of their dreams. Sounds like the life right?
I recently had the pleasure of having a quiet lunch with a really good friend of mine. Leaving our four kids with our other halves. We were able to step away from being mothers and had a few hours to be ourselves. We found ourselves nonstop jabbering away about topics we wouldn’t normally discuss. We could actually have a conversation and we were actually able to listen to each other without having to share our attention with the littlins. Well I couldn’t tell you how we even came about the topic but for me it felt like a slowed down part of movie where food is being spat out, as the words ‘I mean I might be taking care of Koa for the rest of my life’ came out of my mouth. It was then when I started to feel tears fill up my eyes.
Now my little Rae of Sunshine is a special ray of light. For those who haven’t been following my blog: I call her my superhuman, however according to science she has an extra chromosome. (read more about her superhuman traits here). As any mother would, I wanted the best for her and hope for that day to watch her spreads her wings and fly. Where she becomes independent, makes her own life choices without having me by her side making sure those choices are the wiser ones. I want her to be able to live and be successful.
So there I was hysterically crying in the middle of the restaurant, and somehow feeling guilty for crying. I love my Little Rae of Sunshine, of course I would not mind taking care of her, but then why am I crying over the idea of taking care of her for the rest of my life? And who then would be the one to take care of her after I am gone?
If our child isn’t following this culture’s timeline of life occurring events of however small or big, we are tricked into believing we are doing something wrong?
When you hold your baby in your arms for the first time, there is no thought of the future, no worrying about bills, hanging up the laundry, sorting out dinner, or if you need to run to the shop. The only thought is the joy of now, that exact moment. That moment of unexplainable emotions where nothing in the world matters more than holding your baby in your arms. Why do not we hold on to that feeling? As time passes, we are bombarded with information that slowly takes over our natural instincts of being a parent. Is your baby gaining weight? Is your child hitting these milestones? Are you feeding your baby the right amount of food? Is he sleeping throughout the night? Every future mother and father subconsciously prays for the perfect baby, but when we are pounded with questions like these we slowly forget that our baby is already perfect. We just need to learn how to listen to them. Life is so simple. Why do we always feel like whatever we do, isn’t good enough?
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. -Lao Tzu
It was a few weeks later I have yet again felt that unexplainable emotion where nothing in the world matters than sitting there watching my baby with a pom pom stuck in between her toes. I am learning everyday that life is so simple. I am far beyond the perfect mother and my baby might not be following that infamous timeline our culture has developed, but one of Koa’s superhuman power is knowing how to be happy. I am slightly jealous of the fact that she is able to do whatever she wants whenever she wants and not give the slightest care in the world.
Who are we to force children to develop in a way they not necessarily want to? And when they don’t do as they are told, who are we to tell them what they are doing is wrong? Who are we? Who are they?
I am learning to strip myself away from this life of conformity and build my own culture. My own way of thinking based on my own values. I am always learning. I am never perfect, I am just open minded. Koa-Rae with a pom pom in between her toes or with a pom pom held in her fingers, she will always find a way and I will damn well do my best to always be there beside or behind her, but never in front of her.
And it isn’t when they take their first steps, or learn how to do their homework on their own, or move out of our house, or start paying their own bills, that they learn how to spread their wings. It is when they figure out how to make themselves happy without needing the assistance of anything or anybody. That is when we learn how to live and be free.
Squeal, Sign, Mumble,
The Bennett Babes