She watches me put on makeup, and asks me, “Why?”
“Oh, I don’t wear much. I just want to cover up those spots from the sun. Be sure and always wear sunscreen, Pumpkin. The sun is bad for your skin.”
“But why? Why are you covering up the brown patches, Mommy? Why would you do that? That’s part of your face.”
My five-year old reflects who I want to be – not the lady in the mirror covering her imperfections.
He snuggles into his bed and grabs my hand, pressing it on his face.
“Mommy, I just want your hand. Ok? I love your hand.”
He closes his eyes and breathes in comfort.
His eyelashes. His skin a fragile peach. Soft. Warm. My hand on his cheek.
That’s all he needs. That’s all I need. Presence.
My oldest son’s last paragraph in an essay for school:
“I think I get my persistence from my parents. Right now they’re both training for half marathons. My mom has done many before, but this is my dad’s first. There’s no backing out now because they already signed up. They’re hard to wear out unless it has to do with my brother and sister crying over something. (HA! He’s right about that!) This will help impact my life because I will set goals and no one will stop me. I will accomplish those goals, and then I will set more. Thanks to my parents, I know I will have a happy life.”
Who knew? They really do watch everything you do. But not when you think they’re watching.
Those three monkeys. If I’m really being honest with myself, those three are my reasons for almost everything I do, think, say, believe. Those three monkeys. My kids.
Who knew motherhood would be this awe-and-ache inspiring?
I will not and do not strive for perfection or even greatness. My three monkeys have taught me to strive for authenticity, simplicity, honesty, presence, (and yes – persistence) and love.
****I want to end my post there, but I do forget sometimes. Is it just me, or are many of us accidentally falling into the search for perfection when our kids are teaching us everyday that’s not what they need? Ironic really. Our hunt for perfect parenting takes us further and further away from what it is our children really want us to be. Are we able to slow down enough and be present? How can we make this mindfulness a habit?