What We Need Is Here: Thoughts.
(Rosie, 14 months old.)
When I look back at myself before I became a parent I can see now how immature I was.
I had no idea about a lot of things, but I didn’t realize.
The biggest thing I was clueless about–my own strength.
I think about this often, how parenting has revealed an inner strength I never realized I possessed. Not just the physical strength of growing babies and birthing them and nourishing them, but a different kind of strength.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
Wendell Berry is one of my favorite poets of all time. He’s even from Kentucky, my state! I find so much meaning in his poetry.
What we need is here, this is one of my very very most beloved poems.
I have to repeat this poem to myself sometimes, when I’m so tired my eyes are crossing, when I am so frustrated and wishing for someone to save me from this world of chores and demanding little people. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard. Every parent knows it’s hard. It was very hard for me with Rosie. Being a parent to her was kind of like being tossed into a lake of ice water.
But over the past few years I’ve come to realize–I don’t need someone to save me. I have what I need inside of me, this new inner strength that has come with parenting. What we need is here.
Why should I pray for this to be easier? For my baby to sleep more. For my preschooler to be less spirited. I’m focusing on the wrong things, the negative things.
There are too many distractions, too many comparisons to others, too much resistance. Too much time wasted trying to control things myself, and if they aren’t like I want them to be then does that mean something is wrong? Yes?
But no, nothing is wrong with the way things are. Something is wrong with me.
Abandon, as in love or sleep, holds them to their way, clear in the ancient faith…
To let go of so many expectations, to let go makes you free to enjoy what’s right in front of your face.
If I am quiet in heart, and clear in eye, then sometimes I suddenly catch a glimpse of things as they really are with startling clarity.
I’m here, right this second, and I’m doing it. I’m having these wonderful moments of nursing a squishy baby, and seeing my Rosie learn all kinds of new things. Maybe I’m really tired and maybe my ears are ringing from non-stop preschooler babble, but I’m surviving just fine because I have all I need within me. If only I can step back and appreciate each moment enough to realize my inner strength and to let go and trust myself.
How many moments have I wasted thinking about something else? Fretting over the way I think things should be, agonizing over lost sleep or a messy house?
My goal for the month of February is to be here.
Not on on the internet. Not in The Land of Expectations somewhere in my head. Not in a world of negativity.
Right here, in each moment, in each second breathing deeply and staring into the eyes of my two children. Appreciating each moment I am blessed to have with them to the very fullest.
What I need to get out of this winter funk is here, right under my nose. Now I for the hard part, to let go with wild abandon…because what we need is right here, and I plan to seize it.