I am celebrating the first birthday of The Yoga of Parenting by reflecting on what I learned this first year and what is coming next. It reminds me of my son’s first birthday. We decided to have a big birthday bash (bad idea). We invited about 10 families all with at least one child, some had two. You get the picture, 20 or more adults and about 15 infants and toddlers. While I was getting the house ready for the party, I accidentally pulled down a glass-front china cabinet. All I could think about was “what if it had happened during the party and a child had been near?” Note to self: change out all glass in house for plexiglass wherever possible and bolt all furniture to wall. I spent an hour cleaning and vacuuming and vacuuming again and again, afraid there might be a piece of glass on the floor.
People started to arrive and so did the clown who was supposed to entertain the children with magic and fun. Instead, he sent them all screaming for the cover of their parents legs and arms. The only child who didn’t freak out was my son, who stood up and walked for the very first time, straight for the clown, with a huge grin on his face. I don’t remember much else from that day, I do know that forever after we adopted the ‘age +1 rule’ for the number of guests to invite to birthday parties.
Like the my son’s first birthday party, some things have gone smashingly well here at The Yoga of Parenting and some things have flopped. Luckily, I don’t think anyone has gone running in panic.
I am getting a better sense of what parents need, and after all, these posts really are my love letters to you. I love parents because they spend most of their time in daily acts of courage, kindness and love even when the challenges are big and the supports meager. We are, after all, not a country that makes it easy for parents.
I have focused primarily on the practices of yoga, mindfulness and compassion and how these practices nurture parents. This first year I have addressed new parents and parents of very young children. Recently, I have been getting more questions from parents of older children asking if these practices can help them. The answer is a resounding YES! I am parenting young adults, the harvest time of parenting. This past month after my former husband and my boys’ father died suddenly, I learned again how grateful I am to these practices. How essential they are for navigating the unpredictable terrain of parenting. Instead of limiting the size of the party, I am opening the gate to include all parents. We will all learn together, new parents, parents in the middle and especially our elder parents as we travel down this exquisite path of parenting, a path that is by all measures enlightening beyond my wildest imagination.
So I will continue to try to show up, pay attention, speak my truth and let go of outcomes, will you join me for another year?