Another bad thing in a world of bad things. I have not become numb, that is not what has happened. I crumble with each new attack, with each new assault – foreign or domestic.
And then I disconnect, and block out the media, and become absorbed in my kids’ interests and the activities we can do together to fill our world with joy. I didn’t take any pictures today, because I didn’t want them to feel like they were on the spot. I just wanted to enjoy them and all their silliness.
Downtown, we sat in big, plush chairs and watched some Harry Potter with the other kids at the Teen Library. We got to pick a wand from a bucket – and be reminded that really, our wand would choose us. Mine is “Hazel and grindylow tooth, slightly brittle – 10 3/4 inches.” The slightly brittle seems to suit me. I am always in some state of panic. As much as I want to be calm and easy-going, I am usually more on edge than anything else.
It has become very obvious to me recently that my Spiritual Practice means nothing if it is not vital and central and involving loving interactions with my core family. If not at least that, what kind of spirituality could I possibly have? What would it mean to be able to meditate and get quiet, if the minute I am not in that place, I am snapping at my kids? Breathing through the initial response, and waiting until I can respond calmly is my most important task. And I’m not snapping because they’re awful, they are completely normal boys. They are loud, they wrestle, they are loud, they fight and punch, they create and vibrate with energy, and they are loud. And my poor, old ears. And sometimes I just want to be quiet, and I have to remember that the very thought seems absurd to their young minds and lungs and singing, howling, imitating accents horribly and loudly mouths.
I do, however, take them out into the world, and expect a modicum of respectable behavior in public. Fart noises happen, I get that, but let’s not exaggerate them. We don’t ask for much, but we do want them to know how to fancy it up when necessary. So, we practice. Little steps in the right direction.
At the airport, we looked at the massive collection of model airplanes donated by someone in our community who had painstakingly put them together over the course of 20 years. We explored the art on display. We took the elevator up one whole level and freaked out at how high we were and how much of the lower lobby we could see from all this way up here through the glass wall. (We live in the country outside a small community. We are not used to big buildings.)
We sat outside on an observation deck with Plexiglas windows to keep out some of the cold and some of the noise, but not all of it. Enough of that engine noise got through to us and we felt it rumble in our chests. Bean has decided he wants to be a pilot, so this summer we will explore many things having to do with flight. Watching a plane go slowly down the tarmac, turn around, rev the engines and then floor it and come soaring past us and then up into the air was a delectable start.
On the way back down the elevator, both boys sat on the floor in the lotus position and Ohm’d and focused on finding their center. When the elevator stopped moving, they both jumped up to meet their would-be audience as if the doors opening were curtains parting, revealing their stage. All the world is their stage, and why shouldn’t it be? They are young. They have a day off during the week with their mom, and we are on one random adventure after another, finding amazing things, beautiful things, things that smell good and feel good to the touch, treats that taste good. We will surround ourselves with all the beauty we can handle because we don’t know how short our lives will be. We don’t know when the fabric of our lives could be ripped apart, and for these few sweet moments today, we knew nothing but bliss.
Let us always be mindful of the chances we have to hug our loved ones, to treasure their sweet faces, to let the jingle of their laughter fill our ears.
I’m off to hug everyone again before bed!
photo from here