My sweet two-year old has taught me what it means to be loving and to be a mother. How?
For one thing, she doesn’t limit the word “Ma-Ma” to just her biological mother, but uses it for just a few of the chosen tender-hearted, fully present and nurturing women around her.
When she feels completely cared for and loved by that woman, even just after spending time here and there together, she honors them as a “ma-ma.”
In fact, there was a newly designated Ma-Ma recently who was bestowed the name after sharing time in the car together while she napped and the Ma-Ma (not I just to be clear) meditated with her.
Meditation is the most present, vivid experience of Love one can share. And yes, it was an Inner not Outer expression that a young child without many barriers could so purely feel and then Know.
The other way she has taught me love can best be relayed by the story of Martha, Mary and Christ from the Bible:
Martha is busily attending to her dishes and her worries. Mary is devotionally present and concentrated on her Master, Christ. (The root of “devotion” is the highest respect and love for some thing.)
Christ scolds Martha and says she must be busy with love for Him and thinking of Him. Not to waste away their time together. You see, it’s her attitude that wasn’t quite right. Christ wanted her to behave in the same loving and present way Mary did, stopping everything to be with Him. In Christ’s eyes, this was the right way to approach daily life in Love: Giving Love, and by way of giving Love, receiving it.
With my daughter it is the same. I ask her who loves her and she doesn’t always answer, “Momma.” Usually she says, “Dadda.” I like to go through all the people who Love her 🙂 just to remind her how much love surrounds her. Often I am far down the names on her recall list, even sometimes after herself!
Her answer always causes me to reflect. One thing that I have to learn from Dadda is how to play and be in the moment. I get so caught up with the house chores and the busy-ness and then oops! I’m not loving Her in a way she can recognize because I’m losing the right attitude. She wants me to be present and to have fun in our time together — which is now even more precious since I started full time work. When I spend so much time fixated on getting ready and out the door when we are together — or cleaning up our latest mess — does she really know enough of the “why” I do those things at her tender age to put together how much I do care?
Children live life so simply: If I am loved, love will be experienced and given during my time with that person. In the present moment, I am loved.
Children can feel our moods, our wrong attitudes, and it can be so utterly confusing. “Did I make Mommy upset? Am I not fun to play with anymore? Is someone on the phone or computer more important than me?”
Thus, I am learning how to be a true Ma-Ma and join the ranks of her beloveds. And how to behave so that she knows the extent of my true Love for her. By showing her more NOW and not letting another moment pass us by.
This doesn’t mean not doing chores or not answering a call. It means looking at her deeply in the moments I can and when I walk in the door hugging her and sending her as much love as I can, maybe even meditating on her while she sleeps.
And what makes her lesson for me most important is how it can relate to all my interactions with others. For that is our lesson on this Earth, is it not? To truly love? To be a shining channel for Love?
So let us be present and practice Love in every moment until it becomes all that we do and all that we are.