I have written about gratitude many times here. As I was driving the other day, Baby G in his car seat, looking at the beautiful mountains ahead of me through the warm, clear blue skies, I thought that the way I try to live my life, in conscious awareness for all that I have and all that I know, goes beyond gratitude. Yes, as an almost 48 year old woman who has survived the deaths of some of the most important people in my life (my brother, my Uncle J, my grandfather, my grandmother, and my female mentors S & D), I live the waking hours of my life with a mindfulness that is deeper than all the gratitude I feel. There is a consciousness that comes from both age, life experience, and wisdom, that necessitates that I live each day seeing, feeling and acknowledging the gift that is this life that I have.
And, save the death of my brother, my infertility and significant struggle to have children has informed this state of being the most. I now spend the awake hours of my days being present, not looking too far forward or back, because I am acutely aware that both the easy and the hard parts of my life’s journey have brought me to this place.
I am a fuller version of myself, not without struggle, stress, worry, and concern, but more equipped to know that I can weather the storms in life because I already have. And, I’ve lived the hell out of half my life with, universe willing, just as much road ahead of me.
My older son is on spring break this week and something magical is happening between him and Baby G–they are forming a sibling bond, one that I hope connects them their entire lives. H has always said he loves his brother, but now that G is walking and climbing he is a much more interactive being. As we came in from getting fro yo this afternoon, I had to pee so asked H to keep an eye on his brother. I heard shrieks of joy and laughter from both of them, w H saying, “mom, I really love my baby brother!” and “we’re actually playing together, mom!” and, “mom, he loves me, too”. The whole exchange just filled me up as does having both of them home with me all day for this week-long break. It’s not without its challenges as G is still taking two naps/day, so trying to fit fun things in for H that we can all do takes some planning. I still cannot believe that I am a mother of two rambunctious boys. It catches me off guard to this day.
A mindful, well-intentioned life is what I feel I’m living. I still have my personal demons as I struggle to lose even one more pound (thinking that this post likely cursed me); and with the utter disappointment that there will be no meaningful relationships with my family (even things with my uncle have deteriorated, if only because he is juvenile and completely unable to see what is before him); and stalemate I’ve come to with my birth mother where the identity of my birth father is concerned; and worry over finances and what I am going to do for work and when. But, my worry is not overwhelming. It has its place but I no longer let it stress me out. I am far less actively stressed that I ever have been in my adult life.
I dreamed and hoped and thought I conjured what it would be like to be on the other side of the struggle to build our family, but that doesn’t approximate the reality of it. It’s harmonious and as it should be. And, even though there is the sometime sting that we won’t be having more children, I have come to accept that truth, that we won’t. It has been a long process, of course made somewhat easier by the arrival of Baby G. In a different, other life, would I want more children and endeavor to have them? Yes, I absolutely would. But now, I can finally exhale into family being instead of family building.
I feel so fortunate to have the wisdom and experience to not take this life for granted. Those seeds were sown thirty-seven years ago when I lost my brother and knew, in that instant, how fragile and fleeting life can be. And, perhaps it is because his birthday is this week, that I am feeling acutely aware that there is no way to stop time. Oh, do I miss him, as a big brother and the uncle he would have been. So, to him I say, thank you brother for opening my eyes to how precious life is. And, happy birthday. May your spirit be forever at peace.
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way:
on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.
This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity,
and acceptance of present-moment reality.”