I leave my kids a lot. I have lots of mama guilt about it, but it is a part of how our life works right now. Two years ago this month I started working towards a graduate degree in acupuncture. I can truly say it was a calling, I just knew it had to be done. I wasn't sure how it was going to work, but I applied to the school, got accepted, and worked it all out. Graduate school doesn't seem like such an outlandish thing for a single mom to do, but my school happens to be 3 1/2 hours from my house and five days out of the month. Once a month I leave my kids on a Tuesday night and get them back Monday morning. It is a long week.
While I'm gone my kids stay with their Yaya, (my mom) for three nights, a babysitter (who is fabulous and comes to our house) for two nights, and the last night they spend at their dad's.
The act of me going to school and leaving my kids is what created the Queenpin organization I have today. It forced me to reach out, accept help when offered, and ask for it when it wasn't. It taught me to lower my expectations about how life is supposed to be and allow it to be as it is. This is a daily lesson that is getting easier.
Physically I am gone from my kids six days a month, but I have noticed that if I'm not careful I can leave them while I'm standing right next to them. This is my great challenge. Being present. Listening. Appreciating what we have this second.
What I have found about me is that I can really do this for about an hour each day, but only in 15 minute increments. Being present is f*&^ing hard! And being present when what you're confronted with is, "Hey mom, watch this...watch this...no, no, no WATCH THIS." Or the always joyful dinner time, "Please put your feet down, don't throw food, don't feed that to the dog or he'll poop all over the house. No you may not put green beans in your nose. The next person who says poop is going to their room!" (I could go on and on with the dinner time rants.)
Anyway, the point is that cute moments, fun moments are easy to be present in, but the tedious ones are really hard for me to grasp. There are many times that I would rather not be in the moment because that particular moment sucks or is boring or is completely annoying, but when I do that, I'm leaving again and my kids see that I'm not looking them in the eye or really listening to what is so vitally important to them.
Lately, I've been trying to laugh when I feel like removing myself from the present moment. Laugh at my boy who has talked incessantly for the last two hours, laugh at my girl who is perfecting the perfect squeal/whine, and laugh at myself for being so damn uptight.
I just read an article where a Tibetan monk commented that he felt Western meditation was great, but it was missing one thing, laughter and joy. Buddha believed in joy and so do I. I'm gonna rub my own Buddha belly and let that laughter bubble up, I'm gonna be here for my kids, except when the fart jokes start and then I'm outta here.