May the blue, ethereal, newness of your eyes look upon this world.
May your tiny, uncoordinated hands explore it.
The sun lays itself across your window this morning.
May you greet it with a smile which will never vanish from your lips.
You are home, with me.
May you always keep this kiss I lay across your cheek.
Awaken love, and know you make a heaven of my everyday.
I wrote this poem for my son, Winter when he was only an infant. I was sitting next to his crib, watching him sleep in the morning before he woke up. I was still in that phase where life becomes cocooned around a new infant. A phase where the house becomes your world and leaving to go to the grocery store feels like an expedition. There is a sweetness in that time of parenting that saturates the memory of them with sentimentality. It is hard to look at pictures of that time without evoking tears.
Winter lost his second front tooth on the first day of this month. He is eight years old. A wide gap now accents the innocence of his cherub like face. On the one hand, the loss of this tooth means the baby that I once held close to my breast day and night is further from me. And this causes me the pain of loss. On the other hand, it means that he is now coming closer to really joining me in the world. He is leaving the cocoon of childhood behind.
Our cognitive brain function does not fully develop until we are about eight years old. We spend our earliest years, those before the age of eight, essentially “downloading” what beliefs and experiences we can from our family and culture. During those years, the way we feel is primarily reactive. This means we can’t think or rationalize our way out of the painful emotions we feel. This is interesting because even before science pointed to this truth about the brain, multiple religions considered eight to be the age where a person develops accountability (free will) and is therefore capable of committing sin. This is the age that many faiths choose to baptize children.
When a child loses their front teeth, it means they have transitioned from soma to mind. They are becoming thinking based beings. It is during this phase that most children lose touch with their heart. They lose innate spiritual gifts the more they interact mentally instead of with feeling. They begin to disconnect from their essence. And so, this is the age that spiritual initiation and training must begin. You must train the mind to remain connected to the emotional, physical and spiritual realms.
The spiritual and mental realms are like playgrounds for me. I excel at these levels of experience. It is the physical that I struggle with daily. I have been waiting for this phase to begin because when a child has outgrown the baby phase and is instead somatically exploring the world, where the most important thing is play (about age 2 to 8), I feel a bit like a sports player that has been benched for most of the games throughout the season. This is not the phase of parenting where I excel. I excel at guidance. My greatest gift when it comes to parenting is mentoring in the realm of life coaching. This is probably not a surprise to anyone reading this because this is what I do for a career. Knowing that my son is now transitioning to thinking about the world, I feel like I’m off the bench. I feel his presence as if his spirit is tapping me on the shoulder saying “it’s time to get down to doing exactly the things that made me choose you for as a mother.”
When he lost his second front tooth this week, I explained to him with congratulations that it is now time for our spiritual training together to begin. This is something he has been begging me to do with him for the last year. Every time I tuck him into bed he asks me to teach him how to talk to his heart or how to see the future or how to go out of body or how to make his nightmares go away. And though I have taught him things here and there, none of the things I have taught him have been formal training. That begins now. I explained to him that every time we have a day together, we are going to design the day the way he wants to and that at least one of the things we will do is going to be a spiritual exercise.
Our training began last Friday. It began with the foundation of all of it... Being in connection with his heart. Winter has been parented through an emotional coaching style. He has a higher emotional quotient than most adults do. For this reason, he does not need to be put in touch with his emotions. More than anything, he needs a way to be in touch with his internal truth. For this, we began inner journey work training. In the first inner journey work process, I took him to meet his heart as if it were a separate being living inside him that he could always go talk to in order to clearly know the truth about what he wants and doesn’t want, what he needs, what he is being called to do and what he needs to communicate. Like most children, he did this process easier than I’ve seen any adult do it. We asked his heart to tell Winter what he wants to do for the rest of the day. His heart said “I want to paint a picture with mommy, like the pictures that mommy paints. And then I want to make a list of songs that I like to listen to. And then I want to go to some water to float in inner tubes and then I want to eat some pancakes and then I want to play transformation (our community’s favorite adult board game) and then I want you to sing 5 songs to me at bed time”. And so… We did exactly that.
All parents have too many things to do. Life is f*ing complicated and messy as hell. Our children often become an accessory to the things that have to be done. They even become an accessory to the things we think they have to do, like go to school and attend the extracurricular activities that we decide they need to attend. For this reason, it’s really important every so often to give them a day with at least one of their parents being completely present with them to help them figure out what their hearts are calling them to do and then to join them in what they want to do. Let them design their perfect day from start to finish… Or even half a day if you don’t have a full day to spare. I am lucky in that I have created a life where I can do this every week with my son except the weeks that I am out of town. Most parents have schedules that are not this allowing. But these are the times that children remember the most when they are grown. This is when they feel the most connected to us and when they feel like they matter the most. You can’t do this for a child and not give them the message that most of us are missing… You Are Valid.
When a child is born, we look at its size and its inabilities and lack of experience and we think therefore that our job is to lead that child. We think the child is a thing that belongs to us. That it is our duty to mold it into what we think will be the best for it.
Our children do not belong to us. They belong with us, but not to us. They come in with a unique life purpose and mission. It is like a pearl that is contained inside of a lotus blossom. It is a gift that we have been put in the position to meet their unique needs so that they can unfold like a flower blooming in response to rain and to sun. We fail to recognize and tune into each child’s unique essence. We don’t listen and see and feel them with all of ourselves so as to make the right decision for them. We don’t see how doing this is actually the best thing for us.
Separate who you are from who each child is. When you impose what you think is best on your child, what you are often doing is cutting them off from their own unique calling and unique spirit and unique signature. They are already in touch with who they are and what they want. Our job is to help them actualize this. Every interaction with your child is an opportunity to either bolster their spirit or diminish it and in doing so, either support your own expanding consciousness, or hold it back.