My grandson — one month old, today! — cries when I hold him. A LOT of the time. It’s embarrassing. Not to mention depressing. I do NOT have this grandmother thing down. Tonight my son & DIL are out to dinner. I have Trinidad. And after a devastating explosion of screaming, he finally let me rock him to sleep. We’re both exhausted…
So what do I do when he cries? Well, I practice beginner’s heart. Really. I think love at him, try to breathe through my spiralling heartbeat, and rock him gently. Listen to my son & DIL for advice about what works for them. Try to find m own way. And it’s HARD.
Not because I don’t adore my grandson, obviously. Just today I watched him as we sat outside, in the misty Portland morning. His large eyes followed the watery sunlight, full of wonder. That’s a whole other lesson
No, it’s hard because I want to fix it. I want to save the day. Make him happy. Instead, I can offer him a bottle of mother’s milk. But he’s way smart enough to realise that I’m not his mother. Or his dad, a close second. And Mom & Dad are what he wants. He can go from a sweet puddle on his mother’s lap, or a smiling coo in his daddy’s arms, to a stiff howling monkey prince in mine, arms & legs whirling. Again, talk about embarrassing…(and did I mention depressing?)
Digression: My son says I like everyone. But he’s crazy . I do NOT love everyone. No way, not even close. I do try to have compassion for them. Even the mean, horrible ones (knowing even as I write this – who am I to judge? But I do. I think people who want to cut education and the arts and help for the less blessed are mean-spirited. Cut war, folks. Cut your salaries, if you make more than $200,000.00 annually. Who NEEDS more than that??
See? I just go off…
So today’s post is about how I work on that. Because it’s HARD. Even HARDER than being calm for Trinidad, and not taking a baby’s vagaries personally — just trying to be there, and learn. And I forget ALL THE TIME. What helps most — with Trinidad and the world at large — is tonglen. Breathing — both for Trinidad and for folks I can’t stand. Remembering (in the case of my beloved grandson) that he will grow, and that I’m NOT his mother. I am only who I am, and sometimes that’s just not what’s needed.
As for folks who make me crazy? Who can’t stand my beliefs, whose values war with my own? Well, I can’t stand them either. So I think about how that makes me feel. Because when I breathe for others, what happens is that I really heal myself. Ideally I’m healing all of us, breathing in the pain and dislike and fear that feeds on polarisation. Breathing out compassion, peace. Balance.
With Trinidad, it’s hard enough. Not because I don’t love him enough ( ). But because of my own ego, my fears, my baggage. So when I hold him, and he howls, I breathe. Deeply. Steady. Reminding myself that I may not be what he wants, but I can still be here. Full of love, breathing. I think that’s excellent beginner’s heart ~