Something Right

His eyes are fighting to stay open. Lids are working hard but surrender. His breathing becoming heavier and heavier. His body remains heavy. His fatty hand lies limp on my shoulder. Nose to nose. He’s wearing his fire-truck jammies tonight.

Bodies facing each other. The only thing that lies between us is his minion… his t-rex… his ninja turtle… his olaf… his silky blankie… his water cup.

The humming of frogs and crickets echo outside his bedroom window.

I find my own eyes fighting to stay open too. Drifting away, but coming back. My songs have gotten slower, less pronounced. Though I find myself to be one of the world’s worst singers, he insists on me singing him songs every night. The batman theme song is at the top of his list these days.

He was up at 6 a.m. today. On a Saturday morning. Ready to go, play, explore. I’m tired, exhausted. Foggy from staying up late studying for my graduate exam coming up shortly. Up with the dogs early. Fifteen hours later, after a busy day of just being a kid, is tuck-in time. The day consisted of monster-hunting, swimming, laughing, playing, crying, fighting, and boo-boos. “Lay wiff me, mommy,” he pleads. His eyes hopeful and tearing up.

How often I’ve turned down this request. To study. To write another countless paper. “Mommy has to do homework.” He tells me “okayyy” with a quivering mouth in disappointment. The nights of being let down add up inside but every time he asks, his hope rises to the same level.

It takes constant effort to minimize my own anxiety, my own worries about crossing off the to-do list, being productive in the limited amounts of time I have for myself. It is doable though. Controllable. To just say no to myself and to be there, be present. Aligning my breathing pattern with his. Trace my fingertips across that big forehead he got from his mom. Admire the innocence, wonderment, pureness of him. Be aware of the love I have for this child of mine. Remind myself this is why everything.

It’s in these moments, not when I am crossing off the unending list that cycles my anxiety, that I know I’m doing something right. While I am there with him. Know I’m doing something to comfort him, inspire him, love him. Let him in, and him let me in. When he’s not hiding under the dining room table yelling, “you’re not my best friend anymore!” in response to me saying we can only play tag one more time (after about 13 rounds) because it’s bedtime.

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Self-forgiveness

Have you forgiven yourself yet?

A question quite simply. Yet with limitless depth and discovery to be had.

It’s a theme that has come up in my life recently and I believe is worth a share.

One might quickly answer, “yes, I think I have,” such as I did instantly upon being asked. And one I often asked clients as well, desensitized to the effect but reminded when it’s turned on me. How beautiful the ability to be introspective- something that’s all your own and no one else’s responsibility, to do with it what you please. I encourage everyone to pay attention to their own. Doing something with it can change your life.

Normally when we think about forgiveness, we think about others initially, right? We think about those who have hurt us, scarred us. We think about how difficult it is to forgive one who is sorry, and an even grander challenge to forgive those whose apology we do not receive. We think about all the wrong that was done to us by others. All the pain and sadness it’s caused us. They have caused us. We, as humans, naturally tend to victimize at the mercy of others’ actions. It’s all very legitimate and is a process in itself. However, I argue the greater battle is the pathway to forgiving our ownselves- forgiving myself for something I sometimes remind myself was brought upon myself by me and only me. Ridiculous. Cheesy. Intangible. Yet, the wrong we did to ourselves will continue to do to ourselves if we don’t do something with that ability to be introspective and begin to forgive.

It might sound silly. But, healing. Wouldn’t it be nice to show ourselves the same kind of compassion we so desperately yearn to show and give others? If you’re like me anyhow, it’s a value of mine to give this gesture to others. But, why am I not just as worthy?

It’s something I’ve been at a tug-of-war with since my real life began the day I had my son, the day I like to reiterate on this blog gave me lenses to see the world a little more realistically. Would it be possible one day to finally forgive myself for my own great mistakes… the shame I brought upon myself.The shame that cycles until that day I can say, “no more!” But, it does get easier. I can tell my story without the tears nowadays. I have been able to do that for the past couple of years. I can laugh now. I can own now. I can change now. I’m in control. And I know that has a lot to do with much more than self-forgiveness too. But, with that, I know I’m close, if not there already.

The journey towards self-forgiveness is a voyage. It doesn’t happen right away. Nothing in life that is worth it does just that. It takes courage, vulnerability, and effort. And all of those won’t compare to the healing that rises from it all.

Have you forgiven yourself?

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