I have been thinking all day about why Tuesday night’s scene at the restaurant did not feel like a challenge, like dukkha. In fact, if I’m honest it was one of the best moments of my week. I think that’s because one of the places in my life when I feel I am most mindful is when my kid needs me. When he gets hurt, he calls for Mama; when he was freaking out about the chip, he needed me. Even in the hustle-and-bustle life I sometimes lead, I strive to be able to sit with his difficult feelings and be present for them.
These moments of connection mean the world to me. Lex isn’t the cuddliest kid, so when he wants to lie in my arms and sleepily relay the grievances from a bad dream—as he did the other morning—I stay present. When he gets hurt and calls for me, first, I don’t send him to Daddy instead—I stay present.
I’m not sure, lately, that I am as good at staying present with my partner, Marc. He and I are fortunate to have a really deep and abiding love. So deep that, when I first had Lex and everyone I knew told me that what I’d feel for the baby would be completely different and much grander than what I felt for my husband, instead I remembered what it had been like to fall in love with Marc. From the beginning, we’ve had this very ancient and wonderful sort of love, kind of like the unconditional love you’re supposed to feel for your kid.
But ten years in, it’s very easy to take each other for granted. To spend weeks forgetting to really be with one another.
I thought of this last night. After a nighttime meditation session, Marc and I went to bed. Usually, lately, we’re on different schedules; I’m an early bird, he’s a night owl (is someone the diurnal dove or the crepuscular canary? Sorry—), but last night we bedded down at the same time. And as I fell asleep I thought, just connect. And I noticed his arms around me, and I noticed when his breathing deepened, and I noticed when his arm fell slack, and I noticed the stillness in our bedroom…and I woke up this morning feeling grateful and close again.