Held in the Great Embrace

As I became a mother and experienced the vulnerability, the cracked-openness and the simultaneous demand by Life to gradually release my daughter as she ventured out into the world in ever-increasing circles, I asked my mother, “How did you manage that? To let us go, to not worry too much, to not stifle us with your fears and protective instincts?”

She gave me a reply that has stayed with me, that guides, comforts and strengthens me in my mothering and my letting go.  Read more

Inspired by Moments of Emotional Brilliance — Tender and Tuned In: Part 3

Here’s the third and final vignette in my three-part blog series on delightful expressions of emotional health and capacity in children, ones that surprise and hearten us amidst the journey of helping them develop emotional intelligence (you can find the first one here> and the second one here>). This one was shared with me by a fellow mother about her daughter:

Since she is little, Maggie loves visiting stores with cuddly, soft stuffies, pretty shiny things, cute booklets, dollies, and the wide array of beautiful, creative toys and trinkets available in certain stores – these things make their way into her heart on a weekly basis when she goes to town with her mother. For the past few years, each time they are in town, she has felt compelled to get something, one thing. Sometimes her mother has acquiesced. Other times she hasn’t. Quietly her mother has wondered (and at times worried) why her daughter feels such a need to have and get all this stuff. “Have we raised her too materialistically?” “Why this drive to consume?” “She has so much already”. Read more

Inspired by Moments of Emotional Brilliance — Tender and Tuned In: Part 2

Here’s the second vignette from my three-part blog series about delightful expressions of emotional health and capacity in children, ones that surprise and hearten us amidst the journey of helping them develop emotional intelligence (you can read the first one here>):

It’s a golden late summer’s day. My daughter — 11 now — steps on a lazy wasp while playing with a bundle of kittens she is fostering from the local animal shelter. Startled by the immediate and powerful sensation of pain zipping through her foot, she tries to shake it off, and gets stung a second time. Read more

Inspired by Moments of Emotional Brilliance — Tender and Tuned In: Part 1

Children rely on our support and guidance in navigating the emotional ups and downs of life. Developing emotional intelligence takes time and is an ongoing journey for every human being. And yet our children sometimes also surprise us with delightful expressions of emotional health and capacity.

Over the past few months I have witnessed a few of those and find myself heartened every time I ponder them. I’d like to share some of them with you in a three-part blog series. May these vignettes encourage you too. May they inspire you. And help you notice the gems that may be happening right in front of you.

Here’s the first one: Read more

Ode to the Elasticity of the Mother Heart

I was a real family girl as a kid… well attached, loved my family to bits, substantially more prone to homesickness than my siblings. I remember the feeling of being curled up with my mama as one of the most all-encompassing experiences of complete goodness and safety.

And now? I live a long ways away from them. An ocean and a continent lie between us — about 8329.41 km (or 5175.67 miles)!

Home has shifted. My new family is now “home.” My daily heart-orientation circles around them, even as I still dearly love and appreciate my family of origin, and cherish our rare times together in person.

Such is the common story of growing up, of course, while taking place in all styles and variations. Generally this is how it goes: we start out close with and fully dependent on our parents. We grow up. We move away and make our own lives.

Now here’s the thing: Up until becoming a mother myself, I never fully appreciated just what that meant for the parent, and in this instance, for my mother. Read more

What to Do When My Child Lies? 13 Ways to Respond, Prevent, and Strengthen Honest Communication

Think of the times in your life you have lied. And why.

Were you afraid of what would happen if you told the truth? Worried how the other would react? Whether you’d get into trouble?

Or because you felt ashamed? Because covering up the truth seemed easier than dealing with the lie? Because you felt the other wasn’t ready to hear the truth?

Or perhaps because you didn’t even know the truth yourself, weren’t yet in touch with it? Or you just wished so very much that things were different? Read more

The Sustaining Weave of Small Gestures

A few days ago, as I brought my Christmas mail to the post office, a young mother caught my eye. She was planting a quick kiss on her envelopes before dropping them in the mailbox. She did it covertly, so no one would see. But I did.

I asked her if she does this with all her mail. She nodded. We exchanged a few words and a moment of mutual recognition.

Ever since I remember, my mother has drawn a small “God bless you” cross with her forefinger on envelopes before dropping them in the mail… letters, cards, and bills. She does this to bless their voyage, encourage safe arrival, and to share a blessing with all who come in touch with the mail and especially the one receiving the mail. Read more

You’re It! An Invitation to Show Up Fully

Remember that feeling when you played tag as a kid and got caught? “You’re it!” And there was no more running away, no swerving or turning back.

The only way onward was to be it, to go for it, to play and run. Do you recall the mixture of yikes and excitement that would arise just seconds before you got tagged?

It’s that blend of “yikes” and “excitement” and what possibilities emerge when we’re “it” that I’d like to explore today. Which, really, is every moment. Life is tagging us each moment; we’ve just become so good at hiding out, we don’t always notice the tap on the shoulder. Read more