Baby Steps

Our little boy, who is still in Foster care in Florida, took his first steps alone today. Like…completely alone with a huge smile. He got up by himself.

Let me explain why this is a HUGE event.

See, he was confined to a tiny space the first 10 months of his life. He didn’t crawl or get up or sit up. He was immobile… pretty much.

But, with the grace of God and a wonderful angelic foster family, he is thriving. He has been getting physical therapy. He is showing up, being fully present, and doing the work needed to heal.

He took his first baby steps! Recovering. Moving forward. Happily stepping into his own.

He reminds us to be brave. To move forward. To keep going. He is teaching us to take our own baby steps even when we are fearful.

That’s our boy! That’s our baby, at 13 months, compassionately and fully plunging into the unknown.

We anxiously wait for the day we get the okay to go get him. Meantime, he is doing what he’s suppose to do under the care of a loving family.

If he can do it so can we.

Lost and Found

Yesterday my husband built a crib for the new baby. Kali has been anticipating this moment. It was a huge deal for her to help her daddy build the crib for her baby brother. She’s nesting in a way a pregnant woman nests for months before the big arrival. She was filled with such joy. She had to decorate it. She needed it to be “perfect!” And she would say over and over, “I’m so excited for my baby brother!” She’s four years old and I am aware how age means nothing when love is concern.

I stood watching the two of them build, re-adjusting to a life that’s coming. In the middle of the night, when she got up three times, I remembered the many nights of sleep deprivation. And then I saw my children grown, one who turns 23 years old tomorrow. The range of ages is from 30 down to 1 years old. How does this happen? It appears and morphs as God’s plan. I said from very young that I would have a house full of kids. It was a desire, a dream to be a mom. And my purpose here is to mother as many as possible and not just in my home. When I had six children living under the same roof there were extras who would move in…teenagers going to college, friends of friends, and so on. The house was never without children. They somehow found me and I was joyous to show up for them.

The building of the crib was monumental for Kali Rose. I saw in her the same emotions I’ve had with all my kiddos. I am witnessing a soul who just wants to be a mother to others. She wants to give love, share the love and be the love. She finds the ones who need it and makes them smile. Her daddy did such an amazing job putting it together while she declared when it was done, “I did such a great job building my baby brother’s bed.” We laughed. She told me, as they were working diligently, that I could only watch from the door. I was not to come in and help. She was the helper. And, I believe she will be an amazing helper to the world as she’s showing up, being available, and loving to the full of her capacity. She is like her mom, collecting the lost and found, making sure they recognize their worth.

Isn’t that what we are here to do? ~m.a.p.

The Gift of Presence

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As part of a Christmas gift this year, I gifted my eldest son a baby book I recently found in a box in the basement.  In it were 8 or 9 letters written to him before he was born, including the one of the day I found out I was pregnant with him.  I left it all in a gift box in his room for the night he arrived from New York City.  The next morning he came to me and hugged me tightly with tears in his eyes.  He said he spent hours reading the baby book from cover to cover.  But, what touched the core of his heart were the letters I wrote to him that shared my hopes and dreams of his future.

I was told at a very young age that I would not be able to have my own children.  With every passing year after twenty my chances would diminish.  I spent most of my teenage years creating a plan, rushing through school, jobs, relationships and life just to make sure I would align with motherhood.  I got married at 18.  Immediately we tried to get pregnant.  I did conceive twice before my son, to later miscarriage.  He and his brother have been true miracles in my life.  The other four have been even greater surprises from the heart.  I am a blessed woman.

This morning my son and I took a long drive through the mountains, taking pictures of the fog, the mist, the gloom of winter while talking along curves and country paths.  At one point he touched my hand and said, “Thank you for always being such an amazing woman, especially for being such a giving mother.  You have not changed a bit throughout the years.  Just reading those letters and how dead-on you were predicting the future has allowed me to see you in a depth I never saw before.  Mom, I knew you have always had an open heart but reading things from when you were 19 years old and how you still see the world so innocently and lovingly makes me realize that there are few human beings like you.  You continue to make me want to be a better person.  I love you!”  Needless to say I had to stop on the side of the mountain to cry, thank him, and hug him.

Kids have a way of immortalizing parents at times.  My son is 26-1/2 years old.  I was honest with him and told him that I had not read the letters completely.  I only skimmed through the first one and my emotions were pricked and pulled out of the present state of joy.  I put them in the box.  I am glad I did not read them.  Those letters weren’t for me. They were for him to find answers that he has been searching throughout a lifetime. Time has a way of revisiting us in the most amazing places but sometimes at the most unfortunate times.  (Then again, nothing happens by chance or mistake).  Because we live through perception and illusions, the past has little to do with this moment right now.  But without it we do not become who we are today.  We cannot move through the veil of myth and arrive here safely without acknowledging those stories that have created, molded, and strengthened us.

There’s a need to be acknowledged, recognized and understood.  There’s a desire to be heard.  There’s a necessity to be held, touched and loved.  There’s a yearning to acquire freedom through another who can see us and still love us unconditionally.  The best gift we can give another is the present.  Being mindful of how we light up when they are near us, or how they impact us through kindness, are just some of the ways that we can gift humanness onto another.  It’s simple.  We are simple beings taught to create drama and complications in order to get attention. We’ve been taught erroneously.  We’ve been instructed to fight for attention, time and love.  But, we have done the best we can with what we have.  It’s never too late to change the present.  It’s here.  It’s now!

The present moves through in a split second.  Stay here!  Stay right here and allow your loved ones to witness the quality of time.  Allow divinity to shine on you and yours.  Own your stories while holding hands, hugging, and listening through moments of laughter and tears.  We’ve lost the art of gathering, communication, and true love.   In the end there is only love….make it available to those who truly matter in your life.  Mucho love and happy holidays!

Lessons from an Infant

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It has been 26 years since I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing the intricate lessons from an infant. They arrive into this world with complete presence and a spiritual awareness that gets lost throughout the years. We, as parents and caretakers, mold a child and tarnish their essences from the openness to the deformity of what is acceptable in our society.  How very sad!  I am guilty and have been responsible for this as well.  Now, in my years of middle age, I can appreciate and marvel at the teachings from a little one.   It takes a second chance at raising a child to notice what was once dismissed in youth:

  1. Be present at all times.  A baby isn’t worried about anything but what (s)he needs.  They are completely living in the moment.  They poop and cry to be changed.  They are hungry and cry to be fed.  They are tired and cry to be put down.  Time is an illusion. Babies have no sense of an hour, a minute or a day.
  2. Vulnerability is strength.  Babies don’t worry about what you think.  You smile, they smile.  They ask for everything through a cry or scream. Their facial expressions are endless.  They show openness at all times.  A baby isn’t thinking, “What will they think of me when I crap? What will they think of me when I pass gas?”  There are no mixed signals of what they want and cannot have. They don’t make excuses for it their desires. They wear vulnerability as their main guidance and trait.
  3. The world is a playground.  A baby will marvel at a red bowl, a stuffed animal, or a sofa cushion with the same intensity of wonder. They study it with a beautiful bewilderment of learning.  They are constantly studying their surroundings.  You can leave the room and return and they will look at you with appreciation.   The acquired knowledge is miraculous.  Every part of their day is magical while they reach a milestone: whether it is sitting up, crawling, talking or walking. A baby relishes in playtime.  Their curiosity allows them to turn everything into an adventure.
  4. A smile is contagious.   Babies are pure joy.  They mimic smiles.  They smile, you smile, and the continuous action turns into laughter.  Their eyes even smile.  They are pure ecstatic energy.  Babies teach us to find happiness in every corner.   A smile is a mood enhancer.
  5. Touch is a means of survival.   Babies require touch.  They depend on it for their existence.  They require the hands of an adult to care for them.   They will grab on to a finger, a hand, a leg or whatever they can to feel the touch of safety.
  6. Love enters through birth.  You want to know God, spend some time with a baby.  They are the embodiment of love and spirit.  They are raw, without judgment, and full of divine light.  To be this open as an adult is a gift for our humanness.  It would benefit us tremendously to keep an open heart.  Infants are ego-less. They love and forgive every second.
  7. Every day is a miracle.  Each morning my granddaughter looks at me and her environment as if it was the first mystical moment of her life.  She coos and jerks with excitement.  I wake to this and for a few seconds think about how she is seeing her world.  I am reminded that there is always something to be grateful about during our day.  Babies live through the generosity of miracles and God.
  8. Never give up.  Babies keep trying to roll over, to sit, to stand and to walk.  With every milestone they keep moving forward.  They don’t give up.  They have the most tenacious spirit out there. Survival of the fittest!   They fall and get right back up as if the ground is their cheerleader.
  9. Don’t feel guilty for sleeping.   In our society we are scrutinized for taking naps.  I personally like to go to bed early and rise before the sun is out.  Those around me usually have some kind of sarcastic or negative comment about my sleeping routines.  For many years I would be frazzled by the judgments.  Babies don’t care.  They are the best teachers in how to sleep peacefully.  They are tired so they sleep.  They also teach us how precious sleep plays a huge role in our clarity, concentration, and personality.
  10. Be authentic to your knowing.  Babies are great judge of characters.  When they feel comfortable with someone they will let you know it.  They are at home in your arms.  If they don’t feel safe they will scream.  Babies teach us that we must follow our gut.  It is this divine knowing that gets clouded later on in childhood.

Every new day I am learning from my sweet baby girl.  She is reminding me what is important.  I am blessed by the lessons.  Teachers arrive in all shapes and sizes.  Lately mine is a tiny 15-1/2 lbs. baby girl with a tender heart and a smile that melts me in seconds.