Jemima and AliciaIt’s mothers day and I have virtually a whole day away from my little people. Time to myself, moments to focus on something else. Yet, today I find I want to write not about food and health, but children and parenting.

What do I want to speak today? To speak of love for these little people. The beauties who break my back from the physical logistics of moving them through the day, or the endless requests that erupt my composure, or the tiresome non cooperation that halts the next moment.

Yet within all this hardship of raising children, are the precious moments when a new word is uttered, the children begin playing together, love is spread around the table.

To choose love without raising my voice, without inflaming my insides is a daily work in sharpening my awareness. I keep striving for this, because I know it works.

Just yesterday, returning from the playground, I am so focused on her sister, that nothing was right for my toddler. The tears well up and I stop, attend to her right in the eyes, feel her lack of recognition and offer gentle words. In the next moment, she continues scooting, a free spirit, now her discomfort dissolved.

When she snatches the baby’s cup and the baby yells, she knows she has done wrong. She will not relinquish the cup. I try many of my approaches. “I will help you wait”, I offer.   “We have a big problem here, how are we going to solve this one?” And the rash unconscious, rhetorical demand of a parent, “Just give her the cup back now!”

Sometimes nothing works. The effort of parenting subsides. She still holds the cup. Well I can’t snatch it back, can I?

I see her play out this power struggle with her sister and with friends. I watch uncomfortably, then get involved in a futile attempt to bring about peace. Whatever the other wants or has, she wants to have, and then the friend wants this.   The cycle continues.

It is as if she needs to feel powerful, feel how it is be the wielder of the toys. Or is she copying the antics of others she has observed. Perhaps she needs to experience all this, she needs to ‘win’ in some way. She knows this isn’t friendly or kind and afterwards I ask “what could you do next time?”

Infact next time, a miraculous change happens. They play beautifully and perform a sharing dance from one toy to the next.

When I witness such positive blossoming for my todder, I try to catch this inside. To grow my faith in her, trust that she will thrive.

Harder to catch this love, are during the trying times of misbehavior. Times when the trigger of impatience and irritation swell and I react quickly, without awareness and compassion.

This must make her feel bad inside and results in one of two reactions in her; either further trying dominance or reluctant passive release.

There is a third way possibility and that is of love. This comes from the quick moment I acknowledge I could get triggered here, and I proactively choose to meet her with love.

Here, I feel her suffering. I don’t care what it is all about. I stop all else and stand with her, connected to my daughter and her upset is let out by love.