I grew up in a very loving home, I’m in a great, loving relationship and I have amazing, loving friends, but somehow, that wasn’t enough love to go around, so we got blessed with the sweetest little boy, just to make our hearts explode. I can’t believe that our Tinysaurus-Seth is a whole year old already. It’s been the longest, most difficult year of my life, but also the best one ever. My heart has never been so full.
Loving this munchkin comes so easily, but love is so much more than just cuddles and kisses and saying I love you. It’s more than just comforting him and being there for him. I need to teach him how to love himself and to navigate his own heart. I have to teach him to have compassion and be kind to others, as well as himself – and this is where I feel like I need help. I find it so easy to be kind to others, but not to myself. How can I teach that to him, when my actions towards myself show the opposite?
It’s strange though, because I was a lot kinder to myself when I was younger. Practicing mindfulness and taking the time to decompress after a long day, or after a difficult experience, was a good habit of mine. It was something that my mother taught me, and helped me make time for in my day. Now that I am an adult, and my mother is no longer around to guide me, I feel a bit lost.
I’d say I’m in this situation because I’m just too busy. Too busy putting everyone, and everything, before myself. I wouldn’t say that it happened when I became a mother, but that has added to it ten-fold. Before my son, it was my fiancé. Before my fiancé, it was my career. Before that, it was my degree. Before that, it was taking care of my mother, and so the list goes on and on, and with each day that passes I’d forget about myself a little bit more.
This year has been a very difficult one for us all as a family and it will only continue to get tougher. We find our selves in heart breaking situations often, at the drop of a hat, and this is never going to end for us. It just is how it is. We cannot change it. We cannot fix it. We just have to go through it, again and again. Sometimes it’s not that bad. Other times it’s horrible and I’m sitting in the hospital parking lot crying, for the millionth time, before I go back inside and put on a brave face for my son. Pretending that it’s all going to be OK.
This has been the biggest hurdle for us. Coming to terms with the fact that it will never be OK, and just having to live with it. It changes things. Actually, scratch that, it changes everything.
Apart from the constant repair that my own heart is going through, I need to teach Seth how to deal with this. It’s easy at the moment, because he doesn’t know what’s up. He doesn’t know why we’re going to the hospital AGAIN, he just knows that he’s not feeling well. He doesn’t know what all the tests and meds and checkups and, and, and are for. It’s just another day and honestly, I don’t think he remembers half of it. But soon he will. He’ll have questions and experience whole range of emotions that I won’t know how to deal with, because I’ve never been (and will never be) in his shoes. Sure, I’ll be by his side, all the time, but it isn’t about me. I’m not the one who’s ill.
The only thing that I can do, is give him the tools he’ll need to believe in himself, to fight for himself and to love himself. His body will take a beating and he will be tired. Everyday will be a new challenge and I need to help him cope with that mentally.
Something that I’ve found extremely useful, not just for my own sanity but to gain some much needed perspective on, well, everything, is Gitte Winter Graugaard’s book – The Children’s Meditations In my heart. Although, I don’t think Gitte intended for people to use the book the way that I am.
The book is meant to calm children before bed time and get them into a deeper sleep by doing heart meditations.
There are four meditations (heart stories) in the book and each one takes about 10 minutes to read with all the pauses in between (to allow time for reflection). The aim is to get your child settled, preferably lying down with their eyes closed, so that they can visualize what you are reading to them and then drift off to dreamland. The meditations focus on love between parents and children, and will help “strengthen your child’s sense of belonging, self-love, gratefulness, and empathy”.
My favourite part of the first story is when it asks “How has your heart been today? Has it had a good day? Has it been sad? Has it been angry? Has it has a good time? Is your heart big or small today?”.
This continues to strike a chord with me, because my heart has been so full, but so sore, for such a long time. Rationally, I find it hard to comprehend how such good can coexist with such bad feelings in my heart, but it’s a work in progress, and asking these questions help make it a little clearer, and easier to deal with.
In the reflections of the first meditation Gitte goes on to say that they sing a simple, but special song in their house whenever someone is in need of some love. This is so important to me. My mom used to sing the “I Love You” song from Barney to me whenever I was unwell and I found it so comforting. I now do this with my son while I rock him after he’s been crying. I think he likes it.
The book doesn’t have to be so heavy (emotionally), and that’s what makes it so special. Things just are heavy for us at the moment, so that’s what I’ve been taking away from it. It can be light hearted and happy, it can be deep and serious. It really just depends on what’s happening in your and your child’s lives. It’s not just for small children either. It’s so interpretive and relatable that even teenagers and adults can find use for it.
Most importantly, it’s loving. At no point does Gitte ever say what’s right or wrong. This is not a manual, or a baby book, etc. When you read it, it becomes purely about your life and your love for your children, in this particular moment in time. It’s quite beautiful. It leaves you feeling stronger, more content and thankful for everything that you have. It highlights what’s truly important: love.
I’m thankful that the book is available in hardcover because I take it with us on trips, especially to hospital visits. Sometimes Seth needs a cuddle, sometimes he needs his blanky. Other times he likes to hear my voice, so I read and sing to him. Mostly, I take it with for my own benefit, because I enjoy reading it and the way it makes me feel afterwards.
It’s a nice reminder that with love, you can conquer anything.
If you’d like to win a copy of The Children’s Meditations In my heart, then simply follow the instructions in the widget below.
Terms and Conditions
Open to UK residents only.
No purchase required.
The competition runs from Monday, 4 December 2017 to Thursday, 4 January 2018.
One winner will be announced on Friday, 5 January 2018.
The winner will receive one hardcover copy of The Children’s Meditations In my heart.
The prize is not transferable for cash.
This is not a sponsored post but the books have been sent upon request.