We’ve all heard the expression “a blessing in disguise” and there may be no better example of a disguised blessing than parenting.
Raising children stretches us in so many uncomfortable ways–from our finances to our time; our patience to our sanity; our sense of self to our sexuality–that we often miss the blessings, as the list of challenges unfolds… indefinitely.
What is not indefinite (though it often seems so) is our time with our children–as children. And I for one, don’t want to be one of those who bemoans missing this blessing, however it may be disguised.
Like the rocks.
When my oldest was a little guy, he collected rocks–to the point where they filled every window sill in our small farm house. As soon as I would covertly return the rocks to their rightful place beside the stream, he’d fill the house back up with another load. It was futile struggle… until yoga.
One Saturday afternoon, I complained to my new yoga classmates about all the rocks around my house. I’ll never forget what my teacher had to say. “Kelly, did it ever occur to you that your son is trying to ground the energy in your home?”
Here my son was offering a blessing; something we dearly needed in the face of all the chaos of early parenting, especially with three fire signs under one roof, and I had missed it.
My husband had a similar realization this afternoon. Our youngest begged his father to come into the woods, but he resisted. “I’m tired,” he said, “I’ve mowed the lawn. I’ve whacked the weeds. I’ve turned over the garden beds. I just need some time to really relax.”
Eventually our persistent one wore him down, and Casey found himself nestled against a tree in the middle of the forest gazing at Aidan at work.
“He really didn’t need me to ‘do’ much,” Casey told me later, “He just wanted my company. And in giving it, I got what I really needed–in a place where I so often forget to go.”
Another disguised blessing.
Perhaps the best example of missing a blessing comes from a time outside of parenting for me.
As a young mother, I signed up for a day-long retreat at the local yoga center. I don’t remember much about the program, except for the break from my routine, and the nice blueberry tea that we shared.
There was however, one unforgettable moment, that has become a symbol for how easy it is for me to miss the blessings in my life. As the Buddhist nun who led the retreat dismissed everyone for lunch, she paused by my yoga mat, where I was engrossed in a task. “Is everything alright, Kelly?” she asked.
I looked up, surprised to see her, and then explained that there was a knot in the red satin blessing string that she had given me, and that I was having a hard time getting it out.
Kelly Salasin, Mother’s Day 2011