When Isabella was a baby I was the only one who could soothe her crying. I nourished her with my body for 18 months. Even to this day her space of safety and calm is twirling her fingers in my hair.
But that lens is changing and when I took the photo above I was reminded once again that so much of this experience of nuturing and parenting is about letting go and allowing her the freedom to run down the road ahead, giving her the space to discover, grow and experience.
Last week we experienced Isabella's first week of nursery school. A nuturing space filled with like-minded parents where children are safe and free to explore, discover, play and grow.
What I love about her school is that it's based on a philosophy about partnering with our children, honoring who they are and seeing them through the lens of empathy and understanding. Because it's a co-op there is an organic bonding that happens with the other parents and their children in addition to our own which creates emotional and physical safety for all. For parents it's also a safe space to share our stories, our challenges, our tears and find empathy.
I feel blessed to have found a community that supports and provides tools and a safe space for parents as well as for our children. Being a parent is fracking hard, any parent can tell you this. Isabella and I have moments where we are tired and triggered and big feelings and big tears ensue. There are moments where I just need space and a place to breathe. At times parenting has felt lonely and isolating for me so I feel even more blessed and grateful having found this community here in Los Angeles and beyond grateful to have the support of my husband in wanting this for our children too. In addition to my close mama friends both near and far as well as a couple gay uncles, this amazing online community and now through Isabella's school, I feel like I am finally cultivating my village.
I look at my role in Isabella and Mia's life not as an enforcer but as a partner. I don't believe it's my job for a moment to teach them how to be good or anything other than who they already are - they came into this earth pure, good and whole.
What I do believe is that our children become the adults they experience growing up. Which is why I believe in my core that the best gift I can give to my girls is for them to have a mother who is whole in her mind, heart and body as a model for them. Like yoga, this is now my daily practice. Some days I feel more flexible and open than others, but that is why it's called practice.
One of the gifts my girls have given me is the awareness to understand what it means to treat myself with kindness, love myself wholely, live authentically. To embrace the bags underneath my eyes and the pooch in my belly - these things that have become my mama badges. All of which I thought I understood but simply didn't truly get until I became a mama. What I am also learning is that self love starts with kindness and forgiveness.
Isabella may be enrolled as the student, but our whole family is learning, discovering and growing.
I have heard it said, and have said it myself, hundreds of times that our children change us. I used to believe this. And while there is truth to these words and parenthood does indeed change aspects of our lives, what I now believe and connect with more is that our children reveal us.
My own experience so far of raising two shining souls has stripped away layers of myself like wallpaper that has been covered up time and again over the years. I am being stripped and underlying layers that were always there but had yet to be seen, or had long been forgotten, are now being exposed and revealed. Some of what I see surprises me, some of awes me, some of it is truly beautiful and some of it's just plain messy and not pretty at all. Each layer exposed brings me closer to my core.
These two sweet babes are my mirror.
My constant teachers.
My spiritual gurus.
My consistent lessons.
My daily pracitice.
My road ahead.