Since the schools closed here in Oregon toward the beginning of the month, I have had my daughter at home with me. It has been a transition for both of us, but just this morning I had an amazing moment.
The Colors of Saturn from Cassini via NASA.gov
So, a little backstory is warranted here, I suppose. I have always wanted to be a mother. Even when I was a teenager, I knew that I was destined to be a mother and have a huge family, all the kids, and everything. Well, when I got pregnant at 20, I was excited. I shouldn’t have been because we weren’t in the best position to be parents, but I was excited nonetheless. I had an easy pregnancy. No complications until toward the end when I had issues with my blood pressure and swelling. Then I gave birth and everything changed.
I have always dealt with mental illness. I’ve got a few diagnoses, but they all affect me pretty heavily on a regular basis. Even through all of my spiritual practices, meditation, yoga, and prayer I still struggled. I still struggle to this day. I had severe postpartum depression after my daughter was born, and the hormone drop after birth was awful. I didn’t want to hold her. I didn’t want to be in the same room with her. Even hearing her cry was like nails on a chalkboard to me. Now, I’ve never shied away from telling my story with postpartum depression - and mental health in general - because I’m a large advocate for mental health awareness and support.
My daughter, Emerie, just turned seven last week and I still struggle with this regularly. I have found myself being very short with my daughter. Very impatient. Very…aggravated. And I chalk it all up to my mental health and the way my brain deals with things. However, since I’ve developed a deeper spiritual practice - since I’ve been working with Lady Brighid - I have found that my patience and attitude toward motherhood has changed. I don’t want more kids, that’s for sure, but I have become more grateful for the one I have.
Now, all that aside, I am learning to be grateful for the time we have together. I think it’s a natural response to get short and impatient with those around us, especially if we lead very busy lives and we just have no time - or so we think. But becoming more grateful for my daughter and the things she has to teach me has opened my eyes to things that I’ve been missing all around me.
Solar System Montage via NASA.gov
Just this morning as she was doing some work on learning about the solar system, she blew me away. I had her watch a video on YouTube about the solar system, the planets, etc. and before the video started, there was an ad for MasterClass that was taught by astronaut Chris Hadfield. I’ll include the link below if you want to watch it, but she sat through the entire ad because she is apparently fascinated with space exploration, physics, and astronomy. If I would have never slowed down - if this pandemic hadn’t forced her to be at home with me all the time - this is something I might not have never figured out until way later in life. She’s at an age right now where this exploration, this curiosity, can and should be cultivated.
We spent at least 10 minutes going through NASA’s website and looking at pictures of planets and galaxies. We spent time talking about the differences between solid planets, gas planets, atmospheres, and space travel. She talked about wanting to learn about the Big Bang and how the Earth was formed and how the Universe was formed. Honestly, this part scares me for two reasons. The first one is that the thought of space travel and space, in general, gives me anxiety. The second is that I am not a physicist and I don’t have a strong background in this field so I’ve got to find experts that have resources to teach her about the Big Bang and physics because…I can’t!
The Triangulum Galaxy via NASA.gov
Anyway, it makes me wonder what other things I’ve missed because I’ve been so caught up in myself and the things I have to do to keep the home in order. She’s an only child, too, which makes things hard for her. I had never realized it because, honestly, even though I am the oldest of three siblings, I would much rather spend time alone and be by myself than with other people. So, it is hard for me to see her try to adjust to a lack of social life. She is a social butterfly and that’s something else I’m having to learn how to handle.
So today, I am grateful for the schools being shut down. Without it, I might not have realized the true amazingness of being a parent.