(this was our "no kids" look)
Erik and I returned this week from the trip of a lifetime in Paso Robles, California. We were childless thanks to the amazing support of our family. We went for one of my Best Friend's wedding so we were also with all of my other best friends as well.
This trip was wrought with anticipation and anxiety (from me only, not Erik). Having not ever having left our children for this long before and flying across the country made me feel nervous to be separated from them. I was also worried about what would happen if Erik and I both died (we are so rarely together alone that this doesn't come up much). Anyway, I am a bit type A and a planner so in my head I had to have all of this worked out.
The trip was AMAZING, perfect company, perfect location, perfect events, just wonderful- oh and we didn't die!!. I truly enjoyed myself and had FUN. I tend to be a content and peaceful person, but all-out happiness and fun is something that tends to feel elusive to me (I am working on it;) Being a parent is rewarding, enlightening, and occasionally enjoyable, but there is always the undercurrent of anxiety about the heaviness of raising humans that zaps the fun and happiness out of my day to day life. To have a chance to let loose and know that my children were well taken care of and not my responsibility for 5 days was just such a release.
I am not a drinker, it often ends badly for me so I have just abstained for most of my adult life for fear of regret. On this trip I drank wine (and lots of it- I mean we were in California- it is a rule!). Not enough to feel miserable, but enough for me to RELAX, actually the fact that I drank wine is because I relaxed, (relaxing is not something I am normally very good at). I enjoyed peoples company, I laughed until I peed (thanks 3 kids;). In essence, I felt care free. Not drinking, for me, has been about fear of losing control I guess. So I actually feel that it is part of my evolution as a relaxed person to have some drinks here and there!!
As we returned home and back to our "real lives", I am struck by how hard I make everything at home. I don't have to be so serious. I can relax at home. I don't have to make myself busy. I don't have to live from my fears. I will admit, I am keeping track of ebola, but really there are a bazillion other things to be scared of as well- your brain with the aid of the news, just decides which thing it will focus in on today. All you have to do is look back in time and realize- now it is global warming, but in the 80's it was acid rain. Now it is Ebola, but 3 years ago it was H1N1. Now it is the fear of pesticides in our food, but in the 20's it was not having enough food. Now it is ISIS but in the 80s it was Russia. Fears are replaceable, it is my mind that chooses to latch on to a particular fear and clutch to it with all it's might with the thought that somehow being fearful can allow me to maintain some control over my circumstances. Fear is NOT true!!! And guess what? Control is an illusion!!
I have a crazy statement to make- I AM GOING TO DIE!! Hopefully, not today, but one day it will happen. It is unlikely that I will look back when I am on my death bed and think- "gosh, it is so awesome that I was so careful and fearful about so much stuff and never let anything bad happen to myself". No, my life review will be highlighting the moments that I looked into Erik's eyes for support during my labor with Anna, the times my daughter snuggled up in my arms, the time that Ryan told me I was beautiful, when Reid gave me that rare spontaneous hug. Like Dori in Finding Nemo expressed "Well, you can't never let anything happen to him, then nothing would ever happen to him." The same could be said about ourselves and how we parent our children. I hope I don't have any regrets, but I can assure you any regrets I have will be for the things I missed out on because of fear.
I believe we are placed on this earth to let our light shine. We need to notice our fears as they arise but then also let them know that we are not going to cater to them. We need to see our fears for what they are- a reflection of the fear of the child we used to be. We need to give ourselves a hug and say all is well. Tell your fear- "I got this". Fear is not adding value to our life. We have a limited number of days on this earth, what a gift to ourselves (and really the entire world) to live each one in a state of openness and peace:) What a gift to be present in your everyday life instead of waiting to find happiness when...
I pray for the strength and courage to live without fear, and that by doing this, my children can learn this lesson too. And so it is. Now we can all go sing Kumbaya:)