I had driven with him on a maiden voyage in the car one day last week during vacation to see if I could make it back and forth to the schools if need be. My right foot/ankle is not as strong as it used to be and I fatigue easily. Also if there is a lot going on around me (motion/noise) my "circuits" become overloaded and it is hard for me to focus or make decisions...my reaction time and coordination are affected and I fatigue even more rapidly...so you can imagine why driving has been an off limits activity for the past months. Not an official decree from my doctor, but a personal choice for the safety of my fellow humans as well as myself. Gordon agreed that I could handle this short 5 minute ride to the school and 5 minutes back if the girls waited at the front door of their schools and I didn't have to walk in...that would be too much. So Mom to the rescue.
Me being a rebellious artist type... I took my camera in the car, just in case. Belin got into the car, kind of dazed from pain. I noticed a lovely arbor of trees right next to the parking lot.
"Belinny, I know you are hurting...is it ok if I snap a photo of those trees. I'm driving. I'm free. Please?"
"Um, sure Mom".
"Thanks sweetie. This is my freedom ride!...Do you mind if we take the dirt road home? It's so pretty back there."
Somewhat spacey from pain reply: "Yeah, whatever".
(Ok, maybe I was being a bit selfish, but it would only add a couple of extra minutes and maybe the beauty would lift her spirits and make her feel better too...)
(Bingo) "Mom pull over...look at the light on the snow on that branch!...Give me the camera!" So I did. And here's her shot:
'cause we also saw this...
and then returning up our driveway
back home again
Belin: freedom to make mistakes and live with the consequences and eventually learn from them.
Me: freedom from the anxiety born of wanting to prevent her from making those (have to acknowledge this) valuable mistakes.
Deeper compassion can grow from this kind of realization. I'm not talking about complete eradication of anxious thoughts or the desire to make everything right for my girls. Thoughts and desires will show up; as long as I live, I'll be a mother and these concerns about my daughters will definitely arise. Not surprisingly, I had a conversation about this with my Mom this morning. The freedom-ride I'm talking about here is one in which I choose not to hop aboard a particular train of thought: the "what if express" bound for...feeling more BOUND. When I choose to watch the anxiety rolling on by instead, I am free to compassionately glide back to the present on my own breath. This morning my chesed mantra practice was a gentle catalyst that allowed me to calmly and courageously get in the car, pick up this occasionally frustrating but always precious daughter of mine, playfully re-discover the snowy landscape outside our Gnome Mound together and enjoy this brief and slightly winding freedom-ride home with her, where she could cuddle up in bed and rest her achy shoulder and I could continue to take photos of the shifting shadows and light on the snow through the windows of our home.