This is it... this is all part of it.
This morning the family got launched; in two vastly different directions. Kidlets packed up with papa for their first Just-Daddy adventure to Wanderlust Vermont, and myself, here, solo in row 3 on a plane from JFK to MEX, with a seat on either side in which to place my crap: travel essentials for mama. Nary a blinking iPad or sticker book or half-spilled juice to be seen. Just my essential oils, Father John Misty, and me. Headed to Mexico City to lead a trip for Journey to refurbish a primary school with a trusted non-profit on the ground and intrepid travelers from all over the globe; strangers who will soon become my traveling companions; my friends.
There's a part of me that was (quite naturally) asking 'why' this week. Why do this, and create so much more work for myself to hire and train a new babysitter to watch my kids, while also sending a team of accomplished oilsmiths to man the Chop Wood Carry Baby experience at Wanderlust instead of overseeing it myself. Why show up for other peoples kids instead of my own? Why have other people do work I could do myself? It would have been easier NOT to do this, to stay in my usual role, it's true. SO very much easier.
But it's the need to practice unclenching my own protective grip on my kids and my rather new-ish maternal identity that is part of it... It's their easing into being fully and completely with their Pops, with no mum to run to in a melodramatic fit... It's my husband stepping in to the POV I normally occupy before trips, considering minutiae like bandaids and bug spray and are there enough diapers for the trip... It's the knowing that I had at hand (and could seek out) very good help for every role I was leaving vacant, allowing people to step into those roles in whatever way they are called to... And maybe, it's giving into the idea that in the end we are all replaceable, that life can and will go on without you. This is all part of it.
At the same time, I'm recognizing that these seemingly crazy solo adventures are all part of me, my former me, a part that has been dormant for several years and needs to be rekindled. Being resilient and stepping into unknowns: I used to thrive on this. This erstwhile wanderer (with a lower case w) is now a full-fledged gypsymum, and I have to believe that exercising this resilience will make me a stronger and more grounded mama, and will demonstrate to my kids that it's the *doing* that matters in this life. Kids don't remember what you say, it's what you do that makes an impression. (Thanks, Jim Henson, for that one) So, even if it's my very absence that makes an impression on them in the next week, this is all part of it. This is it.
This is it. I've loved the finality and the obvious simplicity of that phrase from the moment it called out to me from a giant calligraphy penned by Thich Nhat Hahn, hanging in the tony exposed-brick studio of ABC Carpet and Home in Manhattan many years ago. I adopted the phrase loosely as my catch all response, but it's only in the last year that I've begun to take it more seriously.
This is it is my answer to almost every emotional response I have now... when the cortisol surges in my blood as the frustration of tiny inept humans dawdling about making backwards progress gets to be too much, I try to find the moment before exploding and whisper "this is it." This is my chance to practice. An opportunity to beat back my anger and breathe. This is it. This is parenthood. This is life.
And in the moments where my beloved curly-headed cherub comes plodding in sleepily in the morning and climbs in my bed, whispering "MOM. C'n I 'nuggle you?" Then this is very, very, very much IT. I hold him and every such second like a treasure in my heart, almost in tears considering how in another year this same ritual will be passé. This is it.
I'm sharing all of this about my new mantra, because if it resonates with you, I'd love for you to practice with it as well. I'm honoured to have partnered with a old friend with whom I re-connected on social media (via her online shop Union Jewelry Design out of Victoria, BC) to create a pendant that celebrates the transitive nature of reality, that proclaims that this life is our one and only shot. She is a woman who is resilient, brave and has overcome much to become a brilliant mama to her son, and she made these pendants by hand, each a meditative process of their own. She inspires me.
I'm donating half the profits from each sale of these pendants to Ushwara, whose proceeds go toward building homes, renovating schools, to assisting refugees, to helping the environment. Because if you're going to be given the gift of life on this planet, giving a gift back is what it's all about. This is it.
Check out both versions of the 'This Is It' Pendant here: