beautiful present

am home from a week with the family.

my main reflection is that family, blood or chosen, is no simple endeavor. my family works hard for the love we bestow on each other…to cultivate it, hone it, give it, receive it. these things are not easy.

except if you are a child, in which case it is the first response.

my nephew is the kind of imaginative, vulnerable, aggressive, insightful human being I want to be. he feels all his feelings, and is not ashamed of his thoughts, feelings, or actions. he is quick to apologize when he is wrong, and move on. he loves to play out the favorite scenes of his life, real, imagined or from a movie, on repeat. because you repeat the good.

my niece is the kind of bold, hilarious, curious and forceful human being I want to be. she watches everything, with curiosity and wonder…what is it? can I eat it? can I deconstruct it? she will do the right, safe thing if it is explained to her and she is given agency to choose. she wants to explode her boundaries. she hasn’t yet learned to lie, so her rejections cannot be taken personally. she is simply, deeply, in touch with the present.

I spent the week creating worlds with these two, including dinosaurs, space, cowgirls, train rides, flying and making new faces. every moment was squeezed empty of its potential for living – crying, pouting, screaming to see what the lungs could do, singing, dancing, laughing, holding and being held.

there are so many ways to profess love. it heals my heart to see how love is everywhere in the words and actions of these babies, who make me see myself anew. love, without ownership, dependence, burden, obligation, jealousy, anger, or competition.

they love me because i show up.

as I ruminate on whether to do any resolutions this year (seems silly to make too many promises before i go on this life changing sabbatical – which I will write about soon), I see their faces.

I only want to love myself as thoroughly, and unabashedly, as they do.