Leave it to Dr. Seuss. He has delivered many important messages for much of my life. Last week, with his help, I discovered what mindfulness truly is.
For all of you who have children, you know that one day they will, if all goes well, graduate from high school and move on with their life. College, work or something different, but one way or the other life will change from the day-to-day routine of the last 12 years.
My mind knows I am proud and excited and ready for my son who has made it to this point. It was not easy. My head was telling me that I am ready for him to fly from the nest. My heart was streaming a different story. The memories float up of that tiny baby in my arms, the first day of kindergarten, and many other milestone memories along the way. I try to balance out all that sappy mother stuff by listing the annoying things he does that I will not miss. But the waves of sadness were coming more and more frequently as the day for his send off got closer. His college is a day’s drive away. It’s a big change.
Last week as we collected the things on his list I would make bad jokes asking if he wanted the Thomas the Tank Engine rug for his dorm or a Bob the Builder lava lamp. I asked if he would be bringing his favorite stuffed animal with him. It was my way of using humor to stay afloat. As we walked into Bed, Bath and Beyond to get the last few items I made another pitch. Maybe a Big Bird toothbrush? He informed me he was no longer going to even respond to my suggestions.
We went separate ways and after ten minutes he was nowhere to be found. Not in the bath caddy section. (They did not even have batch caddys when I went to college!) Not in the clip-on lamp section or among the assorted XL Twin sheet sets. Hmmm. Then I spotted him.
It was a circular display that said Disney Classics at the top. There he stood reading a children’s book. I caught my breath. I could see it was a Dr. Seuss book. Not one I knew, but it seemed appropriate. Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? I got the message.
This media addicted, bright boy-man is ready. He knows when to stop, and pause and loves a good book. I had something to do with that. My blue waves turned, like a sunrise, into a beautiful pink delight as my excitement bloomed for what is ahead for him. He is on the brink of his own wonderful life.
I got the message about how lucky I have been to be his mother. I realized how lucky I have been to have had wise teachers arrive to show me the ways of mindfulness. I realized how lucky I am to feel and be with the sadness, and the fear and guilt for even being sad. I realized how lucky I am to have learned to ride those blue waves until they deliver me to the place of being able to stop and pause and watch my son flip through that book.
In the past, I would have admonished him and rushed to get the remaining things on our list.
Before I knew mindfulness I would have missed that moment where the tide could turn.
I would have forfeited that beautiful moment.
I am so very lucky.
“When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad…
you should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you’re really quite lucky!
Some people are much more…
oh, ever so much more…
oh, muchly much-much more
unlucky than you!”