This is Tuesday, so I am joining in the Thankful Tuesday party over at Micha Boyett’s blog, Mama: Monk . This week I am thankful for empty spaces. Empty spaces that leave room to breathe, room to let beauty appear, room to notice the otherness and is-ness of the person you meet on the street, in your house, at your table, in your arms. If I forget to empty myself, I leave no room for my life to be filled with grace, for it to be graceful. Instead, in the filled-upness of our rushed and rushing lives I erupt into frustrated anger.
Without the emptiness, I cannot leave room for Jessie to be Jessie, to come to her own conclusions or comeuppances. Without the emptiness (the calm emptiness that comes from letting go, not the deflated emptiness that comes from giving up) I cannot breath into mothering, but instead rush in with a whoop or an extended sigh that indicate my discontent with the way things are. And what is mothering, especially during the transition years, but a letting go? A pushing out, a release, the cool echoing air of emptiness. It takes some getting used to, even if you have trained for and imagined this as the pinnacle of your good mothering—this letting go, this independence. I do not do it well.
But with Jessie, empty spaces—breathing, counting, calming, patience—are required to create room for her to bloom. So I am thankful for the people and the places and the practices that create a certain emptiness in me, that allow me to be more present to the unfolding of the lives around me. And thankful to Jessie for being persistent enough in her Jessie-ness, in what she would call her own true self, for being unwilling to give in or up, so that I have had no choice but to back off and nurture this emptiness each day . . . so there is room for grace and gift and otherness.