We can always choose to perceive things differently. We can focus on what’s wrong in our life, or we can focus on what’s right. – Marianne Williamson
Earlier I wrote about how change is inevitable, and how we need to let go of how things used to be. But what can we do to enjoy the now?
Being able to take care of my daughter is one of the greatest joys in my life. From the moment she came into this world I have loved being her mommy. I feel a connection with her that is so great, and so real it is almost impossible to explain.
I felt pretty confident in my ability to take care of her soon after she was born, and for that I am grateful. As most moms do, I studied her. I learned what she liked and didn’t like. I noticed what position she felt most comfortable in when I held her. Whether she liked rocking, or bouncing. Singing or talking.
I’ve heard moms connect with their babies instantly because they’ve been carrying them around forever. And for dads it’s not as easy. So I tried my best to give my husband advice.
“Support her head!” “Why don’t you try rocking her?” “Play her this song, but not so loud!”
I remember one time I was trying to get ready and asked him to pick out her outfit for the day. I must have walked back and forth from her room to the bathroom five times. At least. Telling him where her onesies were, her socks. Showing him where the sweaters were, etc etc. Well the last time I walked in I noticed he was putting on her clothes from bottom up because he didn’t want her to cry when he pulled the clothes over her head. I started laughing and immediately corrected him. He stopped what he was doing, looked at me and said, “You need to let me do this my way.” I was speechless, because I knew he was right.
I needed him to dress her so I had to stop telling him what to do, especially since I still wasn’t ready yet myself. I had spent most of my getting ready time going back and forth trying to help him. But I realized in that moment that I wasn’t trying to help, I was trying to control. I knew what worked best for me and was trying to make my husband do that, even if it wasn’t what was best for him.
A few days later I was going to take a shower and my husband was with my daughter in the rocking chair. She was crying so I decided I would go in there and help him. I walked to the door and saw he was holding her more upright than I usually do. I instantly thought she didn’t look comfortable and if he just cradled her a little bit more in his arms she would calm down. I was about to say something when I caught myself.
Why did I immediately see a ‘flaw’ instead of seeing that moment for what it really was? A new dad, holding and comforting his daughter. It didn’t have to be about how he was doing. He was trying, because he loves her just as much as I do.
So I stopped myself from saying anything and I’m so glad I did. They looked so sweet together in her nursery; I’ll never forget it. If I had interrupted to ‘help’ him, I would have missed that sweetness completely. The reason I felt so connected to my daughter is because I had figured her out by trial and error. If I kept telling him what to do and how to do it I would have been robbing him of making his own connection with her. That instantly helped me see how crucial it is to let go of my own perceptions in order to be fully present in my life.
In life there will always be things we want to control, whether we see it as control or not. It could be as deep as wanting to control the way a loved one treats us, as simple as wanting to decide where your family goes to dinner or in my case, the way my daughter was comforted. When we become preoccupied and fixated on things we can’t control, we miss fully embracing and experiencing what is really, truly happening in our lives.
When we spend time thinking of how someone is a “bad” friend, we miss out on appreciating all the people in our lives who are good friends.
When we obsess over where we go to eat, or what we make for dinner with family, we miss being grateful for even having our family with us to eat dinner with.
We need to let go of the controlling thoughts that keep us from seeing all the wonderful things happening in our lives right now.
**The quote above is from Marianne Williamson’s ‘Return to Love’ – I highly recommend it if you are looking for inspiration to lead a more loving life**