Sovereignty. Reality. Embodiment. Selfitude. Within Love. Kindness. Lovingkindness. Extension.
Shabbat is the day that correlates with Malchut. The day in which the Creator got to sit back and just appreciate the goodness of the new Reality - the fulfillment of the great act of Chesed.
I had a wonderful realization last night of a new Reality of my own, as I entered my nightly prayerspace of gratitude to The One who gave me a whole day to live. The story (there’s always a story): My wife, whose parenting skill I esteem, paid me a touching compliment on they way I handled our sleepy bedtime daughter in a situation that could have ended up going very badly. As the clock struck 9:30 (lights out time), my little sleepy one melted out of our cuddle and into her room and her own bed without protest. The cuddle had been preceded by a difficult hair brushing involving a nascent dreadlock, so things were tender.
The back story (usually one of those, too): Although I seem to have been dealt a generous helping of maternal instinct in some ways - including a preponderance of people many years my senior towards whom I feel quite motherly at times - I am not one of those people that “always wanted kids.” I’ve always been grateful that there are people who are drawn to work with kids, because that is a real need in this world, and I’m just not one of them. It was not until I was solidly in my adult life that I started to think that parenting might be something I’d like to try someday.
One of the results of this absence of a particular affinity for children has been a considerable amount of insecurity about my skill as a parent. This can get especially gnarly when I fall into the trap of comparing myself to my wife, who is a highly skilled child professional, and who always wanted children. This really hit a peak for me a few weeks ago when my early-stage adolescent daughter had an epic meltdown, which led to my own epic meltdown.
My wife was there to catch me. She gave me an important affirmation that day, which caused just the shift in me that now leads me back to last night’s realization. In that safe space of Love and Kindess with my wife began a process of me finding a new Reality of parenting - a new Selfitude.
As I prayed last night, “Thank you for giving me this child to parent...” it hit me that I have begun actively parenting my child in these last weeks. I saw an image of myself being bandied about in my previous version of ParentDiana. While it would be inaccurate to say I’ve felt bandied about 100% of the time over the last nearly 12 years, it is clearly an overarching experience of myself in this role. I’ve been a parent, and have therefore had to parent, often questioning myself. Since that conversation with my wife, I find myself parenting purposefully, and with a new confidence. A friend of mine said to me recently in another context, “Assume competence!" That is just what I've been doing here. I am so grateful for this new Reality, born out of a womb of Chesed.
I invite you to recall and explore experiences you may have had of entering new Realities of yourself, new levels of Selfitude. On this Shabbat of Malchut SheBeChesed, I invite you to sit back, relax, and feel your fully Actualized self, embraced by an Eternal Love.