I have two daughters, age 17 and age 3.


 
I am driving to pick my daughter up. As I make my way through the streets of Niagara Falls 
I practice my favorite informal meditation. It’s simple – as I drive I send lovebeams and positive thoughts out to people I pass on the street. So I’m driving along thinking about what an enlightened person I seem to be today spreading love all around the city. I start to think I’ve got it all figured out. I even begin to write a Facebook update in my head so I can share my amazing lovebeams-while-driving idea with all my friends. Surely they will like and comment away on my status, reinforcing my awesomeness. I pull up to my daughter’s friend’s house, get out my phone, and see a text from her asking me to pick her up an hour and a half later.
 
Suddenly I am fuming.
 
All my enlightened love beam shit has flown out the window in less than a second.
 
I respond, “I’m here right now. And I might kill you.”
 
She replies, “I didn’t ask you to pick me up.”
 
I read back over my text messages where she most certainly seemed to ask me to pick her up. I screen shot our messages and I’m about to send them to her along with a text emphasizing what a jerk she is. Then I decide no, I will post the messages on Facebook where surely all of my friends will side with me and affirm her rudeness. Yes. And I will tag her, of course.
 
Somehow I remember to take a deep breath.   
 
The breath creates a pause.
 
In the pause I remember Miss She-Who-Beams-Love-To-Strangers. You know, the person I thought I was two minutes ago. I send a text to my daughter that we had a miscommunication and I will see her later. I start driving home and resume beaming love. I even beam some to my daughter. 


She is screaming and it is like nothing I have ever heard before.

 
My three year-old who uses proper adverbs has suddenly become nonverbal. She is shrieking, crying, and thrashing about wildly and I have no idea how to help her. Why is this happening? How is the happening? This is not my first time parenting a toddler and yet I feel lost. Everything I try to do to help only seems to make it worse. My heart tells me to move toward her and she only screams louder. I want to hold her while she cries and she runs away from my embrace. Words are so calming to me, yet the more I talk the worse the situation becomes. Finally after doing all the wrong things, I am able to discern what she needs. She wants me to stay nearby, but not too close. She needs me to be quiet. She does not want to be touched or soothed, only witnessed as she works through whatever is happening in her tiny body. She wants me to hold space for her without trying to fix the situation and even though it goes against my very nature, she teaches me that I am capable of doing just that.


 
My children are my greatest spiritual teachers.
 
Through my relationship with them I become aware of unfinished business within myself.
They illuminate where I am stuck. 

They challenge all the fantasies I have about who I think I am.
They keep me humble.
They invite me to love unconditionally.
They show me how to forgive.
They remind me to forget everything I think I know.
They challenge me to meet them where they are, as they are and without expectations.
Through them I learn to surrender my resistance to life as it is. 

As I raise them, I raise myself.

May I remember these truths and may I be grateful for the journey.