She was holding her 10 month old, trying to settle her down. She was feeding this little girl but the girl would not be soothed. The mother was sitting on the bleachers watching her 6 year old play baseball.
Finally after trying a bottle, the mother got up and began to walk the child. She went behind the bleachers, humming and trying to calm the child. Then she walked back to cheer her son on.
Back and forth she want, between addressing the demands of one child and cheering for her other. There was simply not enough of her to go around—to be in 2 places at once. She couldn’t give to each everything they wanted or even what she wanted to give to them.
Being a parent is living in the constant tension between what she would to give and what she can actually give.
This tension is then inherited by children. Most children never get all the attention that they long for. And at a very early age they begin to live with the anxiety that there might not be enough to go around. There is not enough mother to fill the child with all her or his desires or needs.
And is it possible that children then internalize that “not-enoghness” and think the reason they don’t get all they want is because they are not enough?
How do we break that pattern? Is it possible for parents to feel they are “good enough” when they know that their efforts are never perfect, never achieve what they want to achieve?
I guess at some point, the breaking of this pattern will require our overcoming our fears of the empty space that comes when do don’t have all that we want or desire. When our anxiety about not having or being enough drives us, we simply pass on our tension. But, when we break that pattern, when we accept the limits of our own humanity we can pass on to others that they are indeed enough. What a gift to give to another person.