Today, I was hurrying Michael (my 3 year old) into his car seat as William (my 18 month old) was sleepy and they were both hungry. I wanted to get them home right away, fed, and to naptime, before one of them imploded (or me).
I put them in the car, buckled in William, told Michael to do the same, and then I got in the front seat, buckled in, started the car, arranged all the items and bags, when Michael asked for “hep”. I got out and groaned – “jeez, Michael, let's go...”. “Focus”, and I pointed to my eyes, “focus Michael!”
Just then he looked up at me, the reflection in his eyes so innocent and with such a clarity that struck my soul and put everything around me in slow motion....then, without any strife or reaction to my actions, he tried to put his little fingers into a sign. He looked at them for a second, and knitted his toddler brow as if to say – "please help me express myself." Once he had his fingers they way he wanted he looked back into my brown eyes with his big, clear, innocent, brown eyes and signed, “I love you."
The whole word melted like snow – and all my superficial concerns with it. I just stared at my son’s tiny hand, signing “I love you”, and I was amazed and humbled. How could a three year old, my three year old son, have such wisdom and a peace that passes all understanding – in the midst of a stressful moment for him, especially when all he knows in this world, his own mother, was being impatient and short with him?
After that, he signed “ I love you” again, and I also signed and carefully matched my fingers up to his sign. He loves that – and that got a big smile from him and a kiss and a hug – his biggest "signature" Michael smile - and said “yes, kisses and hugs for mommy." I received 7 kisses.
My world was perfect as I got back into the front seat and backed out of the parking lot to take them home for their lunch and nap.
All of that transpired in mere minutes, and his loving action took no longer than my rough, impatient action. Mere minutes, we should remind ourselves, make all the difference in the world.
Of all the BIG lessons in the world we can learn or be reminded of, unconditional love may just be the most important.
Today, I was reminded by my 3 year old, in a 5 second lesson that will span eternity, of how to love unconditionally.
There are a few Truths in life, and one of them is this, Mother Teresa said, "If you want world peace, go home and love your family." If I am at all a success, in terms of eternal and not worldly value, in my dharma as a teacher of yoga, it is because of my children. Yes, my children are my greatest yoga teachers. As parents, our children teach us perhaps more than we teach them.
*photos are of Michael doing his own practice