A few days ago, Maple and I took a Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga class with a friend of mine that summers on MDI. We have both paddleboarded before, and we have both done some yoga- but never the 2 together. Maple and I showed up at Ike's Point a little bit before dusk immediately following a practice that I had led in SouthWest Harbor. I was tired and wanted to bail, but Moo made it perfectly clear that that was not an option. She was completely gung-ho for the date, as children so often are when given the chance for some one on one time with a parent.
And so we showed up psyched. Neither of us had much idea of what we were in for, but what could possibly be better than being with each other in a beautiful place with cool- not North Atlantic freezing- lake water to splash around in? Maple was so open and willing and comfortable in her skin and there is just about nothing else that moves me straight into my heart and into my bliss quicker than witnessing her in her full expression. It is my Joy manisfest. So, we jumped in the water and wobbled around in yoga poses on our boards and I wore a shit-eating grin from ear to ear the entire time.
Afterward, we cozied up in a booth at Eat-A-Pita to share a burger and hot chocolate (and a beer- but we didn't share that). She was snuggled up in a fluffy sweatshirt and a pair of my baggy-for-her yoga tights . The whole evening was such a wonder and that night I could barely sleep from the thrill of it all.
The next morning I relayed my experience to my own mother and she reminded me that just 2 years ago when we were here in Maine I had said to her that I really had no relationship with Maple and that she was mostly Chris' kid. And holy shit I remember feeling like that. I have a vivid memory of watching them asleep in the bunkbeds and wanting to leave. Thinking to myself that if it weren't for Eider that maybe I would go. That was only 2 years ago. And yet it feels like such an eternity more. Shortly after that trip I began making choices that so deeply negated my own inner compass and wisdom in ways that would lead to many months of pain, despair, and suffering in my mariage and in the whole of my family.
The details of that time are a much longer story for a much different day. Because I did wake up again. And I worked like hell to dig myself out of the muck that I had descended into. And I fought like crazy to reclaim my truth, my integrity and my joy. It wasn't easy and it wasn't instant, but it was truly the only choice for me. I give thanks with every breath that I found the strengh to make it and that my people stayed with me through it and love me still.
I have received several emails, messages and notes from folks expressing their appreciation of how wonderful my relationship with my daughter is. And it is so true. My relationship with Maple blows my mind on the regular- and it was hard won. It could have gone a much different way for us. I really think that we were both consciously and unconsciously checking out from our family. She, as ever, a mirror to me. As close as I got to surrendering to that- I didn't. I fought. Now I know that surrendering in that way is no option for me. Or for us. That we will each, in this little family constellation of ours, fight like hell to pull eachother and ourselves up out of the darkness and into the Light.