On Saturday's recently, while my wife practices yoga, I take Lucy (5 years old) to Dance Class at Mark Morris Dance Group. When the weather is nice enough, it is a healthy walk of about 30 minutes. For a lot of the winter it is a short but about the same time train ride with transfers and lots of steps.
It's at the time of day for peak energy release for Lucy. It became clear that, while she never got too far away from me, the speed of her orbit meant collision with something was coming. Whether steel pole, ice cold dirty city puddle, subway seat... a bonk was coming.
She was instructed to stay dry for dance class, didn't happen. She was instructed to be aware of the people (hungover on Saturday morning and easily annoyed) around her, bumped into or stepped right in front of most of them. After she splashed me, again, I pulled her away from the subway tracks (yes underground puddles are gross) to have a quick chat.
Somewhere in the middle of the chat I stopped myself. I was trying to control the whirling, spinning, energetic being. I was trying to keep her from annoying people, instead of letting her learn her lesson herself. I was trying to keep her from the bonk that would teach her.
The yoga of parenthood is a similar struggle to asana practice. A balance between effort and allowing. Keeping cool when things don't feel so cool. Letting things unfold over time instead of forcing some perceived perfection.
My biggest struggle and goal in parenthood, is allowing my child to grow up without too much undo influence from me. I want her to be her, even if it is uncomfortable for me. I fail at this constantly and have to keep stopping and correcting myself.
Basic safety, like hold hands when crossing the street, is important. Parameters like share food and toys with friends, and be nice and helpful when you can, paramount. After that, if Lucy wants to walk on slippery ice mounds and fall into slush puddles, the cold wet clothes are a better teacher an me saying be careful. The huge bruise on her forehead, because she didn't see the pole directly in front of her, reminds her to look up when she is walking.
I still have to catch myself, with the "be careful"s, but I do, for the most part, catch it and start over. I want Lucy to experience the best part of life, the ever changing experience of a moment as it is, figure it out as it arises.
She is currently the soul mate electron to my proton. She whirls and bashes, and by definition, she's electric. I move slowly, she is buzz and hum.