half the parent, half the child

May 7th, 2015

Beautiful branch buds in spring HD wallpapers 1440x1280 (01)I had a bad morning the other day. Something unexpected happened, and in the span of five minutes, my future unraveled, my schemes died, and the only way forward seemed straight off a cliff. In other words, I had to change my plans. On the drive to school, I told my daughter what was going on and how it could affect her. I said this while I was driving in circles, making wrong turns and getting lost. She was quiet and let me be. At midday I got a text from her.

What are you going to do?

I don’t know, I replied.

Just do what you need to do. I will support you.

This is where I might congratulate myself for raising such a wise and compassionate child, with the emotional intelligence and resilience instilled by conscious parenting, who returns the unconditional love and acceptance I’ve given her.

Only she isn’t, because I don’t.

She doesn’t speak to me as I have spoken to her; she speaks to me as she wishes I would speak to her. She doesn’t mirror who I am, she shows me a person I can become. And if I am the slightest bit charitable in my recollections, I must concede that she has been doing this all along with clear-eyed consolations.

It’s not always going to be easy.

I am thankful for my life.

Everyone makes mistakes.

I never get mad when you don’t do your best.

It takes more practice.

Everything happens when you don’t expect it.

By fair assessment, I am only half the parent she is, and she is only half the child I perceive her to be. I can’t parcel the roles out one way or the other. I only know that in the midst of a dark and lonely trial, my pain is shattered by an innocent utterance, and life is born anew.

The life of a mother is the life of a child: you are two blossoms on a single branch. One more thing someone said to me once.

To my dear mother and all mothers before, to my daughter and all daughters to come, I leave this promise and conviction: Your babies will be okay. Together we find the way.


Just in time, there are copies of Momma Zen on giveaway here.


  1. Together we find the way. Yes.

    Comment by Susan — May 7, 2015 @ 6:59 am

  2. Wonderful post, but I can’t help but be concerned about you. I know you and your family will handle it, one step at a time. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Sharon Bennett — May 7, 2015 @ 7:00 am

  3. Thank you Maezen for this beautiful piece. No one tells us that, in giving birth, we’re bringing forth our greatest teacher(s).

    deep gassho to your motherhood.

    Comment by Mary Sherman — May 7, 2015 @ 7:22 am

  4. What a lovely tribute to your child. I must say, though, I don’t think great kids come out of vacuum cleaners. I’m pretty sure you had something to do with it. That said, I firmly believe that raising children is a crap shoot. In your case, and mine, all is well. I hope the bad stuff will be well also. Thinking of you.

    Comment by Gretchen Staebler — May 7, 2015 @ 7:42 am

  5. All I need to know about vacuums: dog hair in, dog hair out. Beyond that, a marvel, a mystery.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — May 7, 2015 @ 7:45 am

  6. You have been so kind to me. How could I not be concerned about whatever is going on with you? You are in my thoughts. It is so good that, whatever the “cause,” you have each other, child and parent, interwoven.

    As to the dog hair: I hope the dog was not still attached. In that particular case, attachments are really bad.

    Comment by Donn King — May 7, 2015 @ 7:54 am

  7. Right now, Donn, nothing is going on with me. But I can’t promise you I won’t conjure up something or the other. In gassho.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — May 7, 2015 @ 7:57 am

  8. I had a similar experience with my daughter when I told her I wanted to leave her father. Her unconditional love and strength got me through a really bad time. Truly, children and animals are our best zen masters …..Namaste, Maezen.

    Comment by Sharle Kinnear — May 7, 2015 @ 8:16 am

  9. As a fellow momma who happens to be going through a dark and lonely trial right now, thank you. I’ve been very concerned about my children as I fall apart. But this has calmed me.

    Comment by Kimberly Kennedy — May 7, 2015 @ 8:17 am

  10. Nothing, really, is going on with any of us except we are here and doing our best. That is enough even though we often spend an awful lot of time convincing ourselves it is not. What kind of weird ass hobby is that? Children can see that so clearly. The road gets rocky, then the road gets smooth again. All the same, we walk together.

    Comment by Connie Assadi — May 7, 2015 @ 9:27 am

  11. My brilliant Connie.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — May 7, 2015 @ 9:28 am

  12. You gave her a ride and she gave you a lift. Simply beautiful.

    Comment by Jane — May 7, 2015 @ 12:54 pm

  13. As parents, we are really gardeners. We prepare the soil, loving plant seeds; weed, water, and nurture. But we don’t make it grow. It does that all by itself.

    Comment by Debra — May 7, 2015 @ 5:04 pm

  14. I often find myself wondering how my son became the mother I wish I was. Thank you for this. It gives voice to the lesson I am learning every day–my baby will be ok. Sending love.

    Comment by Meg — May 8, 2015 @ 2:40 am

  15. Thought of you and your post this morning on the mat at a Yin class dedicated to mothers and self nurturance. Not a mother, though with an opened heart, my love flowed to you. Wishing you well. With metta…

    Comment by Katharine — May 8, 2015 @ 10:46 am

  16. I am also in the middle of “changed plans”. It is weird and strange and yet, it is so simple. The only choice I have is to accept it and move forward. I am thinking of you, Maezen and hoping your wisdom and clarity serves to guide you well.

    Comment by Clare — May 9, 2015 @ 6:01 pm

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