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My Parenting Journey

Here's a quote from the Buddha: “As a mother would risk her life to protect her child, her only child, even so should one cultivate a limitless heart with regard to all beings.”

This is a lovely sentiment. And the world would be a lovely place if we all lived by these wise words. The Buddha believed that motherhood was an exalted position in the order of life. How could he not? Without mothers, where would we be? We wouldn't.

Mothers must nurture and care for their young, or the species would cease to exist. We love to observe the care that other species give their young, whether guided by instinct or training. As humans, how do we learn to do this well, if instinct is not enough of a guide?

The Buddha exalts motherhood but apparently does not see it as in need of guidance. Mothers are to be the example to guide the rest of humanity.

But that can be a tricky business when we aren't having our best day as mothers. Who were our teachers to show us the way? And our mothers or other family members may not always have been the best example to guide us on that journey.

I came to the task of mothering -- as so many young girls have -- when a sibling was born and then handed to me to care for. One of my sisters was in college and the other would be leaving home soon for college as well. I was thirteen when my brother was born and I had to step up to the plate.

My mother was already ill with an undiagnosed ailment. Cancer would ultimately take her life a few months after my seventeenth birthday. Because of my mother's illness and death, my high school years and my first year of college were very different than those of my friends. Unlike my peers, I had to consider a young child’s needs before my own.

This can be excellent training for any self-absorbed teenager, but as I watched my friends enjoy a far more carefree existence, I wondered if I'd been handed a raw deal by life.

Thus, having a baby on my hip started early for me. Sleepless nights became a constant factor the summer after my brother was born. My sisters were both home to help, and we took turns getting up at night to feed the baby. But even on the nights it wasn't my turn, I'd wake to my brother's cry, gather my blankets and begin rocking them before I'd realize I could sleep after all.

My teenage life revolved around diaper changes and feeding times. And only when there was a free moment, I could be with my friends. It felt like a strenuous introduction to child rearing. I’ve since understood that the first months of motherhood are strenuous for all mothers!

We were taught in our home to be loving and gentle and adore the baby. This was good training.  I did enjoy caring for him. I began to believe that life really was not meaningful unless you had someone else to care for. This is a theme that has reverberated throughout my life.

I've come to believe that the child who initially was a burden for me was actually a great blessing. He helped me learn how to be a giving, caring person before I was mature enough to know how important this attribute can be.

The moment I met the man I was going to marry, the first thought that came to me was that he would be the father of my sons. And he was. By twenty four, I'd had my first son, Zack. By twenty nine, Todd was born. By thirty, I was a single mom.

As we negotiated the divorce, my husband offered to take the boys. I refused. My children gave meaning to my life. They kept me going. I had to feed them, care for them, house them, and nurture them. My parents had died by then, so the job was mine without support from anyone else. I was on my own. And I did it all.

After a few years of single parenting, I remarried. My second husband was a wonderful support. He was my step-brother whom I had known since my dad remarried when I was eighteen. He is a good man and a good dad. We married when Todd was four and Zack was eight. We also eventually chose to foster-parent a son and an infant daughter.

Parenting was in my blood. I had a full life outside of parenting, however. In addition to my work career, I began my journey to awakening around the age of thirty. I felt compelled to find out what else there was to life. I thought this could help me be a better mother to my sons.

I do believe that the knowledge I've learned over the years “on the path” has helped me be a better person and therefore a better mother. But the information came from inference. The teachings I received did not give any direct guidance as to how to be a mother. This subject was never addressed. Never.

I didn't even think to ask. It was just assumed that what I was learning was for me alone, not for me and my children.

After my second marriage ended, and my children had moved away from home, I had a period without children in my life. After some time of mourning over the loss of my marriage, family home, and children, I remarried.

Thus began a fruitful period for me that took me in a whole new direction. My third husband, Martin, and I were growing into awakened awareness in the Light. Our body of work, including the many books we wrote together with the help of the Beings of Light fulfilled many of our creative desires. But still, we yearned to have a child of our own. Would I be a different mother now that I'd learned so much about the Light? Martin, eleven years my junior, had never had a child of his own.

For years, we tried. After several miscarriages, we received guidance from the Light to pursue adoption. The information that there was a child waiting for us in Ukraine came to us during a channeling session. And so, our adoption journey began.

Over a year later, after countless hours of paperwork and extended trips to Ukraine, we adopted two siblings from an orphanage. Anya had just turned six and Evan had just turned seven when we brought them home with us.

Thus began a whole new adventure in parenting that helped me to understand that all my training in metaphysics and Buddhism had ill-prepared me for the demands of two very special children. All my years of parenting experience were not enough – neither was Martin’s training as a child psychologist. These children were going to be a far greater test than I'd ever faced before.

Where was the information that would guide me through this journey? The Beings of Light were telling us that choosing to adopt these children was a major part of our awakening process from this point on. After nine years of parenting our “little darlings,” Martin and I know this to be true! It is an ongoing process and the guidance how to do this has had to come from within.

That is the foundation of what we will share with you here. The Buddha may have been part of the inspiration. But we've had to figure out how to apply what we've known at a level we never knew would be needed on our journey. It's been a humbling experience. And on those days when we've worked in concert with the Light, sometimes a miraculous or gratifying experience.

Our children are 44, 40, 16, and 15 now. The journey continues.


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