I barely slept last night. My youngest had a horrible stomach ache and squished in with my husband and me. We tossed and turned, as much as three people are able in a creaky double bed, and then all efforts at rest ended when she began throwing up around 7 am. We are on a work-holiday in beautiful Banff but instead of eating at the vegan restaurant I scoped out yesterday and taking my girls to the climbing wall, we are camped out in a smelly hotel room while my husband attends his work conference. Fortunately, we are able to scrounge coffee and snacks from a café housed in the building and we will snuggle and spend time on our devices while my daughter rests and heals. I have a view of the mountains through the sliding glass doors next to the bed where I sit writing. I release the plans I had for this day.
Today is enough.
Yesterday we enjoyed brunch at a local organic café where the sourdough is baked fresh and crispy and afterward we moseyed through an outdoor market, a little too hot in the unexpected sunshine. We bought carrots and beef jerky and chatted with numerous Australians who came for the snowboarding and stayed on with work visas, missing home but not quite ready to return. In the evening, we sat on an outdoor patio till after 9 pm eating thin crust pizza and warming our chilled hands on hot mugs of tea and coffee. We shivered as we walked briskly back to our vehicle; the shift in light and temperature alerting us that winter is coming quickly this year and reminding me that I need new, fuzzy boots so I can wear bare feet as long as possible. It was an easy day.
Yesterday was easily enough.
Next week I will drive my son back to college for his third year. He may never return to live with us again although the porch light will stay on. I miss him – the easy connection of yesteryear; he is doing the work of separating now. But I will help him set up his small abode and focus on what he needs and wants from me in this season. When I leave I will do the work of letting go again; the work I have been preparing for the past two decades though I did not know it. My heart will ache and I will feel worry and pride and wonder at the person that he is and I will release him, again, to walk his path and hope and pray that one day our relationship will transform into genuine friendship.
I will not rush through the day or wish it away; I will simply be present and malleable. That day will be enough.
There was a day, so many years ago now, that we buried our mom and my heart cracked in two. And then another day more than a decade later that my siblings and I stoically suppressed our tears during a funeral while someone sobbed, loudly, behind us. I wanted her to shut up. Then we stood, trembling, as our dad was lowered into the ground, in a little box, that would rest above our mom. He wanted to be with her. The floodgates opened and torrents of grief and pain poured out. I drove through the town where I had grown up and felt that something had shifted in the very atmosphere; it was no longer home. We all went through the motions, chatting with people and nibbling on snacks while really I desired escape to my real home, four and a half hours away. To curl up under the covers and be alone with my loss. That was a dreadful day.
But I would not change it now. It was part of our journey; that day was enough.
I think back to the day when my third child was born and I did not speak up for myself. Strapped to the bed, so uncomfortable; I wanted to be up and moving, squatting, trusting my body to do this amazing work. I did not know how to use my voice yet and I put a rib out giving birth that day. Later I would need to forgive myself for my lack of courage and confidence. But then I saw her – 6 pounds of tiny, wrinkly, with the African nose. She resembled a wizened old lady and the doctor and I both laughed. He said she was beautiful and I think he meant it. I was ready to scoop her up and leave immediately but dutifully spent the night – doctor’s orders – with this little lady tucked under my arm.
Now I look back and realize that although things didn’t go as I’d wished for, in that moment I was enough. That day was gift enough.
In every moment we have a choice: to wish away what is or to receive the gifts of today, eyes and heart wide open. To rush and push and fight to make things happen or to slow and savor and trust the journey. I spent years of pushing and striving; years of fear and living in the place of “not enough”. No more.
This day is a gift. A smelly, unexpected, messy, lovely gift. An opportunity to slow and remember who and what is most important. A day to practice gratitude and compassion and rising above. Although we canceled our dinner reservations, maybe by this evening my 11-year-old will feel well enough to venture out for a bite to eat. Maybe not.
But I have a feeling that in years to come when I look back on this trip to Banff, this is the day I will most clearly remember. The mountains are glorious and the sparkling blue waters delight me every single time. But today I am reminded that this imperfect, slow and simple, mediocre day is enough. I am enough. She is enough.
Freedom and peace live here.