Mother’s Day Tea

Last Thursday, my son woke up early and called to me in his still-morning voice, Daddy, this morning at eight forty-five is Mother’s Day Tea!

It is unusual for him to be excited about something like a Mother’s Day Tea. Special events tend to bring out what shyness he has, and he is not nearly so keen as his older brother on wearing a collared shirt and tie. But sure enough, he had even picked out a special sweater to wear and laid it on his bed.

My wife has been to a lot of these Mother’s Day Tea events over the years as our children have attended the same preschool in turn. Our youngest son is now five and starts kindergarten next year. This year’s Mother’s Day Tea was the last.

Later that same afternoon, I sat with my son on his bed while he showed me some of his new library books and told me about the cookies he had at the tea. He had changed out of his formal shirt and tie and was wearing a dark blue t-shirt emblazoned with pictures of different small whales and the words Nos Amis les dauphins. I love this shirt, and like our preschool and annual Mother’s Day Teas, all of our children have passed through it. One day soon, though, there will be a final wearing as our youngest grows out of it.

We don’t have another child to grow up and go to the next Mother’s Day Tea, or grow into the dolphin shirt. This realization has been arising much more frequently lately, and usually with it the impulse to turn my head to the side and close my eyes, as if turning away from something I would rather not witness.

At first, I was upset with myself for feeling this way. I would take it as an indication that I wasn’t living in the moment. I would scold myself for not being fully present with my children and instead worrying about how we would change as they grew older. Yet as I sat with my son on his bed that afternoon, my deep sadness about this phase of my life changing and receeding was quite real, very much the essence of the moment.

If Zen has begun to teach me anything, it is that the present moment encompasses all of my experience – all of the universe. This includes the desire not be in that moment, or the wish for it to go on forever, despite being fully aware of its impermanence.

I started out my spiritual searching looking for, desperate for, something that would make everything all right. I’ve come to realize, though, that everything isn’t all right – at least not in the way I had hoped.

There was something exquisitely joyful about those moments with my son. And something painfully sad, too. But all of it is my life. The deep intimacy of my life with my children, and the loneliness that comes from knowing we are all of the nature of change. All of it.

Recognizing and being grateful for all of that, that’s what might be all right – and maybe, just maybe, what I have been longing for.

21 thoughts on “Mother’s Day Tea

  1. brenda

    your writings are so elegant and they often reflect my own pondering. I reblogged Mother’s Day Tea as well as shared it on FB. I do hope this is all right.

    Reply
  2. brenda

    Reblogged this on A Meditative Journey with Saldage and commented:
    It is a priceless gift to experience a connection with another when the author’s words mirror private reflections. This is especially so when the composition is elegantly worded. I gift these words to those who visit my blog. May you know peace this day.

    Reply
  3. bluebrightly

    Thank you! “If Zen has begun to teach me anything, it is that the present moment encompasses all of my experience – all of the universe. This includes the desire not be in that moment, or the wish for it to go on forever, despite being fully aware of its impermanence.” And the following paragraphs…so well expressed. Zen is SO hard to write about, and you succeed.

    Reply
    1. bussokuseki Post author

      It’s interesting, I think you are really pointing to something. The parts of my prose where I am simply describing my experience tend to flow relatively smoothly. But it is when I step back and discuss it in the context of Zen, that it really is difficult. It is neither here nor there, so to speak…but difficult.

      Thank you so much for the wonderful compliment.

      Reply
  4. pujakins

    A very special blog and a very special entry. thanks for the delicate delineation of the your interactions and the responses. They remind me of Japanese paintings done with fine brush. So lovely. Warm Wishes, Tasha

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Mother’s Day Tea | pujakins

    1. bussokuseki Post author

      Thank you, CJ. It is really those experiences that I, too, find myself in time and again that are the ones I feel compelled to write about – if only I can get the experience to translate into words. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts today. Be well~

      Reply
    1. bussokuseki Post author

      I suppose it is quite a common reason for heading down any path, isn’t it? Isn’t it what all of us want? Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. Be well~

      Reply
  6. soonie2

    I share in your feelings as just a couple short years ago I sent my youngest off to college. But life goes on and there have been and will continue to be, many more special moments and milestones. I have to say though, that as a retired preschool teacher, I loved doing our Mothers Day teas! That being said, you have so much to look forward to in your journey as a parent! Treasure each and every moment!

    Reply

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