So, I started this blog telling you that I had no specific theme in mind. It’s not a fitness blog, or a mommy blog, or maybe even an insightful blog! It is simply a way for me to practice my writing skills. I am writing only about the things that pop in my mind. So, enjoy the ride!
Yesterday, my oldest son turned 7. This is a weird age for me. Up to this point, he still had some “baby” characteristics. While turning six made me realize he was a boy now instead of a baby, he was still in Kindergarten, which, in my mind, is still in the “preschool genre.” No more. He is now 7, in the first grade, and huge.
Like any parent, I am immensely proud of him. He is amazing. He’s funny, smart, silly, handsome, kind. He also is emotional, passionate, high maintenance, and ornery. This little boy can push my buttons like no one else on this earth. The problem is he is JUST like me. We have the exact same personality. I see so much of myself when I was his age. I know why he acts the way he does. I know what he’s feeling. I, unfortunately, don’t respond to him the way I should.
Every day I drop him off a school, help him put on his backpack, give him a kiss, tell him I love him, and watch him run his little heart out all they way to front door. Every time I watch this, I smile the biggest smile possible, and feel my heart swell. I love him so much. He makes me so happy. Then, I pick him up. He runs through the same doors, makes eye contact with me, and we both light up! Then… he talks. A lot of times it is happy, explain the day type conversation. Other times, it’s the instant whining, I want this now type conversation. Unfortunately, with him I don’t always have the best patience where he is concerned. I try to remind myself that we all have bad days. He’s entitled to be in a bad mood. He’s allowed to be cranky after a long day sometimes. But I forget that. A lot.
I thought a lot yesterday about the day he was born. I always do that on the kid’s birthdays. His labor and delivery was awful. I honestly still haven’t gotten over it. I’m not sure I ever will. Seriously. It was awful. However, I had a beautiful product of that horridness. I remember that first night well. It was after everyone left and it was really quiet. It was just the husband and I in the room and I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept for 48 hours. I laid my new baby on my chest and tickled this little bit of fur (for lack of a better term) on his back. We cuddled and I sang to him; I fed him and loved on him. I was in love. All of those clichéd ideas are true. You cannot fathom the depths of love until you have a child. However, as we have grown in our lives as a family I realized that I had no idea what I was talking about. I’m not just talking about in terms on being a new mother. No new mothers know what they are doing. None. I’m talking about how much that love would be tested. Not just by lack of sleep or crying babies. I would take that everyday and twice on Sunday compared to the toddler years of no and the growing years of asserting themselves.
I am certain everyday that I am screwing him up in his own special way. I picture him thirty years from now in some therapist’s office rattling off the list of things I did to screw him up. As a matter of fact there are moments I will say something and think “I should write that down as a reference for him later of where it all went wrong.” Seriously. I know that the teenage years are coming, and I am currently finding a place in the house to physically hunker myself down and pray my way through them.
I don’t know how I am going to get through all of that, but I do know I spent months of his life worrying about things that did not matter where he was concerned. I want to sit down with new moms and tell them to stop worrying about things like breastfeeding, and solids feeding, and sleep training (ugh I had that phrase), and pacifiers. It doesn’t matter if he has the cutest stroller, carseat, or clothes. What I have learned along the way is that none of that will affect the person my son will become. He was breastfed, had solids at the “recommended” time, we did not sleep train, but he always slept in his own bed, and he had a pacifier until he was two, and he now sucks on his arm (we are working on it); but NONE of that has any impact on him today. It didn’t make him calmer, or happier, or a better friend. What has affected those things is how I talked to him, or reacted to him. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Let it all go. What does matter is how you talk to him, how you interact with him, how you play with him, and that you play with him. While I want my child to be healthy, I want him to be a good person, know he’s loved, and feel secure. That comes from his family. All he needs is love.