Hey, it’s been awhile.
I’ve been full-time mom’ing it for the last month and to be honest. It’s been awesome.
Not that it isn’t hard as shit sometimes.
But with school starting tomorrow, I feel sad. Because over the last month, our connection has grown even stronger. The way in which we communicate hitting a sweet spot that feels natural and effective. And I’ve learned so much from him.
Like last night.
After dinner the sky was dark. The bath almost ready.
Come outside and go on a trip with me, mama.
With his new school backpack slung over his shoulders, he begged me to go with him. I resisted. My pregnant body aching and not in the mood for one more adventure.
It’s too cold and dark outside, I replied.
But when he came up to me with his dad’s jacket to keep me warm, my heart could no longer say no.
We went on a journey to all the places we loved. Revisiting the beach in Los Angeles, where we had recently been. Sitting in our airplane seats on the front porch under the starry sky. Hiding from our dogs that had turned into mice in the night. A long discussion about the moon, the reflection of the sun, the spin of the Earth and how it all comes together to create waxing and waning shapes up above.
And I thought back to our day.
One that started with a walk to the park in his stroller. Something I didn’t really feel like doing.
Let’s drive to the park and take your bike instead, I said.
The lazy in me not feeling the five minute walk. And even a little embarrassed to break out the stroller in public. An item that had only come back out of storage for our recent trip to the United States. With sandals on instead of the shoes I suggested, he quickly transitioned to barefeet over rocky stones. I let go of the voice inside my head that would demand he put them back on. Who cares, the other something inside of me said. Dropping his hat back on his head and shifting his play from out of the sunny basketball court onto the shady lawn.
The puzzle we worked on squeezed in before breakfast instead of after.
And pizza for dinner instead of the stir fry I had planned.
As parents, it can be hard to relinquish our expectations and timelines. But I’ve found that allowing immense freedom within hard rules and boundaries makes enforcing what really matters more meaningful. Like proper sun care which is downright dangerous on the equator versus a little dirt on the toes at the park in our neighborhood that I know poses no real threat. Giving my son the opportunity to make decisions for himself. Learning how to face the consequences from those decisions and form a sense of responsibility for his choices creating a balance between my authority and his autonomy.
The differences in us and what we want at each moment that used to result in conflict melting away to compromise with mutual respect. Making it so much easier for me to encourage cooperation instead of protest. Set limits when needed. And issue out consequences if necessary without a mess of tears and tantrums.
It’s not perfect.
But I don’t expect perfection.
Like when I ask him to pick up his toys and he doesn’t.
I remember how the time before he did.
Bite my tongue on another boring lecture that will just unnecessarily tire the both of us.
And look forward to the next chance to teach with patient instead of what can sometimes feel like constant defeat in the face of a growing toddler with a strong sense of developing independence.
One that already rivals my own.
Finally appreciating it for what it is. And not what I want or think it should be.