Lessons Learned Being Not So Little Anymore
Well, it’s been a while. I did the very thing I didn’t think I would do- and that was abandon ship… or I guess just drag it to shore? I don’t know. I haven’t written in a while and it feels strange. I’ve felt like I’ve suddenly grown up, much like Mark has over the last 7 months.
Mark is doing amazing. He is so happy and full of life. He really is a breath of fresh air and calms in the craziness of adulthood. Granted, he is often the cause of my craziness, but nevertheless, he is the reason for my calmness. I’ve been focusing on being more… present with him. I think that is the term I am looking for. Present. Active? Involved? Present. I still get on my phone with him around. I still do things that are for me (which as you may know, has been a huge struggle for me), and I still put myself second. So what do I mean by “present”? How can I be present if I am scrolling mindlessly through Facebook? How can be active in my son’s life if I am checking emails and running a nonprofit? How can I be involved if I am having to leave some evening for school?
One half of that answer is: Your guess is as good as mine. The other half is: Because I understand and listen to my child.
I am not saying other parents don’t. I am saying that as my child has gotten older, I’ve had to adjust my version of thinking, my version of responding, and my understanding of parenthood. At the end of the day, as long as I am not raising a little turkey (for lack of a better term), then we are good… I think.
When Mark asks for a hug, I stop whatever it is I am doing and give him a hug. When Mark asks to cuddle, I grab the blanket, and we “snugglebuggle” and watch Youtube or something on his tablet. When he gets in trouble and pushes buttons (because yes, despite the innocent little boy you see in photos, he 100% pushes my buttons and he does it in the worst freaking way), I tend to get angry. I will snap and yell and put him in time-out. But this also comes with a cool-down moment. A moment through the chaos and calamity, Mark and I are able to take some time to ourselves to reflect on what happened.
I am not a proud woman. I think that being able to admit when you are wrong both when you act and react is extremely important. Not just from a parental perspective, but from a human perspective. Let’s face it. We are all human (at least I think we are), and we make mistakes. It’s in those mistakes or the act that we are given opportunities to learn. How we build ourselves back up, how we fix the issue at hand, or rather how we react is what defines us as a person or a parent.
I have no shame in getting down to Mark’s level and apologizing, ESPECIALLY when I am in the wrong, and there are times when I am, in fact, wrong.
As Mark continues to grow and explore life as this… independent, outgoing, and extremely kind kiddo… I can only hope that he will learn the way humans do- by making mistakes. When those mistakes are made and we are at wit’s end with one another, I pray we are able to take a moment to cool off and learn to react with sincere understanding, kindness, and love.