Wednesday, November 26, 2014
It was one of far too many conversations I'd been having with loved ones lately, contemplating better ways to parent, strategies for wrangling a strong-willed child and how to get back to appreciation vs. frustration, fatigue and misunderstanding. This was a new place for me, and I didn't like it. For me. For him. For our love. For our relationship. The stories I told, the words used to describe his behaviors and the frequency in which I turned into a mom I hardly even knew weighed heavy on my heart. It was time to turn it around.
All 10 pounds of Liam came screaming into this world and for more than three months, never stopped. For nearly 12 hours a day he was cradled in colic, his dairy allergy still undiscovered married with the mystery that is the "disease." Today, with 19 months under his belt, the hours of unrest are far fewer, but still more frequent than the average. Half toddler behavior, part of what he's born with and a portion of growing into his own, he's finding his voice through aggressive movements, loud screams, significant tantrums, using only the word "no," and fighting every battle and bribe that's available. By definition, he's a strong willed child. He's hard. He's a fighter. He's tough. He's a lot of blood, sweat and tears. He's shocking. At times impossible. And even trickier: he's smart with it all. The examples and routines we run through daily to illustrate this are endless. Please join me and my friend A in our texting war regarding what our toddler is crying about to learn more...
But you know what else he is?
Absolutely charming. A momma's boy. An incredible sleeper. A learner. A smiler. A bright-eyed, handsome little one. A kiddo with a million, gut-splitting hilarious expressions. A dancer and fan of music. HEALTHY. Growing. Surprising us with little miracles daily. A lover of running through the halls in his fast shoes. Curious. Bright. An adoring brother. A big fan of eating and milk drinking. A dog advocate. A friend. An excellent high fiver. An avoid book reader, complete with counting anything he can among the pages. In fractions of seconds, a warm snuggler. Fearless. Trusting. Able to hold his own with the big kids. A baller. A joyous screecher. A strutter. An entertainer. A picker-upper. A lover.
In short: he's awesome.
And he's my boy.
And I wouldn't change him for anything.
So go ahead, momma. Whether you have a "strong-willed" one or not, be real about it. This stuff ain't easy. And you don't always have to be grateful or think about how quickly it will all go. Sometimes, it just plain sucks. And that's ok.
And then there's those moments where suddenly all the junk in between no longer matters. The first time he says "I wuv you," (today!), when he masters the stairs, the moment he seeks your tall legs for comfort, the quiet of evenings with just you, the faux stars above and a book, the look and squeal he gives you when you walk in the door and all the other magic in between. THAT'S the space I'm going to work harder to live in. Frolic in. Cherish in. And the rest? I'm going to work harder to love it too.
Because I love you, Liam, for all you are and all you're meant to be. May you feel that in every inch of your soul. I will carry you. Stand up for you. Fight for you. Sweat for you. Embrace you. Try to understand you. And love you. Unconditionally. For I can't think of anything else that's more important than this, for you...
I love you and am thankful for every last inch of you.
Children embody what is best in life. They live in the present moment. They are part of its exquisite bloom. They are pure potentiality, embodying vitality, emergence, renewal and hope. They are purely what they are. And they share that vital nature with us all and call it out of us as well, if we can listen carefully to the calling.