It is time for a break. Most of my energy, ok, ALL of my energy is going towards keeping up with my boys. I will return to my twice-weekly posts in a couple of weeks. I’m going to use this blog-break to regroup and focus more on fun. I am learning some great lessons this summer. When it comes to teaching my kids anything, outsourcing is key. My boys have become fish in a matter of days. All it took was Mom staying way, far out of the pool (almost in another county), and a fantastic swim instructor. I wish all my parenting dilemmas could be so easily outsourced. I’ve also realized spending time with your kids can alter your perspective on life. Full Speed’s heartfelt declaration that an IHOP breakfast is the best breakfast he’s ever had makes me appreciate my Harvest Nut pancakes on a whole different level.
I may make it through to the start of school after all.
This is the third anniversary of when my Mom passed away. I would like to think that somehow losing a loved one gets easier. It does not. It only changes inside you. The loss becomes a permanent part of your soul. It never leaves you.
I miss having her in my world. I miss having that reassurance that she would always be there and that more importantly, she would listen to me and truly care about what I had to say.
Isn’t that what anyone wants? To be heard, to be seen and to be truly, truly loved. Imagine if everyone in the world had access to that kind of love. The bad days would be bearable, the sweet days would be more so and we’d all be a little bit kinder to ourselves and to each other.
Each day is a new opportunity to learn about ourselves. I learned so very much from my own mother. Some of the lessons were easy and beautiful. Some of the lessons were not.
In the end the most important lesson I learned from my Mom is that it all comes down to forgiveness.
No one is ever going to be perfect and that’s okay. Perfect doesn’t teach us a thing. Real life, real love and real relationships do.
My Mom and I saw each other as we really are and still loved each other anyway. That’s the real deal.
I had taken the boys to the pool and sat back and watched as they energetically tackled the slide and sprinklers. At the top of the slide are two attached water cannons. When the slide gets crowded these cannons become quite popular. A boy a good head taller approached T.Puzzle and attempted to yank the cannon from T.Puzzle’s grip. I had to coach myself to stay put and let it unfold. As much as I wanted to leap to his rescue I decided to see how T.Puzzle would handle it. Turns out years of assertiveness training from his older brother paid off. T.Puzzle stood his ground and as the older boy continued to try to intimidate him with words and a few swings of his arms, T.Puzzle didn’t budge.
I learned a valuable lesson. The minute you stop trying to control something, especially the behavior or circumstances of your children, these are the moments when they begin to show you who they really are. If you are really lucky they may show you something unexpected. They may show you that bullies are only as powerful as you allow them to be and sometimes a four year old can handle a confrontation without hesitation. That’s when you realize maybe you need to start taking notes from your kids instead of always insisting on being the one who is teaching.
Denial is a wonderful coping mechanism. I’m learning it lasts for as long as a delicate psyche needs and then collapses when you’ve reached a head space that allows for the truth.
When T.Puzzle was born and he screamed louder than any newborn has a right to, I clearly remember thinking, “Hey, wait a minute. You’re suppose to be my easy kid.” I had made a silent agreement with T.Puzzle while he was in utero that he was going to be a milder version of Full Speed.
In some ways this was true. He actually stayed put long enough for me to on occasion hold and snuggle him. He broke into easy smiles with his incredible dimples a-blazin’ and he actually played calmly with baby toys for extended periods.
Other signs that T.Puzzle would be ‘easier’, or more likely helped feed my denial, were his slightly more sensitive nature and his skill at reading and reacting to other people’s emotions. Early on we labeled him ‘our little social worker’.
Great. This was good. I rolled along and headed into his ‘terrible twos’ feeling like I was finally going to have an upper hand.
I was completely wrong. He tantrummed with the same passionate zest as his brother before him. The only things that kept me going through this were the glimpses of his social worker nature and my dear, sweet friend denial. No matter how ugly the tantrums became he would always quickly win me back with his, “I love you, Mommys” and loving hugs.
Then came this summer and that’s when denial packed up its bags and left me for good. T.Puzzle has continued his tantrumming phase well into his fourth year exactly the same as Full Speed. Unfortunately for this latest phase of summer tantrums the gloves are off. He is proving that he can run with the big boys and has shown such a ferocity of independence that it is at once frightening and awe-inspiring.
All I can say is bring it T.Puzzle. This ain’t my first rodeo, kid.
We all have the ability to stop what we are doing and allow ourselves to be awakened to the present moment. For me, it happens in the most random situations. I was helping Full Speed’s home room Mom decorate his teacher’s door for teacher appreciation week. Then it hit me. Full Speed is almost done with kindergarten. I let this thought settle over me. It made me feel a pit of resistance in my stomach. This year has gone by too fast. He is getting older. Every day he needs me a little bit less. Every day I want to hold on to him tighter. Instead, I have to let him go more freely.
I snapped out if it. I returned to the task at hand. The door was appropriately decorated and it was time to go. Still some sadness over watching my boy grow up clung to me.
Full Speed had not felt well over the weekend. He was tucked into bed early that evening to help combat whatever virus he was fighting. After he was resting, Mad Dog and I heard an indistinguishable yelp from his room. Mad Dog ran to investigate. There was blood and Full Speed was visibly shaken. Mom was called in for back-up. The initial thought was Full Speed’s virus was now becoming more serious causing him to spew blood.
Nope. It was only a loose tooth that needed to come out.
I was so relieved. And then I wasn’t.
The loss of a first tooth means baby teeth are making way for the grown up ones.
I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.
Thankfully the tooth fairy is better adjusted to the growth of children than I am and left Full Speed a generous gift of money.
Too bad she can’t give us back the gift of time while she’s at it.