From the moment your wonderful news makes a physical debut in the form of an adorable bump peeking out from an unbuttoned jacked you hear it. You hear it from family, from friends, from the sweet old lady in aisle 5 as she touches your stomach. "Enjoy every moment, it goes by so fast." You hear it and it resonates within you, but you never fully understand how fast it is going to go until you are living it. I think what they mean when they tell you this is that while some days are long the years are short. There are some days you are counting down until bedtime, you know those days. Blink and those days turned into years.
6 years ago my husband and I brought home our sweet little boy from the hospital and we became a family of three. I can still remember that new baby smell, a mixture of Dreft and Johnson and Johnson lotion, as I held him over my shoulder, kissing his little nose. While he still likes to snuggle his mom those moments are fleeting and he can barely fit into my arms. He is now tall enough to ride most of the big rides at Disney World and seems to grow by the minute. How can those pants be too short, we just bought them last month?! It feels like just yesterday I stood before him with arms wide open as he took his first wobbly steps towards me. Now I sit before him at the kitchen table helping him with homework. He is his own person now. What an amazing gift to watch your once helpless little newborn turn into their own person. A sweet loving boy with an amazing sense of humor. He is wise and yet still so child like. Constantly thinking of others he is the first to ask me how my night at work went and how he can help around the house. When I come downstairs dressed for date night he always stops what he is doing to tell me how pretty I look, one of the many sweet gestures he gets from his father. I am a lucky girl. He has a passion for all things science and music with a mean spiral when throwing a football. He is the definition of BOY and that scared the living daylights out of me 6 years ago.
When the ultrasound confirmed we were having a boy, my husband's face lit up. The father and son relationship is a special one, and one we all know about. What I didn’t know was about the mother-son relationship and how this little red hair/ blue eye boy would change my life forever. Growing up it was always just me and my sister. I knew nothing about raising a little boy and often wondered how our relationship would be. You see mothers and daughters enjoying mani pedis, shopping, and gossiping. You see fathers and sons at the park playing catch, fishing at the lake, and sharing a beer. Where will I fit in in this sweet boys life when he has become my whole world?
It didn't take long to learn where I stand in his world. I am his nurse, the one he comes to when his stomach is hurting or he needs a band-aid and a kiss. I am, along with his amazing father, teaching him how to be a gentleman as he asks to go on special Starbucks dates with me and even holds the door open. I am his cheerleader and enjoy every moment watching from the sidelines as kicks a goal or slides into home. I am his teacher and will read to him for as long as he wants and teach him about anything and everything he wants to know. As parents we teach our children every single moment of their lives. How to talk, walk, read, and write. How to be polite, play a new game, throw a baseball. I wonder if our children realize they they also teach us so much more just by being themselves, pure and innocent.
Here are just a few things I have learned in my short 6 years as a mother.
1.) Superheroes don't have dance parties or talk it out. I have a confession, while I'm great at playing games (anyone down for a game of Tag or Mousetrap?) I stink at playing with my sons toys. I often find myself sitting in front of his Batman cave holding Spider-Man in my hand trying to make it seem as if I LOVED it. I grew up on Barbies and Polly Pockets and truly this is torture for me. I am just not wired to fend off villains. "Hey batman," I say one particular day, moving my Spider-man figurine closer to his. "Want to have a dance party?" My son looks at me and smiles. "Mommy they have to fight the bad guys. Watch me," he says as he holds another darker figure in his opposite hand as he makes them fight. "Take that! Bam! Pow!" I watch as he innocently plays in a way that just comes natural to him. I can't help but to think, Should I be teaching him violence is not the answer? Yes I believe so. I chime in, "Maybe they should talk about what they are feeling?" I said. I will never forget his face when he looked up at me. "Mommy, want to go on a hike or ride bikes?" he asks enthusiastically. "I want to go outside now." That moment when your young child doesn't want to hurt your feelings and would rather just spend time with you....you never forget it. We still have many adventures together in homemade living room forts, magical hikes, craft and story time, and learning new things, but he saves superheroes for dad now and I am OK with that.
2.) It's OK to get dirty. Some grass and dirt stains may never come out and I can't even begin to tell you how many pairs of pants we had to get rid of for ripping at the knees, but the memories attached to those messes are worth more than a $10 pair of pants!
3.) UNPLUG and PUT THE PHONE DOWN. Children and adults both crave undivided attention. When you are out with your friends or speaking with your kids remember eye contact and put away the phone. You are missing so many special moments. That post will be there in a few hours.
4.) Fresh air and sweat cures all. Ever notice how the kids get antsy and moody by the end of a bad winter or a particularly rainy season? We often take our children out to "run off some steam," but what about us? I found nothing gets me out of a funk faster than a nice long walk or a good sweat at the gym.
5.) Dance it out. If you are a huge Grey's Anatomy fan like me you know that Meredith and Christina usually dance out their frustrations. Every morning was a struggle to get my son up and ready for school- that is until I started this new routine. I dance and sing around the room until he wakes up and joins me. I don't know if it is the fact that it helps him get energized or the fact he can't stand my singing-but hey at least he is laughing and at school on time.
6.) Try your best. We are often found saying this to our children but what about us? We put so much pressure on ourselves as parents and at times beat ourselves up when we make mistakes. We are human and mistakes are the only way we learn. No matter what the task is, just try your best and if you fail try it again tomorrow and this time do it better.
7.) Friends pick up where they left off. Nothing teaches you more about true friendships then when you pack up your family and move away from your child's first set of school friends. They show us that we don't have to necessarily talk everyday, but good friends are hard to come by and we must savor and cherish those special bonds.
8.) Get right back up. Kid's are incredibly resilient and strong. Often their falls hurt us more than them. Watching them get right back up and try again without fear is something we can all learn from. No mater what, GET BACK UP.
9.) Never underestimate the wisdom of a young child. Some of the best conversations I have ever had were with my little one. Their thoughts are pure and not yet corrupted by society and what they need to think and believe. Just are true to themselves, something I wish we could just bottle up.