Creative. Obedient. Open minded. Positive. Energetic. A Reader.
These are the words little guy used to describe himself at Take your Kids to Work Day. He stood in front of the rest of the group, around 18 or so plus adults, and spoke out loud.
Something he wouldn't have done last year. At least not comfortably.
As a parent starting out, I had a few objectives and very little understanding of the true meaning of the words "flexibility and patience". I honestly thought that once that precious little baby began to grow older you could mold them into exactly what you wanted them to be... much like my dolls that I had as a kid. Dress them this way, stand them this way and tell them to act a certain way. It's that easy, right?
I had no idea they were their own little people, independent of what they were told to be, say or do. I often battled with my older son, trying to push and prod him into what I thought he "should do, say or be". I didn't know. I really didn't know. But I do now.
Little guy has been given a gift. With such a significant age difference between the boys I was also given a gift. The ability to step back, reassess, adjust accordingly and proceed. Something most parents aren't given as much a chance to do. Most moms are way more comfortable with the second child simply by experience but I had a great 12 years of learning to get a head start on #2.
What a difference it has made. I feel in some ways I am a completely different mother to the little guy. And I'm still constantly learning from Bubba how to transition into a successful adult parental relationship, something that has been incredibly easy for the two of us. I never take that for granted either - my father and had a very rough transition. He had a very difficult time seeing his baby (and the last kid) move into adulthood. Granted it wasn't nearly as graceful as he might have liked but I still grew up nonetheless.
I'm amazed at how much I still learn as a parent. Bubba teaches me to respect the decisions and man he has become even though I didn't have any influence in them. He helps me understand fair and healthy boundaries are part of any adult relationship but still comes to me occasionally for advice. And he gave me the best gifts of all - his own family that I am invited to love and cherish right alongside him.
Little guy? He teaches me true diversity every single day. Last night we sat in a packed high school gymnasium (while it was 77 degrees and beautiful outside) and listened to the entire district 5th graders play 3 songs in a band recital. Yep, 3. The whole concert was over in an hour but the hour for me was profound. As I sat in the bleachers listening to the music, I couldn't help but reflect on the young man he is becoming. Pride swelled in me as I recalled a comment given to me just that morning from a co-worker. Your son is an exceptional young man. Wow. Such a giant compliment. I was absolutely speechless.
He plays the baritone. He sings in the choir. He loves to read and spell. He loves math and science. He plays basketball, baseball and football. He is a willing helper to a good friend in school with special needs. He loves being an uncle. He befriends all the kids in the 'hood that are younger and actively engages with them. He snuggles on the couch with me. He still wrestles with Hubs and Bubba. He tells everyone he has a sister, with a giant smile on his face. He is kind to his grandparents and loves them wholly and completely.
He doesn't try to look cool. He doesn't care if his clothes match. He doesn't care where we live as long as we are always together. He strives for perfection in all things that he attempts, accepts his failures as learning tools and doesn't seem to mind if someone doesn't like him for who he is.
He has a fantastic grasp on the real.
I'm a proud mom. I make a million mistakes a day and I am real. I ask for forgiveness and always forgive my kids when they make mistakes, too. I allow them to be who they are, respect them for that and focus entirely on the best in them. I allow myself latitude to grow as a mother and improve as I go.
It's truly the most rewarding responsibility I will ever experience.
I'll leave you with one of my fave new songs... I seriously can't get enough of this album. I listen to the entire thing on repeat every single day. Although a little bit sad and lonely (like John), the fact that life continues to move onward without our consent always gets me to thinking. Click below for some melodies :).
Born and Raised (Reprise)
Enjoy and have a good day, friends.