Hey kiddo, I owe you an apology. I wasn’t the mom you needed today; it pains me to know that and breaks my heart to say it. I know it because of how many times I yelled. Because your disappointed face is what I remember most, and I had to search high and low to find you in the aftermath(s). Believe it or not, I feel like I tried… hard.
I feel like I speak your older sister’s language well. Sure, the therapy helped, not to mention she’s older, so I’ve had more practice. But you, my strong-willed, high-spirited middle child, are much harder to decipher. Some days are better than others, this was not one of our great ones. You have a laundry list of reasons to be out of sorts, but instead of being what you needed, I struck out, swinging for the fence.
You said “Nothing”
I’ve asked different versions of “what’s wrong?” more often than I could count. “Nothing” is the answer I got, 100% of the time. Sometimes, I was inclined to believe you… other times, I knew it wasn’t true. You’re so black & white, and I’m sure you wanted no part of the emotionally heavy conversations I was searching for. My one win of the day was when I convinced you to throw the football with me. We both know I’m a terrible target and my spiral-throwing skills are laughable. But, when you have a ball in your hands, you seem to mellow. Thank goodness it was a success! I didn’t even push you to talk because I was so wrapped up in watching you smile. It was a solid move, but it wasn’t enough to win the day.
I hear Everything
Like the way your breath catches when you’re sad and the low-pitch rumbles that come when you’re frustrated. I see it when you look defeated while I try to hammer in a point for the 157th time. They say the definition of insanity is ‘doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result’. Today, your Momma felt insane.
I don’t have a lot of experience in the little boy category, and since you’re my oldest one, I’m always learning. There have been new sights, smells, and experiences since the day you were born. It would be easy to attribute this struggle to navigating those uncharted waters, but it’s bigger and deeper than that. You are amazing, complicated, and completely unique. I’m not trying to be a good boy mom, I want to be a great YOUR MOM. I want to speak your language fluently; understand every sigh, every inflection, every expression on your face.
It’s too soon to know how I’ll be with your younger brother. But I expect that we’ll have a similar, but very different conversation. I guess if I’m being honest when this whole mom-thing started for me, I thought that what worked with your sister would work with you all. It carried me through your infant and toddler years pretty well… consistency I mean. But, you’re all older now and I see now that each of you comes with your own language and very specific set of needs, wants, hopes and dreams. Maybe I fell behind, thinking that momming is a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. I’m here now though, and I know better. So, to echo the great Maya Angelou, now that I know better, I promise to do better… every single day.