Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's a Darn Good Thing I Only Have Two

I had planned to write something witty tonight about the things I'm thankful for right now. Okay, fine. I had planned to ATTEMPT to write something witty tonight about the things I'm thankful for right now.  Some kind of profound play on the latest "new" idea to be thankful for one thing a day. Something like "30 Things I'm Thankful For". Or something like that.  But then I spent 30 minutes holding my baby while he cried tears he didn't want to be crying, sobbing about how he's torn between the part of him that doesn't want to grow up and the part of him that does. And telling me that he's missed me "sooo much" lately, and feeling ignored and unimportant to me because I've been spending so much of my attention on his older brother. It occurred to me then that I hadn't spent a great deal of time with my Bug since before football season started. Okay, okay. It didn't just occur to me. It walked right up to me, looked me square in the eye, and whomped me upside my thick skull.

I am such a craptastic mother sometimes. How could I ignore one child and lavish so much time and attention on the other? How had it completely escaped my notice that the reason my son has been such a royal puke for the last several weeks was because it was the only way he could get my undivided attention? (And in the spirit of thankfulness, I did take a moment to thank God that He had only given me two children. How much more damage to the future of our nation would it be possible for me to inflict if I had been gifted with the original six children I had started asking Him for when I was younger?)

And then I stopped beating myself up. (Mostly stopped, at any rate. I think it's normal for a mother to regularly flog herself over her perception of how she sucks at the whole motherhood thing.) I squeezed my boy a little tighter, and told him how sorry I was that I hadn't been paying close enough attention. Both to him, and to everything else. I told him that I loved him, but even bigger than that....he was super important to me. I told him that he was not just one of my favorite kids, but one of my favorite people in the whole world. And that I had missed him, too.

We talked about how growing up is hard, and I reminded him that sometimes? It's okay to still do the things you did when you were little. Lego cities and watching cartoons, sleeping with stuffed animals and having mom sing to you at night. It didn't mean you weren't growing up just because you did one of those things sometimes. He told me that right now, the part of him that wants to grow up fast is still mostly small; but that it's getting bigger all the time and it's really making it hard for him to just be fine. All I could say to that was that I understood. I'm not sure he believed me, though.

In the end, after we had found our way through the tears and back to the giggles, Bug and I made a date. We're going on a Mother-Son date this weekend, and he gets to decide what we're going to do. I'm thinking movies and food, but he could surprise me. I hear there's a truck pull in town this weekend.


Karen said...

It's gotta be even harder for that boy to grow up than normal kids. Bless his heart, and thank goodness you are his mother.

Big Mark 243 said...

I don't get what Karen meant about 'normal kids' ... that is what being a 'newbie' is about, stuff flies past you until you get some time in grade and know a little bit less of nothing.

Being the oldest of 5, I still wasn't immune from feelings of being ignored and overlooked. I remember there was a summer where it got to be too much during my jr. high years and my Mother and I had a tear filled conversation much like you and your youngest did.

What I took the most from that and how it came to fore reading this entry, is that I think it is better for it to have occured NOW than later. More time for it to be understood and reinforced than it is for him to take it with him in his pubie years for it to harden and be harbored over.

I still stayed a good big brother, but I could have been a better one without that 'moment'. Had it came when Mom still had as much influence as you do over your youngest one, perhaps things could have been different.

Be glad that you have had the first of those kinds of talks now, so that y'all will get to develop a better relationship!
(clink, clink) That's my two cents!!

Rockin Austin said...

Very sweet SM, and you could never be put in the category of "craptastic" mother. (BTW, I love that word!) I think the best thing about you and your kids (and hubby too) is that the lines of communication are always open, he didn't hesitate to talk to you about. Some kids would hold it in and harbor those feelings for year...thus giving the therapists a lot of work when we're older. Oh, did I just say that? :) Love you.

Shannon said...

Hi there, came across your blog somehow through another blog today. I have three boys myself, I can totally relate. I agree with the other commenter. You were not a terrible mom at all and in fact just have that talk proved that. They get big so fast. The mom guilt never goes away, does it?