So I have found that love, in her fickle nature, affects us all differently. There is the version of love that you look back on and realize was more infatuation, there is love you acknowledge as having changed you. And then there is the greatest kind of love in my opinion, the kind of love that never leaves you. The kind you can’t get over and wouldn’t want to, because you wouldn’t be you without it.
I must admit that I am experiencing this kind of love in more than one avenue of my life, but there’s one relationship in particular that I need to talk about today.
There is a boy who has captured my heart from day one of meeting him, and I just happened to have the divine honor of calling him my son.
I am absolutely, positively, head over heels in love with this boy, and I pray to God he knows it.
I am not a new mom, our son is almost 7, and I keep waiting for myself to get over him just a little bit. But I never do. How could I? This is the kid who, on his first day of kindergarten, when I asked for an extra hug, (clearly telling him it was for me, not for him) came over and held me while whispering in my ear, “It’s okay mama, I’m going to miss you too.”
I feel like sometimes he understands me better than other people do, like we have our own unspoken code that’s just between us. This shows itself often when his sister is being irrational, as four-year-olds often can be. When he sees me getting irritated, he patiently grins at me in the rearview mirror and rolls his eyes at the same time I do. He sees me.
This same boy is the one who, after a hard day, brought a blanket over to me on the couch, and tucked me in before silently smiling and taking his place beside me.
I was recently asked to do a speaking engagement in the fall, where the topic would be raising challenging kids. One of my friends jokingly scoffed at me saying “What on earth do you know about that?” While my kids are amazing, I am not saying they are perfect.
Just focusing on my son today, he has a definite mischievous side which, truth be told, I secretly admire. It takes a little skill and creativity to be tricky, and that seems to be one of his life goals. Catching us in tongue-twisters, holding us accountable for our exact words for time (counting to 120 if we tell him in two minutes).
One time, when his sister had something of his he wanted, he single-handedly threw a pillow at her feet to both trip and block her path. While it was terribly naughty, it was also pretty genius to make the toy go flying and disable her from being able to get it. Fear not, I only addressed his behavior, not the talented craftiness by which he pulled it off.
I guess this whole conversation really stems from one interaction I had this year. I saw a student of mine’s parents during conferences, and when I stopped to talk about their son, and how much I appreciated having him in class, they dully nodded their heads at me, and said “Well this is our third one through the system.” No, “Thanks,” no, “We’re so happy to hear that.” Nothing.
They were so cold, so disenchanted with this boy they brought to life. It absolutely tore at my heart to think that regardless of age, his failures, or achievements, this boy was being written off by his parents. Been there, done that, is not an acceptable attitude.
My son is exceptional, I will admit it. But only because he is exceptionally well-loved. There’s a quote that says “Kids will always live up or down to your expectations.” I believe this is true, and the only underwhelming, unexceptional thing about the boy in my class is the way he is perceived by those should love him best.
So do me a favor, and whether or not your child is choosing to be his best, whether or not he deserves it… love him. Let yourself be amazed at his accomplishments no matter how small. Enchant yourself with the wonder of your child again. And give him the confidence to realize that he has a unique and powerful place in the world YOU brought him into.