Last week, my little boy turned three.
It seems bizarre to think of the days before he came to join us, but it feels equally bizarre to think of the days when he wasn’t this whirling dervish of personality, stubbornness, affection, and opinions.
Where there once was an empty space, there came a baby. Where there once was a baby, there is now a little boy.
This year was a challenge in so many ways, not the least of which was learning to come to a (sort of) comfortable peace with my own identity as a mother. If year one of motherhood was all about emotion, and year two was all about questioning, then year three has been about acceptance.
I’ve had to accept that I don’t always have the answers.
I’ve had to accept that I don’t always know what to do.
I’ve had to accept that sometimes I don’t handle things the right way.
I’ve had to accept that sometimes I take things too personally.
I’ve had to accept that I can get frustrated just as easily as the next person.
I’ve had to accept that sometimes it’s not about me.
I’ve also had to accept that I am the parent I am, just as my kid is the kid he is.
Comparing myself, or my decisions, to other parents is as useless as comparing my kid to other kids. Because those people aren’t parenting MY kid. They aren’t living MY life, and I’m not living theirs. I can see what I can learn from other people and I can be open to new ideas, but to try and change the fundamentals about ME to fit this idea of “who” and “how” that lived in my mind? That’s foolishness.
I’m learning to be comfortable in the skin of motherhood–my skin. My version.
And my version of motherhood is one that laughs a lot, but also gets frustrated. One that calms and soothes, but also has her breaking points. One that worries too much some days and not enough on others. My version of motherhood is one that is based and built on me…and on him.
As we head into three (dear lord please let us all survive three), my biggest gift from two is the knowledge that I am who I am and he is who he is and that learning to accept those truths is the key to my sanity. No matter how frustrated I get, at the base of everything is an overwhelming love for this kid. For THIS kid that loves trains and “the bird movie” and sleeping with his books. The kid that is learning to throw the most tragic tantrums imaginable and has plenty of experience with time outs. The kid that asks random kids who cry on the playground if they want a hug to feel better. The kid that struggles with listening when he gets over excited or overly frustrated. The kid that is free with the hugs and kisses, who loves having his Mommy and Daddy around, and who has never met someone he didn’t like.
The kid that is my heart.
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