When my first son was born he was my one and only. (Well, Obviously). I had all of him and he had all of me. No distractions, no competition, just a mother and son and a whole lot of love.
Here’s the thing. Now I have 3 kids and each time another beautiful boy was born, my heart grew. It grew enough to wrap each little boy in the endless love that I have for them. Sorry, is this mushy? Ok this post might be a little mushy, but just bear with me, I promise I have a point….I think? My boys are 4 1/2, 2 1/2, and 1/2. Yes, I am busy. Yes I “have my hands full”…. (and thank you to all the people at the supermarket who like to point that out to me. Is it a compliment? Stating the obvious? Do I look like I’m drowning and need an extra hand? If so, stop gawking at my kids and HELP ME!)…
Anyway, yes, my everyday life is kinda sorta crazy. I am “in it”. In the thick of that thing they call child rearing…and it is some seriously hard stuff. So hard that sometimes I just need ONE of my babies to be semi self-sufficient. It’s gotta be my 4 year old, right? He is the oldest and most capable. I need him to get dressed on his own, brush his own teeth, feed himself, find his own socks, put on his own shoes, zip his own jacket. I need him to walk and not need to be held… because if I had to do all that 3X we would have to wake up at 6am just to be out the door by 8. Oh wait, we are up at 6am….
My point is, I need him to be a little more independent than he wants to be. In fact, I think I asked him to feed the baby his lunch while I helped my other son in the bathroom… (the son who was potty trained at 2 years old, but can’t seem to figure out how to pull up his own pants). And yesterday, I asked him to brush his little brother’s teeth while I put the baby to bed….What’s next? Asking him to make dinner while I vacuum? I expect a lot of him and get frustrated when he doesn’t comply. He acts out a lot, he whines a lot which only fuels my fire and I say things like, “You need to act like a big boy and set a good example for your little brothers.”
I try. I try to spread my attention evenly to each of my babies… because they really are all still babies, but the attention tends to shift to the neediest which are my younger two. But tonight something happened that made me realize I need to dig deep and redistribute my attentiveness…
I put my boys to bed and was enjoying the silence after a hectic day. Fifteen minutes later my oldest son cried down to me saying, “Hold me mommy! Hold me!” I was tempted to yell, “Just go to bed, buddy! I just kissed you and tucked you in. Everything is ok so just go to bed.” I went up anyway because it is unlike him to cry.
When I entered the room he squeezed me tight and whispered, “I want a treat mommy.” He has got to be kidding me! I swear I am throwing all of that damn Halloween candy away… but before I could finish my though he continued…
“I want a treat that you don’t eat.”
“Okay??? What is it that you want, little buddy?”
“I want you to lay with me.”
His lip curled and then my heart melted into a million little pieces.
I climbed up into the top bunk, let the mom-guilt settle in, blinked a little tear, and then held him hard enough to let him know how much I really love him.