There is so much that we can’t do right now as parents, as children, as people(!). Lately, I’ve felt like I’ve been spinning my wheels trying to be effective, present, and productive. The weight of what I can’t control and what I can’t fix has been heavy. I found myself defining so many things based on that, very unfair, criteria. It had become the narrow lens with which I was viewing myself as a mother.
Enter Baby J and his “mommy phase.” Believe it or not, this was kind of new to me. All three of my children have gone through very hard core “daddy phases.” My “mommy phase” has always been more like “oh good mom you’re still here” rather than the enthusiastic “DADDY!!!!!!!!” that they use to greet my husband. I hadn’t yet had the glory of a true mommy phase. This moment, however, was different. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Because I needed him just as much as he needed me.
He needed me to comfort him when he was crying. I needed to feel like I could make something better. He needed me to take him by the hand and walk him back to bed in the middle of the night. I needed to feel like something that I was doing worked. He needed me to read the same book, in the same chair, with the same giant puppy every night at bedtime. I needed to count on something familiar too. He needed me to wake him up in the morning. I needed to look forward to a cheery and paci-mouthed “good morning Mommy” to begin my day.
Previously, these phases our children went through had been centered singularly on their needs. We would simply respond. This phase with J has felt different, because this time it has been about us.
When he reached out to me, it didn’t stop there. I reached right back for him. And so we continued and are still continuing for that matter. Perhaps he is part Golden Retriever puppy or maybe he’s just an extra special little boy. Whatever the reason, our hearts and souls have become entwined these past few months. I’ve carried him, but he’s carried me more. He’s reminded me to believe in myself, and that this too shall pass, both the struggles and the moments where I am the only one he wants. He’s shown me that sometimes all you need is to rest your head on someone’s shoulder and feel your hand in theirs. That peace comes with patience, and that our little ones truly are the greatest gifts.
Find the joy,
Jessica McCauley, M.Ed. is a parenting coach/consultant. She draws on her background as a Montessori educator and Child Life Specialist to help families navigate the challenges of the early childhood years. Contact Jessica at http://smallhandsbigsteps.com/contact/ for more information or to schedule a consultation.