Tuesday, April 21, 2015

To My Rotten Kid

Parenting isn't always fun.

Sometimes I get the urge to close up shop. Pack my bags, jump in the car, and leave a pile of waffles in the living room. Although we both know this isn't a possiblity, the feelings are real. Between two-hour bedtime battles, backseat wrestle mania, and various forms of the word "mom" hurled at me relentlessly, I get tired. I love my kids, but I'm tired.

Despite it all, though, I hang tight to the truth that even though it's hard, it's good. It is so good. All of this rambling about the quote-unquote trenches of parenting is just a build-up to something I've been meaning to write for more than a month. I owe my middle child a birthday letter.

Dear Owen,

You drive me crazy.

Your constant need for milk-and-snack makes me cringe at the start of every question. I swear we need to buy stock in Wheat Thins and Teddy Grahams. Your pushing-Nora-for-no-reason is no fun for anyone, and your immunity to discipline makes you a tricky chapter in my parenting book. The sweet pitter-patter of your feet coming into my bedroom 45 minutes after you fall asleep is not music to my ears, and your ruthless demands for iPhone videos are not exactly endearing. Your inside voice is broken and your trashcan aim is off.

You know what, though? As much as the world may want to box you into a "stubborn" or "bad" or "oh, he's just all boy!" stereotype, I know better. You are not the problems you cause. You are not the way you react. You are a four-year-old boy and I am your mom. You shower me with kisses and I savor them all. You call me Mommy when you're sleepy and you attach yourself to my hip when you don't feel well.

You've had a terrible cough this week and and can't seem to get close enough. Yesterday I was complaining about it to your Daddy. "He won't get off of me!" I said as I desperately pleaded for a switch in roles. But you know what, Owen? One day you aren't going to need the physical contact you crave so much. One day you'll know my kisses don't really fix anything, and sitting on the couch with "no spaces" is not a cure. That's why I get you Wheat Thins. That's why I go to the bathroom and count to ten. That's why I try so hard to make you listen and I hug you so tight each time you ask. You're only going to be next to me on the couch {no spaces} for a little while.

Now that you're four, you're wildly independent and unafraid to ask for what you want {ahem}. You are so excited for preschool to start in the fall, and you speak like a grownup. You're complimentary of others, you cheer on and encourage your big brother, and when you're not shoving your sister, you are taking amazing care of her. There's never been a graham cracker you haven't shared, kid.

Maybe this letter didn't start off as the kindest words a mother has ever shared with her son, but you and I both know our household is not necessarily filled with roses and rainbow-colored unicorns. We don't always know what we're doing, and basically we're all just along for the ride. Unexpected turns take us by surprise, but no matter what's around the next bend, you have me. I love you more than words can say and I will never ever turn away your kisses.

Owen, you are a good boy. And I am a good mom. Sometimes I just need to remind myself of both truths.

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Georgeanne | Southern Fried Soprano said...

This is beautiful. Here's hoping Owen always remembers that his mama can fix anything.

Shelia Little said...

Well said . This is such a special time in your life and one day he will be grown and you will look back on this time and the best in your life.

Unknown said...

Aww this is so sweet!!

Unknown said...

This is amazing! Just tonight I was so frustrated with giving "just one more kiss, mommy" at bedtime. But I also know that one day that little boy is not going to want his mommy kissing him and I'm going to miss is so much.

Katharine said...

Cute. Made me tear up and laugh at the same time. If you need a sitter some day, just holler. :)