I still consider myself a new mother. I’ve had two babies in two years but I’m still “new” to what it means. One of the most defining takeaways from motherhood, for me at least, has been how clearly your children are a mirror to your good and your bad. Noah is still small and new so those lessons aren’t as clear, but the lessons from William are ever present.
Some of William’s behaviors are clearly part of every 18 month old’s journey: understanding that they are separate from their parents, a need for independence, and a lack of understanding as to why everything can’t be their way. They are still new to the world in a big enough way that they lack the emotional ability to understand why someone else would dare tell them “no”. But there is something present in William that perfectly mirrors things about myself that I both love and need to work on.
William is highly sensitive and emotional. He is quick to emotion in any situation. Again, part of that is his age but a part is definitely his personality. He becomes emotional upon seeing emotion. He is sensitive to our emotions. This is something I pray he keeps, in at least enough of a way to make him sensitive to the needs of other people. It’s also a great burden to grow up so sensitive but, for me, it’s a gift to be one of those people potentially raising one of those people. In some small way it may mean there is a greater purpose to my being such a sensitive person. It may be one of the ways I can offer that sensitivity in a way that is productive and fulfilling for both of us.
William is short-tempered. That, I do believe, is just his being 18 months old. BUT, it certainly can feel like a reflection of me. And Brandon. It’s teaching me patience, greater empathy, and instilling in me a desire to not be that way with my children. A short temper can destroy a child’s self-esteem and self-worth, and I’m learning very quickly how to harness my own in the name of his emotional health. That, to me, is a gift.
I have learned from William how to let go of control, how to be a more “go with the flow” person. Brandon would surely say I have a long way to go in that aspect of our life but I dare say I am making strides. William is that perfect age of carefree and wide open. He dances when there is no music. He babbles incessantly and laughs at his own jokes. He gives hugs and kisses without prompt – sloppy, open mouth kisses. When he’s done with something or disinterested, he throws whatever it is to the ground and says “no”. He asks for a specific food or activity and as soon as you present it to him he shakes his head and says “no”. He hates to sleep. As in, he fights a battle every time we make him sleep. He LOVES to eat. He cries when Noah cries and between stifled sobs says “Baby. Baby. Baby.” He says “yes” to any question you ask. And shakes his head as if he understands exactly what you have said or asked. He LOVES to be rocked. He now takes up the entire rocking chair and it’s quite a feat to hold him and rock him but he makes it happen. He’s perfectly content to grab a book and saddle up in your lap for you to read it to him over and over and over. He loves to rough-house. He is ticklish all over. He always seems to know when I need him to be in a mommy phase. He will call for me and only want me and it fills my heart to the brim.
I could go on and on about William. He is such a gift to me and prayer answered. And there is something life fulfilling about looking at your small child and seeing so much of who you are and who you can be through their eyes. It makes all of this make sense.