This past weekend was one of the longest and most exhausting from recent memory. We tackled potty training and moving you into a “big boy” bed. There were tears, sighs, plenty of frustration, serious attitude and quite a bit of laughter. You are head-strong and determined and I love your stubbornness, even as it makes me shake my head and say aloud, “Why are you so stubborn?” Your grandmother put it right when she said you get it honestly. Indeed you do. I believe you come from two families full of stubborn folks!
I have an app on my phone called “Timehop” that sends me random pictures from the last eight years or so from my FB and Instagram accounts. This means that daily I see a photo of you from when you were a tiny thing, wide-eyed and unable to communicate. I think about holding you a year ago, two years ago, and how different it was then compared to now. I think about my frustration when you wouldn’t make a sound anywhere close to “MaMa” but how “DaDa” came so easily. I think about the short phase where you preferred your father to me (I was not a good sport about it!). I think about all of my fears and doubts about you hitting milestones on time and whether we were doing enough to help you develop your communication and social skills. Now it all seems so silly to me.
You continue to do things at your own pace, when you are good and ready. The day we told you that you needed to give up your pacifier when you turned two, you threw it in the trash can and never looked back. I’ll never forget that moment. This weekend we told you it was time to wear underwear and be a big boy. The first day was dramatic. You had four accidents in a row, you were scared of the dragon you insist lives at the bottom of the toilet, and you were clearly feeling too much pressure. We were asking too many times if you needed to go. The next day we backed off. We told you we knew you could do it. We asked less often. You were game every time we did ask and you were proud. The original plan was to keep you home on Monday with me so you could have one more day of practice. Knowing you as I do, I knew you didn’t need it. I knew you needed the challenge right away. We sent you to daycare and you went without a single accident. Not one! You were so proud when you came home. You immediately asked about a present (because you know to expect presents when you comply so easily…) and you opened up your package of Spider man underwear, Mickey Mouse toilet seat and a new toy car, and you were ecstatic. There’s nothing that makes me quite as happy as seeing you so happy and proud of yourself.
Last night as I lay beside your crib, as I do until you fall asleep each night, you reached your hand through the slat of the crib and asked me to hold your hand. About five minutes went by and you asked me to kiss you. You sat up, gave me a big smooch and then laid back down still holding tightly to my hand. We held hands until you were fast asleep. It is in moments like that I find myself so overwhelmingly grateful and surprised by how motherhood has changed me, opened me up. While I feel very sure in my identity separate from being a mother, it is being a mother that has made my heart full.
You are a gift to me in every way imaginable. You remind me to be tender and open-hearted. You remind me that being stubborn isn’t always a bad thing. You teach me patience, so much patience, and you give me a way to see life in a new light, with new eyes. I am constantly reminded what an honor it is to be your mother, to watch you grow and change and tackle new obstacles. I love you.