REAL LIFE | The Root of the Issue
When I was younger, I would call my grandma Ellie after a big argument or fight I had with my mom. At the time, I was simply looking for someone to hear me out, to side with me. Looking back, I realize I had deeper issues that I wanted so desperately for someone to see, bring to the surface and help me face head on. Unfortunately, that moment hasn't really happened yet even in my 30s. I anticipate that eventually, on one of those crazy bad Tuesdays when there's a full moon, I wear two different shoes and can't find a clean bra will be the day I am swept away with an emotional typhoon and find myself sitting in a puddle of tears, ugly crying while listening to Linkin Park, Everclear or Papa Roach. But that's not what this post is about...
Grandma would always listen, try to understand my feelings and simply say, "Amber, being a parent is the hardest job you'll ever have. Remember, your mom is figuring out being a parent while you're figuring out how to be a kid." Now that I am grown and a mom myself, those words have never rang more true.
Ever since he was born, my son has been a challenge. He was a colicky baby for nearly the first four months of his life, which was quickly followed by the teething stage that he never did handle well. Fast forward 12 months to him having all of his teeth (yes, even his two-year molars) and we thought hey, maybe we can handle this now!
Enter the Terrible Twos. On multiple occasions, we were told that two isn't bad, and three is worse. Then again warned as we rounded the corner to his fourth birthday. I will say with utmost confidence that age four has been the toughest yet for a number of reasons. The biggest being partially the fault of the adults, which is he is striving for independence that we really ingrained into him starting at an early age. While it is amazing to see him excel at crazy levels, it's also incredibly frustrating for our household at times. We all (yes -- myself, my husband and my son) want to be in charge, in control, and always right.
It doesn't work that way... you all know that, right? Well, can you remember us? Because we forget A LOT.
Tonight after our son was exhibiting a particularly negative attitude (back talking, "no", hitting, spitting... parents, you are holding a glass up for me at this point, right?), I decided to grab my camera and head outside for a really quick walk. One that I was hoping would result in some answers as to "why". My first mistake was forgetting that, simply. he is four years old. He doesn't know why, he just does it, acts like it, sounds like it, because it seems like a great idea. My second mistake was taking on a walk an already misbehaving, grouchy child on a walk where I was in charge, knowing full well it wasn't going to end in big hugs, kisses, loving words and skipping back inside singing Hakuna Matata and going to bed without a fight.
Instead, it resulted in being upset because I wouldn't let him go talk to the neighbor girls. Because I didn't walk all the way to the stop sign. Because he didn't get to see the bug. Because I stepped on his rock. Because I knocked the bug out of his hand. Because he kept dropping America (his best friend/stuffed patriotic-looking dog).
Simply, because he is four.
I did get the answer I wanted tonight, it just wasn't in the way I had envisioned. He is growing up and trying to figure out this thing we call life, that even at 31 I still don't have figured out. He is trying to grow up faster than his mom wants, and his mom doesn't handle it well. He is showing he can do things, because he wants his parents to be proud of his accomplishments... always.
The night ended with a hysterical crying fest which lasted roughly 20 minutes from coming inside all the way to getting into bed. Once I got him in bed and got the lights turned off, I just wrapped my arms around him and let him cry. And cry he did. After he started to settle down, I set his ear on my chest so he could listen to my heart beat. He stopped crying long enough to ask me what that noise was. "Honey, that's my heartbeat. You used to listen to that all day long." He grinned and said, "I did, even when I was a baby!" There is so much innocence in that mind and those eyes, which again reminds me that he is just a little boy. He has so much more growing to do, and these years will be the days I long for when he is a teenager and off on his own adventures.
So for now, I pray that God gives us the guidance we need to direct him in the way He intended and do my best to execute His will. Oh, and watch him try to hit me.