My Four Foot Mirror
People often tell me what an amazing mother I am, but believe or not, I never wanted to be a mom. As an only child I couldn’t foresee relinquishing my egocentric view of the world to focus on someone else for a lifetime. To my surprise, I was happy when I found out I was pregnant. I knew my priorities had to change and I began making mental notes of all the wrongs from my childhood that I was going to make right with my son.
In two months he will be five, and I have no idea where the time has gone. Over the last two years I have received some major life lessons from a 4-foot sage with spiraled locks and hazel eyes. Lessons in unconditional love…like the time he was getting scolded and blurted out “I love you” in an attempt to calm my temper. When I responded, “I love you too but…” he wasn’t afraid to let me know he didn’t like the word but. At 4 years old he already knew that when a positive statement is followed by the word ‘but’ everything that comes after it is often how you truly feel. Everything before it becomes a subtle attempt to maintain a noble intention that you really are not trying to be facetious. Just yesterday I was reminded that no matter how hard I try there would always going to be parts of my mother that will force their way through no matter how hard I tried to stifle them. Some parents wouldn’t bat an eye after hearing their child say they are always wrong and mommy is always right, but for me it was a reality check.
The reality of parenting today is that children should be seen and heard. It is never too early to start a dialogue with your child to provide an environment in which they feel comfortable. In this space, they can respectfully share their thoughts and feelings with you. This generation is wise beyond their years, and as parents we will never be so far above them that we can’t for example, learn basic principles of interpersonal relationships from a toddler. The little golden nuggets of wisdom my son has given me, provide comfort and reassurance that I am moving in the right direction. Every so often I lose that internal battle of righting those childhood wrongs, but then I feel a tug at my pant leg. When I look down, there is my 4-foot mirror looking up at me. I see my reflection, take note of my imperfections, listen for wisdom, and then say I love you too. Except this time there is no but.