A Promise to My Ten Year Old Son
Spoiler Alert: I always want to share my good mom moments with you – who doesn’t, right? But, this post is about a big mom fail for me and the lessons gained after an argument with my son. I’m practicing being present with my boys (and all my relationships) during challenging times and finding it such a growth opportunity for all of us. Learning how to live in the moment with your kids is an amazing gift to give both them and yourself. As moms, we are not perfect. But simple tips like this – how to be present in your life, mindfulness, and learning to live in the moment – can not only strengthen your connections with your children, but it can profoundly impact your life and the life of your child.
This boy of mine. This gentle, sensitive, caring boy. He’s ten and he’s starting to break my heart.
Today I Forgot
Forgive me son, today I forgot. I forgot that you are now ten. Double digits.
I forgot that, at ten, you can yell, grunt, and eye roll with the best of them, but your soft and gentle heart hardens just a bit each time I yell back.
At ten, you’re learning to deal with the sudden eruptions of your own baffling emotions, but I forgot that your sensitive spirit still feels unsafe when I allow mine to overwhelm me.
I forgot that, at ten, you’ve learned to hurl hurtful words, but despite how smart you are, you haven’t yet learned how to pull them back when you don’t mean them. You will eventually understand the power of your words and you will chose them more wisely once you learn they can’t be un-heard and that their scars heal slowly, if at all.
But Today I Know
And so I remind myself that it’s time for me to be the mother you need today and I need to let go of the mother you needed yesterday. This is how I’m living in the moment.
Just yesterday, a sip of water and my hugs could fix everything wrong in your world.
Today, I know that you need me to listen more than I fix. Being present in the moment has taught me that.
It seems like yesterday that you lost a LEGO and begged me to find it for you.
Today, I know that when you tell me about your precious lost Pokemon card you want empathy and understanding more than toy location skills.
It seems like yesterday that you always wanted me to do it for you – because you thought I could do it better or faster.
Today, I know that you would rather do things on your own terms rather than have me do it for you.
I know that you are uncomfortable in your own skin right now. You’re uncomfortable with feelings you don’t understand. When you are being present with yourself, you feel them more. But then they also leave sooner.
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I Want You To Know
But today I want you to know that I’m uncomfortable in my new skin right now too – now that I fix less and pull back more.
And today I want you to know that I will always tell you that overwhelming feelings are completely normal. As awful as they sometimes seem, we all have them. They suck. They ebb and flow yet we must move through them.
And I want you to know that, while we always have to walk through what’s uncomfortable – we were never meant to do it alone. I will be down there with you in the muck of those uncomfortable feelings.
And today I want you to know that it’s my job not to break down with you. I’m supposed to be stronger than you are. It’s not my job to react, but to respond thoughtfully and intentionally and with empathy and kindness.
I know, too, that sometimes I screw it up. I’m sorry for that. But I want you to know I’m trying every bit as hard as you are to adjust to our new normal.
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I Must Model The Importance of Being Present
But I have to make right now better. Literally, I’m writing this as I calm down and take a quiet moment for myself so that I can get back in the ring with you.
This morning I pushed too hard. I was half-asleep and under caffeinated, yet neither excuse my behavior.
I promised myself to come to you more often. And I will come to you even when you push me away.
I will come to you especially when you tell me that you most definitely want to be alone.
And I will come to you despite the fact that you screamed, “I want to be alone. You want to know what I want to do? I want to be alone!”
And do you know why I will come? Because I’ve learned from you.
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Learning to Live In The Moment
I’ve learned that when you make me the most angry, I am seeing a mirror reflection of the things I dislike most about myself. We are so alike, you and me. Being present and learning how to live in the moment with you as often as possible reminds me of this.
People tend to push loved ones away before they hurt us.
As I replayed this morning’s “conversation” in my head, I realized that’s exactly what we did. This morning you felt my push and I felt yours. You probably sensed my sleepy de-caff state. And you pushed me away before I could hurt you. And I did the same.
But you need to know that my love for you will hold stronger than any visible bonds. My love for you will hold no matter what you do.
And so, I will collect myself and I will come to you. We will sit with each other deep in the muck of our uncomfortable feelings.
I will stay present with you. “Staying present, then, means staying here – right here…to the experience of profound attention and a direct experience of the moment that we’re in.” (cite)
And then we will rekindle our connection and feel its depth.
And we will remember what was briefly forgotten, learn more about one another, and talk about these things that I want you to know.
My promise to you is that me love will hold. Always. And I pray that yours will as well.
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