When Jr was little, I would lament that I’d just get used to his sleeping or eating schedule and he’d change, have new desires or requirements. Just as I’d adjust to this new, have my life working around his, he’d change. As children grow and develop they change. They need more or less food, more or less sleep, more or less touch. They may be very independent for a time, then flip to being needy, needy of closeness, nearness, knowing we were always right there. I’m a planner, and not always very, um, flexible with change. Perhaps if I had been more aware, more awake I would have anticipated his changes more readily, subtle though the transitions were. Regardless, we’re here now. Here with our teen.
My boy is now taller than me, taller than Spouse, taller than his grandparents, not quite as tall as his uncle or 2 cousins, but steadily growing. He is aware of his own needs: when he’s hungry he eats, when his teeth feel gross he brushes, when he runs out of clothes he drags the dirties to the laundry, he showers, he eventually sleeps, he gets fresh air. Quite often his schedule of need doesn’t coincide with what I think his schedule SHOULD be and this is where I get to learn, again, to relax, let go of expectation, and trust him. There are times when I step in to remind him that tomorrow has an early start, that people will be over so he might want to get the clothes off his floor, that we are going to do math today and sooner is better than later. There are still too many times, though, when I give in to my view of things; I rant, rave, then apologize, again. I wish that wasn’t true. It shames me, but when I, as we say at the Dojo “fall down 7 times” I “get up 8”. I’ve written about positive apology before and I most likely will again cause I get lots of practice doing it. “I’m sorry Buddy. That’s not the kind of mama I want to be.” He sees me trying, he sees me fail, he sees me get up and keep going.
More than ever, this is when I want to have open eyes with my son. In a blink he’ll be man-aged. I want to imprint on my heart, more than it already is, his sweetness, his quirky humor, the conversations we have about life & love, about movies & videos & games & books, often the same conversations on repeat. I want to see him as his person is, not just how I perceive him from a mother’s vantage. He’s neat. I really like him.
I’m still trying to forge some kind of so-called “work-life balance.” Is that really a thing that can be had? I get sucked into my work, all-consumed with planning, testing, writing, researching, hours in the kitchen or at the computer, often yielding results that don’t at all suit his particular tastes. I need an interjection, a mild sort of shoulder shake to remind me to stop, check-in, what’s he doing? is he having fun? does he need me but isn’t asking cause he knows I’m busy? am I too busy for him? I don’t want to be too busy for him. No job is worth that so let my words here guide my actions this evening, tomorrow morning, throughout the week. I will check in because I still get to, before change arrives again.