As parents, the narcissistic side of human nature is always looking for similarities in our children to ourselves. Whether it be looks, expressions, or personality traits, we want our kids to be little versions of us.
I try to make a conscious effort to let my kids be themselves, but sometimes there is just no denying that they are mine!
This morning Leah bounded into my bed, waking up not only me, but her little brother as well.
Christopher blinked blearily at her and let out a long, whiny “Mmmmmm.” He then closed his eyes and drifted back to sleep. Oh yes, he is his mother’s son!
He loves his sleep!
That is a line from the show Parenthood on NBC. I love it. That is how I feel. I have no use for drama in my life and I try my best to stay out of it, especially when it comes to family. I love them fiercely and would take their side and defend them against anyone, but how do you do that when it is against other family? I try to be the one who listens comforts without really taking a side. Don’t get me wrong- I can gossip and talk shit with the best of them, but it is something I try to avoid because I want to instill in my children the importance of your family.
Lately I have had some great opportunities to show my kids how important our extended family is and how we can work to spend time with our loved ones. For years it has a been a tradition that my Grandma’s cousin and her husband throw an Easter brunch. They always had tons of food, an egg hunt for the children, and most importantly great company and warm memories. This year they made the decision not to do it any longer. It is a lot of work and they are getting older.
I was quick to volunteer to do Easter brunch at my home. Sure, we could have let the tradition die and all did separate things, but then Easter would be just another day, albeit one with a basket full of chocolate. We are not religious, but Easter to me is a great holiday for the simple reason that it means a family get-together.
Never having made brunch before, or even cooked for that many people, I was a bit nervous and overwhelmed. But as I called each family to invite them, I became more and more sure of myself. Everyone brought something and everyone pitched in. That morning Leah was super excited to look for her basket, but I was happy to note that she was even more excited for our family to arrive. I watched her run around with her cousins collecting eggs, and I watched as my son was passed around. People mingled and chatted and hugged and ate, and it was a beautiful day where we made a beautiful memory with the simple act of keeping a tradition alive.
Leah: Mommy, I really miss Max and Ruby. Don’t you miss having cable?
Me: Sometimes. But it saves us a lot of money to not have it, and we still have Netflix to watch tv.
Leah: It costs a lot of money for cable?
Me: Yes. Way too much just to watch tv.
Leah: Oh mommy, you’ve had the solution to this problem all along- me!
Me: What do you mean you??
Leah: I will start training to be a pop star, and soon I will make just as much money as Daddy! And then I’ll pay for the cable.
Oh, well why on Earth didn’t I think of that?
It happened. It was bound to happen at some point, but still it shook me up. My little boy got hurt/scared today. Not only that, but it was my little girl’s fault. He was playing on his play mat very happily, and she leaned over it to talk to him. Wanting to play with her brother, Leah grabbed one of the hanging toys, but then she accidentally let go of it and it came swinging back and hit Christopher in the face. It was purely by accident, and it was a soft toy and did not really hurt him, but it scared him and he screamed. I was sitting right there and immediately snatched my baby up to comfort him.
My very first instinct was to yell at Leah. It didn’t matter that she is one of my babies- she hurt my other baby and I wanted to cry and yell and blame. But, I didn’t. I took a deep breath, and spent a moment calming Christopher down. It took surprisingly long considering that he was not actually hurt.
I then turned to look at Leah, and saw the look of terror mixed with remorse that was on her face. And then I remembered all the times I accidentally bumped her head getting her into the car or even on a wall walking by. I am sure those times are to come with Christopher as well. As much as we want to be Super Mom and never see our kids hurt, it happens to the best of us. We feel horrible, but they are okay.
I assured Leah that it was just an accident, and that while she needs to be careful with the little guy, he was not hurt and she was not in trouble. She buried her face in the couch for a moment, but then I showed her that he was okay and encouraged her to give him a kiss. We all moved on, crises averted, and I hugged both of my sweet babies.
When I was a little girl and one of my toys broke I would bring it to my Dad, who always found a way to mend it. He would ask me, “What can Daddies fix?” and I would answer, “Anything!” I remember the first time I had a broken heart and he told me how sad he was that he can’t fix everything anymore.
I never thought I would be experiencing that feeling when my daughter is only four. My husband and I have diligently fixed everything from Barbie heads and legs, to scraped knees. But today, for the first time, I was not able to fix something for Leah.
I took her to the playground because it is one of the first beautiful days here in NY. Because it is Spring break, there were tons of kids there. Many of them were older, but a few were her age. She found three little girls who she tried desperately to play with, but they kept brushing her off. I watched it all happen from where I sat with Christopher in the shade, but there was nothing I could do. If I was the type of mom to say something (which I am not) it would not have taught my daughter a thing. But still, this was a lesson that I didn’t really want her to learn.
She followed them around for a good half hour (she is determined), but to no avail. The girls kept walking away from her. When we came home, she tearfully told me that she just wanted to play with them, but they told her the tree they were sitting under was private and she could have her very own rock, about 100 yards away from them. What could I do? What could I say to make it better?
I told Leah that she is an awesome little girl. There will be kids who will play with her and be her friend and that is amazing. But there will also be kids who are not willing to let in an outsider, and when that happens those kids are the ones missing out. She smiled sadly. She understood what I meant, but it didn’t take away the sting of rejection.
I guess I handled it to the best of my ability. As a mom, we all think our own kid is great and it is hard to fathom that anyone would not want to know them. Moms and Dads, how would you have handled it?
Leah informed me today that the voices in her head were arguing with one another. I figured it was something she heard on tv. Later, however, she randomly started laughing.
“What’s so funny?” I asked.
“One of the voices in my head just told me a really funny joke!”
Tonight I asked Leah to tell me about her day. She immediately broke out into song. She musically described her entire day to me, complete with dramatic inflections.
My daughter is amazing.