I don't think that I was ready to be a parent. Maybe no one can ever really be ready?
E came along and I fell apart. My saintly husband kept us all alive and afloat. At about the 13 month mark, things began to turn around a bit.
I'll admit, that first year was a bit hazy. I don't really remember much about each of his milestones, except that they continued to be met. I feel so very guilty about that. He rolled, cooed, sat, crawled with one knee down and one knee up in the air. He pulled to stand, cruised and then ran. He wore out shoes and scraped his knees and one day, things started to get better.
I started to notice the things he was teaching me, mainly unconditional love and forgiveness.
There are times I lose my patience and raise my voice. Usually because he is doing something a typical three year old does. He is learning about his world in the best ways he knows how. He asks questions, millions of them. He asks for help, over and over for things that he can already do. He makes mistakes, he forgets his words, he wants to "help" me make dinner. It is in these moments when I know that I can't take one more moment of whining, that I "need" to get dinner or laundry or cleaning done. I get exasperated and I tell him to "stop". His lip quivers and he says, "are you happy?" And it makes me feel so small and awful, the parenting failure of the year.
He is being a normal three year old and I am being a grouchy mom.
It is cliche and it is true, the laundry, dishes, floors, bathroom counters, they can all wait. He is three now, today, in this moment. We will never get this day back. I must remember to take a deep breath and pause. When I am on the brink of telling him to "knock it off" I will look at him and tell him I love him like crazy.
Because that is what we say at our house.
I will think it in my head and I will tell him. I never want him to be uncertain of this fact. He is loved and it is amazing.
Oh, what we could all learn from toddlers.
Lesson One - Unconditional Love
In my less-than-mom-of-the-year moments, I get frustrated, my voice raises, I tell him, "if I have to tell you again, I am coming over there to help you." I plop him on the floor for his mini time out and he cries. I silently chastise myself to remember that he is not a tiny version of a grown up, that he actually does not know better. He typically tries to correct his behavior and he forgives instantly. He asks if I am happy and then tells me whether or not he is happy and immediately throws himself into my lap regardless of the answer. He plants kisses on my face and says "I just needed you". He melts my heart and I need him too.