Mother's Day is right around the corner and I am proud to say that I have been in the mommy club for almost five years. Most of the time, I am bursting at the seams with pride at my little guy's accomplishments. He's changed by leaps and bounds since he was born and I would like to think that he has changed me for the better too.
Sure, there have been rough spots. As an infant, there was the projectile vomiting, the waking up daily at 5:45 a.m., the never ending diaper changes. Then as a toddler, there was the worry about when he would walk and whether he would ever learn to count to ten as he was insistent on skipping the number 6 ("I no like six", the eighteen month old Jonathan would announce emphatically). Most recently, we have battled over back talk and eating dinner. And over not running through the house screaming and crying when you don't get your way. We've also dealt with some resistance to committing to memory the letters S, K, G and N.
These frustrations sometimes cause me to question my ability as a parent and whether I am adequately equipped to deal with this strong willed little creature. But then I will get to school to pick Jonathan up after a long day and he will run to me with a handful of weeds that he has assembled for me, thrusting them at me with one hand as he embraces my leg in a hug with the other arm and I think, this is what motherhood is all about. THIS is why they have sappy Mother's Day cards out the wazoo at Hallmark.
When you are contemplating being a mother and even when you are actually pregnant, no one tells you that being a mother is, a lot of times, quite far from the ideallyic images of flowers and rainbows we women have in our heads prior to taking the motherhood plunge. What no one tells you is that sometimes your child will do or say something that makes you wonder who is this alien creature who grew in your body but whom surely must be the spawn of Satan. I suppose that, as an intelligent woman, I should have known this fact but then something happens that will totally blow me away, marking me as the the mother whose child did THAT.
Case in point--I just found out this morning that my dear sweet cherub faced son told a friend at school that he hated her and never wanted to play with her again. This little girl is the sweetest little thing you have ever seen. She and Jonathan went to day care together as infants and switched to their current preschool at the same time last year. Even worse, her parents are good friends of Bryan and mine. They are an all around lovely family. When I found out that Jonathan said this to her, I was mor.ti.fied. I wanted to believe that there had been some sort of mistake. But when I asked him, I knew he was guilty as his eyes immediately welled up with tears. Bryan and I had to explain to him that you never, NEVER, NEVER say something like that to anyone, that it was a mean thing to do and that he had hurt his friend's feelings. We told him that he needed to apologize to her this morning and, most of all, that he needed to be nice to everyone at school and pretty much in the entire world.
This was not exactly how I wanted to spend my morning.
What I think is lacking in the gagillions of parenting books and articles that I have perused during the time from when Jonathan was a two week old mass of cells until now when he is a full fledged person is that people are not born with inherent manners or even any real idea of how to interact in the world. While I have worried about Jonathan's academic achievements as well as his physical growth and development, I have not been as concerned about his growth as a person, his ability to be a kind and compassionate human being--I thought it would just happen. And honestly, I'd rather have a child who cares about others, who knows how to make friends and who makes an overall positive contribution to the lives of those around him than a child who is the valedictorian of his graduating class (OK, I want that too, but if I have to choose one...)
While I am sure that Jonathan will do and say many things over the coming years that will mortify me, I love the little guy unconditionally. This whole motherhood business is not exactly what I expected it to be, but I could not have asked for a better child to travel with me along the journey.
I just hope he gets over this mean streak :)