When my son looks back on his childhood, I want him to remember snuggly Sunday mornings filled with homemade cinnamon rolls and movie marathons. I want him to remember autumn afternoons spent with family in the backyard, swinging so high it’s as if his toes might touch the clouds, the smell of hotdogs on the grill. I want him to reminisce fondly about this football game, or that trip to the zoo, or the evening we caught fireflies by moonlight. My hope is for him to look back and know he was loved, beyond measure, and be happy for it all.
Some days it is harder than others, to be the perfect parent he deserves. My nerves may be frazzled from constant demands and lack of sleep. My patience wanes after the two-hundredth time of explaining, guiding, teaching. We may struggle learning the concepts of “please” and “no.” There have been tears shed — his and mine — as we test boundaries and try new things.
I am in awe of his courage, his intelligence, his eagerness to learn. I strive, every single day, to quench that thirst for knowledge. And I worry everyday that I am failing. We sing, we recite the alphabet, we count everything in sight and still — he wants more. I fall into bed every night and replay those teaching moments on repeat. Did I do enough today? Could I have been better? Should I do that differently? How can I be the best Mom I can be?
In the end, my goal as a Mom is that one day, in the not so distant future, he will remember mud pies and long games of tag and splashing in the surf. That he will remember the Board Game Olympics and Mario Kart matches and epic pretend Stormtrooper battles with his Dad. He will remember how much we laughed. And that he won’t dwell too much on the days I lost my temper and shouted, or the minutes spent in timeout for biting the cat, or the restricted screen time he doesn’t know yet is for his own good. I can only hope that these lessons of kindness and respect and manners will, in the end, be appreciated by the man he becomes. And that the silly knock-knock jokes, and the required family dinners, and the ticklefests will enrich the fabric of his childhood.
In the meantime, I will have an extra cup of coffee to stave off the sleepies. I will take a deep breathe and explain, again, that yelling to get what he wants is much less effective than asking. And I will make sure my face lights up every time he sees me, so he knows how glad I am to see him (even though it’s 5 a.m. on a Sunday.) Because he deserves the best mother in the entire world, and even on days when I feel less than, it’s my job to give him everything I have and more.