Whether we are naturally apt or not, as parents we are also our children’s first teachers. Either you’ve heard this yourself, or have come to realize this and its importance over the course of your offspring’s informative years. It’s nothing short of amazing to see your babies grow into little kids, observing the people, things, world around them, followed by their curiosity at and for virtually everything, followed by gaining knowledge of as much as they can, and sometimes very quickly.
Equally amazing — and often more surprising, enlightening — are the lessons our children put to us, in their innocence and learning process what we end up getting taught, too or instead.
Two majorly important components of life that my daughter has been (re)teaching me since her conception (but definitely not the only lessons that she has given me!) are love and patience. Certainly, to love your child is a much different love — and a much more firmly bonded love — than any other affection ever shared with another human. To have that particular love reciprocated, for me, is like being over the moon. There are days that end with me feeling like I wasn’t a good enough mother to her in those hours, that I could have done more or better. But then I remember how she greets me in the a.m. (Good morning, Momma!!) and the bounty of kisses and hugs that I receive from her throughout each day. I recall how she sometimes smiles at me for no obvious reason. Among so many other little but deep things. Funny, when she was a baby, I was concerned that she didn’t love me and never would. In any case, aside from the love between parent and child residing in its own class, my little lady reminds me over and over again just by her very existence how love is vital and essential. Re-learning love has made me not only have more appreciation for those that I love who also love me, but also for instances that I might have otherwise taken for granted, might have instead suffered seeing their flight after they were already gone.
Unfortunately, I didn’t come into this world with very much patience. Worse yet, it took me a long time to admit it and try to address it. Nothing like becoming a mother to amend that. You either learn to have it — which is extremely helpful and healthy for everyone in your home — or you don’t. Not only has Motherhood itself put me through my paces on this, but my daughter herself has enlightened me whenever I’ve been in need of a reality check. The most recent noteworthy anecdote happened on January 28 (I wrote it down to share with you because it was humorous, and because my three-year-old has a knack for respectfully putting me in my place). When her bedtime rolls around, I normally help her through her routine. Sometimes, I am eager to get to the activities that I want to do, but didn’t get to do earlier that day, week, whatever. This particular night, I was eager to the point of impatience. She decided while brushing her teeth that she had had enough of me. She said, “I know Mommy!” (Short pause). “Mommy, I’m almost done.” (Then bending at the knees and pointing with much deliberateness) “You need to sit on the toilet (to wait for her)!” Well, now. I was struck. By the hilarity of a seriously pissed off three-year-old, but more by the blindness that my impatience causes me. So, I shut up. I sat there for a second. Then I said to her, “Honey, I’m really sorry. I was being impatient. I’m here if you need help.” And we were fine from there.
We are growing together, and I hope that we continue. Not only she and I, but also our family unit that includes her dad as well, and her close relationship with him. After all, I am not sure what her school years will be like — and am even fairly terrified about it — so certainly it will take some individual growth on my part in order to guide her through. I know that the person that I am now has no clue on how to even start dealing with all that. Obviously, I need to become whichever version of me that it will take. In the same vein, I sometimes feel excited about the possibilities, the experiences we could share, the friendship that we could have when she reaches her adulthood.
In the meantime, I keep putting the focus on trying to be the best mother — and teacher — that I can for her, while keeping an open mind for the flashes of wisdom that my little daughter already possesses and bestows upon me.
“Perhaps children are in this world because we as grown-ups have so much left to relearn.” – Joshua Becker from his book, Clutterfree with Kids