Maybe we all parent out of our own woundedness. I know I do. My heart remembers all that I didn't have and wished that I did. Most of my fears about being a mom come from wondering how or when I will hurt my child with my words or neglect or carelessness.
These seemingly insignificant, small moments of my childhood were the ones that ended up being the most defining moments of my story. They are these small snapshots of life. Brief encounters, barely memorable to anyone except for me. I have several scenes that looked like this as a girl. And I remember them and the lies that followed.
Since becoming a mom myself, my hope has been to minimize these scenes for my own child. To be thoughtful with my words and actions, to be present, to see and notice. Because I didn't always feel seen and noticed, especially by my mom.
The long weekend provided plenty of time with my little boy. There was coloring and swimming and book reading and ramming trucks into the wall - because that's just how we play at our house. But by the time Monday rolled around and I had a glorious day off of work, I was desperate to steal some time away to myself.
That was the day I officially decided it was okay to say no.
I realized something. I can't accept every invitation that Tommy offers me to come and play. I can't say yes to every game, every opportunity and every thing he wants me to do with him. And I've put a certain amount of pressure on myself (and Todd for that matter) to not miss it. To not miss the moments of his childhood that we'll someday wish we had back.
This touches a tender place in my heart. While I have countless memories of playtime with my dad, I only have one memory of a time like that with my mother. I remember it with such clarity, as if it happened yesterday. It's this perfect, golden memory that I've treasured for always. And I show up as this mom who wants her own children, to have more than one single memory of being played with and enjoyed.
Maybe I even say "yes" to Tommy because I get something out of it. It ends up being more about me than him. And well, that's just gross.
I decided though to let myself off the hook. There is a time to play and enjoy and accept his sweet invitations. And there is a time to say no too. There is a time for him to occupy himself and do things on his own. It's okay to not always say yes.
He will know disappointment and experience that from me. I will let him down and make him sad. I think I've been trying to keep that from happening somehow. But once again, it's all about me - where I'm wanting to feel good about myself for how I show up.
It's funny how we are supposed to be teaching our kids things at this age - yet I always feel like the one being taught. And maybe, just maybe, that's what parenthood is all about.