Thursday, April 28, 2011

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be My Kid

Some days, I don't know who's raising who around here - am I teaching the Reds or are they teaching me?

Sometimes, I am less than kind. Sometimes, I have no patience and pitch petulant, ugly tantrums because things haven't gone my way and no one is listening to me and I am picking up dinky cars yet AGAIN.

When the boys throw a fit (Luke) or whine because they aren't getting their way (Matthew) or they stand at my elbow, tugging and begging for attention (both), I am quick to scold, to scorn, to lash out.

But, in that awesome way of children, they shine a light on the witch I can sometimes be and God help me, it's an ugly sight indeed.


I was drying Luke after his bath - rushing through our nightly routine and speaking in clipped tones.  Matthew appeared, and rightfully pointed out that I was using HIS towel to dry his brother, at which point Luke - naturally - melted down. I growled at both of them and then, not-quite-under-my-breath, muttered nastily, "Leave it to your brother to stir the pot."

Matthew froze. When I raised a quizzical eyebrow and then narrowed my gaze icily, he lifted his chin and said, "You shouldn't talk about your son that way, Mummy. It's not nice."

I set my jaw stubbornly. "Really, Matthew?" (Oozing sarcasm) "What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means that you shouldn't talk that way. You always tell me to think about what I say before I say it. You should think about things, too. You're not talking nicely about me."

Big, HUGE pause for that absolutely shameful truth to settle around us. Even Luke stilled, knowing that something important was happening.

I took a deep breath. Faced my son.

"You're right, Matthew. You're absolutely right. I AM being mean and I'm sorry."

"It's ok, Mummy. You're learning, too."

Sometimes, I don't deserve to be their mother. I am so very glad that they forgive me my many failings. Without these little people, I would be entirely lost.

Every day they show me, in a thousand different ways, who I want to be when I grow up.

*Do your children inspire you? Who do you want to be?*


  1. Oh that brings tears to my eyes. They do teach us so much- about what unconditional love really means, about compassion and they give us a sense of perspective. What I always find most touching is when one is being punished for picking on the other one the one who was being picked on always rushes to sit next to them in time out, wipe their tears and give them a hug. Unconditional love. You might have just pushed me out of the way so you could win the race but i'll sit here with you and not eat my cookie until you are out of time out. How many of us would do that?

  2. I wish I could say that I would, but honestly? I'd have run off and eaten the cookie.

    The Reds are far kinder. Thank God for that. And for them.

  3. Ohhhhhhhh. So like my evening, when I was ranting at my youngest for pooping his pants for the second time in an hour. I got him all showered off and scrubbed the bathroom and yelled at myself for being so upset about poop when people died in tornadoes yesterday. As I was toweling him off, with a scowl engraved into my face, he looked me in the eye and asked, "Mommy, are you happy?"

    "No, I'm not happy."

    *sigh* I guess it's good that these kids are here to point those things out to us. I guess.

    Did someone say cookies?

  4. Tornadoes DO put things into perspective, don't they? It's so easy to get caught up in our own daily drama, though. Well, easy for me. And if I don't have any, I make some up....

  5. Melanie (that one!)May 18, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    You know what I LOVE about your blog? Not only do I get to enjoy your lovely writing, I also get to learn right along side of you. I'm quite new to being a step-mom and sometimes I find myself losing my patience very quickly. You are definitely helping me learn to be more patient. Thanks for sharing!

  6. It's village child-rearing without the village here at the House of Leprechaun. Like I say to the Reds, "Do as I SAY, not as I DO."

    They force me to face the ugly side of myself and change what I DO, so that it matches what I SAY. Not easy, but it's a learning process, for every mother - bio/step/foster. We're all in this together.

    Thank you, Mel!