Transition

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Do people change? Can you change someone else? Can you change yourself?

I’ve always answered any of these questions with a definite NO. End of story. I could hear mom’s unarguable statement of “all four of my kids have had their personalities since birth” repeat any time I stumbled upon a situation that explored these questions. The whole psychology debate over nature vs. nurture wasn’t even a debate to me. Four kids growing up in the exact same environment, being parented in the same manner all “turn out” completely different.

It’s as if I accepted people for all having their own innate soul and mind- never to be swayed or adjusted outside of what they each were in their originality.

That NO gained more backup as I found myself drowning in the sea of what if’s that ultimately lead to the decision of leaving my marriage at 24. “People never change.” How many times did I hear that! And how many times did I agree.

Here I sit now, 26, transitioning. Myself is, in a very real way, changing- changing in a way that before I didn’t think happened to people. Uncovering an open mind I didn’t know I had for most of my life. Sure I was accepting of other people and appreciated differences, always considering myself humanitarian, but now I’m realizing that same open mind has potential to be an even deeper, thorough disposition take on my ownself and not just towards others. The values I’ve prided myself on are changing shape. And all for the better. However, my core remains. And by that I mean wanting to do good. Wanting to be good and wanting to share good in its most basic, fundamental way possible.

A lover of all things kind.

I’ve said before that becoming a mother constructed a more enhanced version of myself. A transition. Thinking further, feeling deeper. Living in every minute instead of just passing by.

That was a transition within a transition. A big one nonetheless, but a small one within the realm of becoming who I always was.

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Turning two

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Someone pinch me.

The phrase, “in the blink of an eye” has never been so apparent until now. My sweet boy is two years old.

It’s been two whole years since my life was changed. I wrote a post earlier on the night Holden was born being both the best and worst night of my life. As the days have come and gone since that night, my memories of the night have shifted completely. All of the horrific instances where nothing had gone right, the unnecessary physical pain, the trauma… I remember there being a great amount all of that, but the specifics are pretty hazy these days.

What I remember vividly is the first time I laid eyes on him. His arms reached out terrified, eyes wide open. I believe I said it was as though he needed me from the beginning.

And he did. Given the plethora of issues we faced together.

Nowadays, Holden is one strong-willed, independent two. Some days I feel more like his janitor than I do his mom now that he is in search-and-destroy mode. That raw, original need for me has dwindled, as he now thinks he can do everything on his own.

Well, that need hasn’t completely vanished per say. The other day he was walking down the hall, big shottin’ it. He lifted one leg, grunted, kept walking but glanced at me and pointed to the back of his diaper and said “Guh.” Yep, he still needs me.

Nevertheless, his needs for me these days are more custodial. Not mommy-baby, rock-you-to-sleep-while-I-sing-to-you needs. The needs I miss much.

Even though I miss that time, I’m relieved he is a toddler. I’m relieved he is finding his way, making choices, discovering what he can and can’t do. Though, it’s not like his choices are big-time, real-life choices. They’re big-time for a toddler, like what snack are we having this afternoon. Raisins or blueberries? He most always would choose raisins. Mix some goldfish in the options though and he’s got himself a brainfart.

As I sit here and contemplate how he needs me, and how it’s much less than what it used to be, I realize the roles are reversing. It’s like I need him more than he needs me. I’m not happy unless he is happy. Happy and fed, something which we seem to be struggling with during these toddler days.

Still, I’m making decisions- do I send him to school full-time? Where will he go to school? Is speech therapy working? How should I place his car seat? What’s he going to eat for lunch? How do I effectively discipline him? Answering all these questions in the best interest of Holden gives me purpose. Ensuring that he is happy, healthy, and thriving is my priority. He gives me purpose. And when Holden feels valuable because of it all, then my purpose was fulfilled. My need for Holden to feel valuable is what’s constant no matter what age.

The feeling of feeling valuable- “I am a valuable person”- is essential to mental health and is a cornerstone of self-discipline. It is a direct product of parental love. Such a conviction must be gained in childhood; it is extremely difficult to acquire during adulthood. Conversely, when children have learned through the love of their parents to feel valuable, it is almost impossible for the vicissitudes of adulthood to destroy their spirit. -M. Scott Peck