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