Photo: Ursa Major at his annual “well baby” check-up yesterday at the pediatrician. The Husband said, “you need to stop calling it that” and Major agreed. “I’m not a baby anymore!” I know, baby. I know. But… well, baby, you are. So there. I took this photo because it reminded me of a photo I took some six years ago in this very same exam room.
7 is really, seriously, hurting my feelings.
Last night, I had to go to a very important meeting. I put on a new black dress (which I’ll write more about next week) which had white detailing around the neck and the wrists. I’d put my hair up in little balls and a headband to keep things neat, put on my editorial glasses and my best jewelry. I was looking for competent, yet approachable.
When the boys saw me heading out the door, they were amazed by the transformation. “Mama! You look like a judge! Are you a judge or something?” Major asked. He was scooping ropa vieja into his mouth.
“I’m not a judge. That would have been cool, though. When I was your age, I wanted to be a judge when I grew up.”
“But, you didn’t…” Minor said with a smirk. He wasn’t actually eating his food, just poking it with a fork.
I ignored the snark, gave my husband a kiss on the forehead and rounded to give the boys kisses as well.
“Mommy loves you. Be good for daddy. Make sure you do guitar. Follow directions!”
“Oh yes, Mama! We’re always good for Daddy! He’s the patient one!” Ursa Major said as I gave him a kiss.
“What? I’m plenty patient,” I said. This is a statement that doesn’t pass the smile test. Close friends who read this blog probably laughed out loud.
Ursa Major also laughed. “No, you’re not! You’re not patient! Daddy is the patient one! That’s why you don’t do bathtime, right? You’re not the patient one!”
Minor started laughing. The Husband tried to shoosh them both. Major just kept going. “What? What did I say? It’s true! Mama doesn’t like to do bathtime. She’s not the patient one!”
The Husband: “Baby, your mother loves you. Also, you should just stop talking…”
When I walked out the front door, Major was still defending himself. I just said goodbye and kept it moving.
My Quiet Thoughts are about this funny age that Major has ascended into. All that vocabulary, all of that confidence, all of that understanding, but none of the filter. This is the age where that mouth of his is going to get us all in trouble. It’s also the age where I’m going to get my first real, true motherhood report card. So far, according to Major, it would seem that I’m getting an F in patience. Judging by Minor’s laughter, I suppose they are both in agreement. Bed and bathtime, I guess, is an excellent formative assessment tool.
There are quite a few moms who would hear that and then crumble into pieces about it. How could he see me that way? Am I a horrible mother?
I’m too busy for that shit. I kept it moving.
Self-reflection did come, but the thing is, he spoke the truth: I hate bath and bedtime. I am impatient. What the boy failed to mention was the why: those two little bears use bath and bedtime to wring out all of the last of their daily ya-yas. Every game, every joke, every request, every fight, every whine, every need… it all comes out in a 30 minute period. Think of the beginning of the day as the big bang, the rest of the day as the universe expending into eternity, the dinner time before bed as the universe’s matter returning back together into a gravitational ball of energy, and bed/bathtime as the extraordinarily intense, only barely containable return to where it all began. There comes a point where I just can’t deal with it and I start yelling. So, I let The Husband do it instead.
The child isn’t wrong. He just doesn’t quite understand. Concrete reasoning trying to articulate a complex situation. I’m going to have to prepare myself for the moments when the truth really is going to hurt. I’m also going to have to teach him that the words he chooses have meaning and how they are delivered matters. I’ve been telling the boys in different circumstances, “the words that you speak mean something to me. When you speak to me, I listen.” I know that it doesn’t seem that way sometimes, but it’s true. I suspect we’re all about to learn just how true this statement really is over the next few years. For me, the most challenging discipline will have to be around remembering his age. He’s only 7. There is still so much more for him to learn.
It is a clear night here in Massachusetts and plenty cold. The waxing moon has been brilliant during the daytime and I’ve been enjoying peeking at it all week. It’s so satisfying to be here on this Friday night, with so much done and, yes, so much left undone. But that means there are more opportunities waiting for me next week. I’m here for it. Are you, Dear Reader?
What is a Friday without wishes? I wish you spontaneous celebration and dance this weekend, Dear Reader. Either because an awesome song you haven’t heard for a while pops up on your stream, or even a tune comes over the speakers in the grocery store. Wiggle, move and let go just once this weekend, Dear Reader. Celebrate the fact that you’re still here, serving, giving, thinking, being. Celebrate it with a little dance, a little song, a lot of joy. Bonus points if your spontaneous dance party happens with one or two favorite people. I wish you something fresh and crisp this weekend: perhaps a salad adorned with all the best crunchy veggies? Or maybe a wilted salad, with roasted sprouts, reduced balsamic vinegar, a little bacon for fun… life is better with bacon, Dear Reader! I wish this because ya’ll know we’re going to be eating nothing but junk next week for a certain sporting event! I wish you time to wander and a little adventure. Take a little time to find a new sight and sound to inspire you. You’ll be surprised how little you have to travel to find something surprising… something that changes the way you see the world. Be sure to take some paper and a pen. Wandering creates thoughts and thoughts should be written. I wish you wise words from something well written. Perhaps a work from Ursula K. Le Guin, who passed away this week. Or any good book, it would seem that there are quite a few good ones out right now. I wish you good, dark, hot coffee (or tea!) and someone wonderful to share it with. Tell a story, Dear Reader. Get one in return. Tell a little bit of truth, giving someone else the opportunity to tell a little bit of their truth as well.
I wish you time with yourself. To be still and to listen to your thoughts. To remember what moves you. To affirm your values. You’ve got to rejuvenate in this way sometimes, Dear Reader. That way you can be at your best when you’re out in the world. People are watching you and they care a lot about what you do. You are profoundly loved. Near and far, known and unknown. What you do matters and your good works touch more people than you could possibly know. So keep a steady gaze on your goals, walk tall and stride forward with power and grace, and be the light in the darkness that we all need. I know it’s exhausting sometimes, Dear Reader, but I hope you know just how wonderful you are.
Until Monday, dance on, sing loudly, lead confidently, walk proudly, and take care.