A month ago, my son turned 10, and in the time since, I have been reflecting on just how much I have received in the lessons learned in these ten years; for him life and for me, a decade of Momming. Parenting. Learning. Stumbling. Loving. Questioning. Doubting. Knowing. Crying. Savoring.
I can remember looking at myself in the mirror, when pregnant, staring at that face looking back at me, and telling the woman in the mirror: You are going to be a mom. You will have this little person who is going to need you. There will be feet running through this house soon. You are going to be a mother. YOU. YOU? You can barely keep a house plant alive, just how do you plan to do this?
Looking back, I recall all of the cliches that have been shared with me over the years. And, they are all true: It’s a wonderful experience. It’s the toughest job you will ever have. You will never love anyone as much as your child. It all goes by so fast, appreciate each moment. You think you are tired now?
I have had all of that. And more.
…I, for the first time, see myself in another.
…I stop dead in my tracks on some days when I remember that I am not raising a child, I am raising a PERSON.
…I am humbled by this person, and a few years ago I stood back and looked at him and could see him as not just my son, but as someone I would want to know if I were not his mom.
…This person has a sense of humor that rivals many adults I know; the spark in his eye and the cackle in his laugh emerged at the ripe old age of 3 weeks.
…This person has a wise old soul that understands – and articulates thoughts – that make me wonder where he’s been all these years.
…This person has a threshold of emotion that manifests itself outwardly in ways that matches mine, on the inside. I am proud of him for feeling safe and secure to not hold back, hard as it is on some days.
…This person has a brain that works in all directions; its only a matter of time before it’s going in circles around mine.
…This person pushes my buttons, tests my patience, wears me out and turns me inside out.
…This person knows me; warts and all. And loves me.
…This person has taught me more than I knew there was to learn.
I know without question that I am a better, stronger, wiser, woman for having this now still little, but shifting – if only barely perceptibly – right before my very eyes, into this amazing person to call my son.
I have had to learn to dig deep to find the patience in my core, because I want this person to feel safe in who he is.
I have learned to learn to stop and listen and ask, so that he knows that no matter what, he can trust me. About anything. Anytime.
I have learned to say yes as much as possible; and to mean it when I say no.
It is clear to me that no matter how much I dig hanging out, rocking-out or laughing until our bellies ache with my son, I am here to be his parent, not his friend. He has his. I have mine.
I have come to recognize myself in new ways because this person mirrors my best and worst.
I have learned that I love us both more for that.
To the next ten…