Lately, I have found myself often thinking: I am so proud of you. I think it when I hear you say a new word, or ask me an intricate question, or answer my questions appropriately. A personal favorite of mine is the other day when I asked you what your favorite color is. You said, “grey.” “Green?” “No. Grey.” You said it with such certainty that I believe you actually understand the concept of having a favorite of something. It might not seem like a big deal to others. But to me, it is. After years of asking questions and having them simply repeated back to me, or ignored, or met with a blank stare, to be able to have a conversation with you about your favorite things makes my heart swell with love and pride.
I think it when I see you sharing toys with your sister, showing kindness to your cousins and friends, and choosing to use your strength to help rather than hurt. I think it when you surprise me yet again with how far you have come at mealtime: you are eating (and enjoying!) all kinds of meat, green beans, soup– almost anything we put in front of you these days. I can hardly believe it.
I could go on and on. You are growing up and maturing right before my eyes. And I am so proud of you.
Now, I want to share a little bit of what I’ve learned from you in these nearly 4.5 years:
How to drag a defiant screaming toddler through a grocery store with a straight face while not catching people’s judgmental stares. And I mean, literally, drag.
I have a lot less control than I’d like to think.
You are much more brilliant than I give you credit for.
Your creativity, the way you see the world and want to understand and conquer it, is a little terrifying at times. Particularly when we are in public.
You could never be explained by advice or anecdotes from friends, Google searches, or most books. And that’s okay. At some point I stopped trying to become an expert at parenting and started trying to become an expert at YOU. Once I got to know you better it became less scary and the answers were more clear.
You are one surprise after another. Good and hard.
I wouldn’t change a thing. For as much as you put me through especially in your toddler years– for all the screaming battles and that kicking phase and the climbing and jumping and times I have had to crawl up a slide — while pregnant — to make you get off the playground and seasons where all you would eat was peanut butter toast and goldfish and all the tears that trying to potty train you has caused– I am a much better person for it. Much more humble, much more okay with the unknown, and taking myself much less seriously.
I’ve gone from feeling lonely, because of potty training and speech therapy and intense screaming fits and severe separation anxiety at church drop off and extreme defiance…
to feeling lucky. Like your amazing drawings, interesting and unique charm, unparalleled imagination, strength and coordination and courage and adventurous spirit. Out of all the four year olds in the world, I only have eyes for you, you and your big beautiful eyes, squishy nose and cheeks and heart-melting smile.
And I am so proud of the boy you are becoming. I am so proud to be your mom.