Since 2016 is starting with fevers, sore throats, and the family’s collective need for a good long nap, this portion of my year in review is just going to be a quick free write. Brevity is never a promise.
It’s so awesome to be little M’s mom and it’s an exciting time in her life. In 2015, she shined in gymnastics class, went to her first “real” concert, went to her first MLB game, had her first ever first day of school, enjoyed an end of summer birthday pool party, and was a darling little flower girl in her second cousin’s wedding.
This little girl is something else. I don’t like to use this space to share too much of her life, but she brings such light and joy to my world every day. She is funny and kind. She loves music, books, princesses, and Star Wars, even though she just saw parts of A New Hope last night. During that viewing, she was barely paying attention. Instead, she pretended to be Princess Leia and she needed to “save” Luke and “Prince Solo.” After watching Leia record her message to Obi Wan, she told me I was R2D2 and she needed to put a DDD (DVD) in my robot body. Finally, she became bored and created a song and dance called, “Wookie Butt.”
Three year olds are funny but they are also nice to have around for over-the-top compliments. Sometimes they are nice and make sense. “Oh Mommy, your necklace is very beautiful and sparkly!” Other times, I take notes of her sincerity and imagine a dash of irony and sarcasm as she repeats the same things in about 10 years. “Those sweatpants look fancy, mom!” It’s so sweet that she means that now.
Whenever I am having a hard time as a parent, I try to take a step back and imagine how hard it must be to be three. It has to be hard to have this intense need to play squashed by rules and rulers. She needs to explore and let her imagination run wild, but sometimes, we have appointments that we need to be on time for. Sometimes, she needs to not get her outfit dirty until we get through the afternoon, so no, she is not allowed to paint in her flower girl dress “like Rapunzel.”
One brilliant thing about being a mom is learning what I already know. I teach her how to take care of herself, but do I do those things? I always tell her to take a deep breath when calming her down from a meltdown. Do I take a deep breath and tell myself that things are going to be okay? I need to start listening to my inner mom voice instead of my inner mean girl voice.
I am glad that I had her when I did because I am old enough to have friends with kids who are in high school. Kids who I remember being squishy little babies are getting ready to fly away and lead their own lives. I feel much more patient knowing that the next fifteen or so years are going to pass before I can ever iron out all of my worries and insecurities as a parent. So, cliches be damned, I need to embrace the moment, even if we seriously need to GO. NOW.
My only parenting “resolutions” are to continue to love her, to educate myself about the choices that I make for her, and to be kinder to myself when I don’t know the answers. I want her to grow up to be kind, ambitious, and confident. I want her to know what she wants and to go after it. I know that she is going to have to learn some of these things on her own, but I want her to always feel my love and support guiding her along the way.