Yesterday, I cried. My little boy, 2.5 years old, is in the midst of figuring out feelings and impulses. This, I know. In my mind, I understand this. But when he hits, kicks, throws things, and screams…. It’s hard to be rational, patient, and kind.
Yesterday, was a tough day. He would go back and forth between being the sweet, lovable, little boy that I adore and giggle with – to being full of piss and vinegar… He’s taken to kicking me when he’s frustrated. He screams an ear-piercing, insanely loud, wail if he doesn’t like something you said or did. And just for the sake of adding a little more frustration, he’s taken to pulling my hair – just for the heck of it. (He’s seen Ruby do it, and me say “no,” and now thinks it’s funny.)
He was playing with baby Ruby on the floor… Making her laugh and giggle, and sigh with glee. She was trying to crawl and we were both cheering her on. So fun. So happy – all three of us. For about 30 minutes, we were all full of giggles and joy, loving our time together.
When all of a sudden, with no warning, he stands up. Walks over to Ruby. And smacks both sides of her head.
That was it. I had it. He went to time out. And I cried.
Maybe it’s part of normal development… But it makes my heart hurt. And I find myself wondering what I’m doing wrong? I’m sure all parents feel this. I’m not alone. But that doesn’t make it any easier in that horrible moment….
I know he’s a sweet boy. I know he’s full of compassion and empathy. I know he loves to take care of his sister, protect her, and love on her. I see this side of him everyday, too. But that doesn’t make me worry less.
Yesterday, I also heard the news of Philando Castile’s death. Another incident of a black man being shot by a police officer… It turns out, I know several people who knew Philando… And it sounds like he was someone everyone should have known. Sweet, loving, peaceful. Stopped for a traffic violation, when all hell broke loose.
My heart hurts at all the horrible violence in our world… Terrorists. Guns. Racism. Fear. Fear that leads to violence… Emotions too big for some people to control.
And I look at my little boy… Going through normal, developmental temper tantrums that lead to hitting, kicking, throwing things… And I pray to God that I know how to nurture his kindness, compassion, and empathy… That I know how to help him deal with emotions – especially sadness, frustration, anger, and fear – in positive healthy ways.
And the immensity of that task… It made me cry.
We live in a broken world… And sometimes it’s too hard to feel all the feels… But I’m determined to be part of the light. Part of the good. Part of the peace that our world so desperately needs… And while I fear for my kids growing up with this violence all around them… I pray that they will be part of the solution.
I was crying this morning watching the news about the snipers who shot into a peaceful protest in Dallas… Shooting 11 police officers, killing 5. It feels like it will never end! I cried for our country, for police officers, for the families and friends and communities that are feeling these losses the strongest… I cried out of feeling hopeless for our world…
I think my little Ruby sensed my sadness. She started smothering me with her open-mouthed, slobbery kisses… Giggling. Smiling. Reminding me… Life goes on and there is hope for the future – especially if we can nurture the love of our children.
I cried…. And will cry again, I’m sure.
But I love, too. And help. And care. And am, hopefully, raising my kids to do the same. In the midst of the dark… There has to be light.
“This little light of mine… I’m going to let it shine!”
Things I am thankful for today:
- The helpers. (Thanks, Mister Rogers.)
- A quiet day at home with Ruby.
- A clean house.
- Cold brew coffee.
- Parent friends to commiserate with.
- My desk… (I think this is the first time, in 16 months, I’ve sat at my desk and typed!)
- The kids’ naps. (Hee hee.)