Monday, June 22, 2015

Loving the Child You've Got

At this exact minute, I'm listening to our friends' kids playing on the deck with the water hose and water table (drought-ridden Californians see this as gold!). Claire is giggling and getting soaked right beside them.

Benjamin is sitting on the couch singing songs to himself as he flips through a book.

He's such a loner.

He's the only kid of the like 13 kids at soccer last week who spent almost no time listening to his coach and more time complaining and acting as though soccer with other kids was complete torture. I wasn't asking him to be great at soccer; I just wanted him to listen to the coach. For 30 minutes. He wanted to be at the park instead.

I played soccer with our friend's kid this afternoon on our deck (and had a blast!) as my kid blew bubbles about 15 feet away. I'm trying to get him interested by playing myself and showing him how much fun it is to play soccer (or insert thing here).

You can't change a person. It's not that I'm trying to, it's just that I desperately want him to put himself out there and try new things and be that kid who plays happily with others and enjoys the heck out of life. And if I'm being totally honest, I wish he just liked everything I did (thought every parent ever). He won't.

He'll find his thing. He will. And when he does, I will be there with pom poms and streamers on the bleachers yelling obnoxiously (as proud and embarrassing parents do) or have front row tickets to his play on opening night (and probably every night thereafter). And GOODNESS GRACIOUS, I love him. I love that he's the kid who saved me after Andrew died. He's the snuggle bug who really does love fiercely. He's the kid who doesn't go by the book or follow the rules, but he's also mine.

I didn't design him. He was designed for me. I never thought I'd learn so much parenting this one, but I totally am.


Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

I think I'm in an emotionally fragile place today, but I cried as I read this. Your love for B is so big, and I know that sometimes your frustration can feel almost as big (I've been there!). I marvel at my child, who seems to be more an an extrovert than I've ever been, and whose stubborn nature has defeated me more than once (see: potty training in the month of December). He might find different interests, or his just might come later. Either way, he's as lucky to have you as you are to have him.

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

My kid doesn't like most desserts, but I love him anyway.

This was really sweet. B is a lucky boy. And you are a lucky Mama.

Mama Bear said... [Reply to comment]

I echo Brooke and Caroline and I'm really looking forward to hearing about B's passion when he finds it and cheering him on from afar.

LookItsJessica said... [Reply to comment]

The comment above made me laugh. My kid ALSO doesnt like most desserts (neither does my hubby, can a b*tch get some ice cream, PLEASE?)

B will definitely find his activity and thrive! I am not super out-going, but my kid is like the life of the party, biggest extrovert out there. Very strange how these kids have these amazing distinct personalities that arise from their own unique genetic code. So many things we can't teach them, they just come by it naturally.

Sarah said... [Reply to comment]

Oh, I relate so much to this. Benjamin and Eleanor sound like they have a lot in common. Our foray into soccer was a disaster. If another child so much as brushed E while running past, she would fall down and feign injury so that she could come sit on the sidelines with me. I keep telling myself that her sensitive nature will someday be really handy when she's a novelist or psychologist. Here's hoping!

Laura Jane said... [Reply to comment]

Being a mom is so hard.
The stubbornness, the zero shits given about anything, the lack of enthusiasm for anything mom wants to do… It's hard.

Sending you love.

My New Normal said... [Reply to comment]

I can totally relate to this. The things I'm sure Frostina will like she hates, and then she surprises me with the things she likes. People often use the expression, "mini-me" to describe kids when really they are mini-themselves. It can be very frustrating, that's for sure. Hang in there, you can do this!

Amelia said... [Reply to comment]

We've been going to summer music in the park since G was 10 months. Last year a little girl who would be in her kindergarden class came over to where we were sitting, like made a total effort, to ask G to come play. G responded with her customary nasty look. I call it Instinctual Meanmuggin, child's version of bitchy resting face with a bit more purpose and a bit less swearing. G has it something bad. The girl left of course. Hello? G says; I want to play with her. G, I say, one usually responds with; Yes! I'd love to, thank you! when offered an opportunity to do something you'd like to do.

I thought we were doomed. How in the world was this kid going to make friends?!!

I have no clue how, but she has. Plural friends. They like her. And she them. She literally spends no time with us at all at this year's music in the park. They run amuck, exhausting themselves with play and dancing.

He'll find his way. And you will sit back and marvel.

Jenny said... [Reply to comment]

You have stumbled into a gem of truth, learning to parent: that the journey of life is simultaneously joy and sorrow. For sure as a Christian, the way of the cross defines our worldview and every moment; from birth to death is both joy and sorrow, pain and healing, sacrifice and abundance, community and alienation. These micrologs bring to mind Henri Nouwen's pithy ruminations!