It was at one this morning, cradling my coughing two-year-old, that I realized something.
These moments are ever so fleeting. It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday business and difficulties and lose sight of that. His warm brow pressed up against my shoulder, his little arms curled around my neck; instead of feeling frustration at my lack of sleep, I just sighed and held on tight, relishing in the softness of his skin, his sweet little snore growing louder in my ear.
It had been a rough day. That morning I was running late after an argument with my husband, and the boys had been exceptionally defiant while getting ready for school. Work brought even more stresses — students without their homework, angry parents, more essays to grade. Ever feel like everything is just crashing down on you all at once?
I wish that I was one of those perpetually patient people that takes a pause, breathes and lets everything go.
Sometimes, it feels like everyone else is so good at keeping it all together. Maybe in the distribution of virtues I got skipped where patience was concerned. Those days when everything seems hard I wonder if my “mom” instincts even exist because of how exasperated I can get.
This especially happens with my youngest, the two-year-old. Boy, does that kid know how to push my buttons! He is so different, this second child. Polar opposite, in fact, of his brother. Ignorantly, I thought I knew what to expect after my first. I had no idea.
Even from the beginning Dean was a gentle nurser, detaching at the slightest gasp of discomfort, while Dante just clamped down tighter and laughed at my cries of pain. Now Dean is the enforcer of rules, while Dante is the rebel — looking us straight in the eye and defiantly saying, “No.”
Gone are the days of my matchy-matchy family Halloween costumes that Dean always went along with. Dante has consistently affirmed his desire to embody the body-less Toodles for Halloween, while also resolutely stating that his brother will be Batman (as will mom), and dad will be “short.” Nice one, kid.
So this afternoon when Dante lashed out at his brother, throwing a toy car at his face I was done.
“No, mommy, no!”
“You’re going to the room.”
I plopped him on the bed in our master bedroom, turned and closed the door. The screams were endless, deafening, and turned into roars of anger. Then, a pause. I opened the door to check on him only to find him standing behind the door crying.
“Sweetheart, you need to apologize to your brother”
“No. Get out, mommy.”
And with that he pushed me toward the door and slammed it in my face. I was shocked. Then, (I didn’t know what else to do) I laughed. I was just put in time out by my two year old. Wha- really?? I opened the door and tried again.
“Get out, mommy!” *door slam*
Dean walked up and said, “Dante’s mad.”
It’s easy to feel like you’re a failure during the tough times. I think we’ve all had those moments, but it is in the moments of stillness in which we realize that nothing is ever easy, nor will it ever be. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth it.
For every tear, there are at least ten smiles; for every yell of anger, at least three squeals of joy. For every push or thrash, countless hugs, cuddles and sweet sighs of content.
These children of ours are little and only ours for such a short amount of time. Before we know it, they are off to school. Their friends’ opinions will trump ours… and then we are looking at colleges. The cries, hugs, yells and cuddles will fade and become occasional and optional, rather than daily and necessary.
So even though my little Dante can be trying at times, I look at him and think that hopefully his strong character will serve him well as he gets older, aiding in resisting peer pressure or maybe being a leader while at school. I’m sure we will laugh about these trying times when he is older as well.
Until then I will cuddle, soothe, love and cradle for as long as I can. After all, just like his tantrums, it won’t last forever. And this too shall pass.