Yesterday I had a fabulous day. I spent it with my favorite boy child in the world. He refers to himself as Christopher Jacob Super Boy Johnson. He is my buddy, whom I usually refer to as The Babe.
It is hard to believe that this “babe” is no longer a baby as we think of little ones. In the grand scope of life, he is a mere infant. He is capable of so much, yet he has barely scratched the surface of all that he will one day be able to do, and be, and say. I love that about children. They are the greatest example of accomplishment, of failing and becoming victorious time after time.
He accused me of “talking obnoxious” two nights ago because he had desired to bake cupcakes after my return from a meeting, that his “body was telling him that we needed to bake tonight”. I was on the phone with him going over last minute details at the grocery store, and he no longer wanted to wait until his birthday to bake his cake of celebration. The wait, even though he had picked when he wanted to do the baking, was getting to be too much. So much anticipation. I explained that I was not trying to be obnoxious, but rather kind and helpful by picking up the ingredients and I was truly sorry he was upset. I offered to bring donuts, for a snack upon my arrival back home, and he decided that was a very acceptable alternative.
Life became sweet for him again. He was not being disrespectful. He was simply unable to express himself and his feelings in a way that sounded better than it did. He was struggling, and I was able to hear his need. I offered a different solution, and he was thankful, in word and with hugs when I came home.
Since he is the sixth child to be raised in our home, I am grateful that I have come to a place where I would rather partner with my child(ren) in hearing the root unmet need, rather than to react to a surface word or action. It creates a much more respectful and connected relationship when time is taken to really “see” and “hear” and can be a solution offer-er, rather than a situation controller. As much as I had wanted to be that kind of parent from the start, it was not always so. In the first couple of years, it was easy to be the gentle and patient partner. Then as they became more independent, I fell to conventional ways. It took me too many years to know better and do better, to know more and do more. I am thankful that I did pay attention to my oldest children, and changed my perspective and principles I parent and live by. I am better for it, my kids have received better from me for it, this little boy lives better because of it.
Life is short, and these littles grow up so fast. Adulthood goes on for such a long time if we are fortunate to live until an old age. Children will model what they witness and find to be of worth in their lives. Initially, they will mimic without the ability to understand nuances and context. With gentle guidance, as they mature more, they can be more mindful of what they say and how it will most likely be received. When given grace, they will, in turn, give grace. When trusted, and find those who are their caregivers as trustworthy, they will be trusting.
Those are the gifts I have come to give to my children. We value our friendships with them from the start. We are there with them, for them, and beside them throughout all their years.
I look forward to many more years watching, and learning from, this amazing child. He and I have great adventures planned, many stories to create, and I will continue to purpose to enjoy him, as he is, for the decades ahead of us. In the meantime, we are patiently waiting for the next 364 days to play out before he turns 6. We look forward to it, but we don’t want to squander even one day of his 5th year!
Thanks for a fabulous day Super Boy!!