Growing up, one of my favorite movies was “Big” with Tom Hanks. It’s a cult classic, in my opinion, that can never be seen too many times. How many of you out there went into FAO Schwartz and played on the giant piano … as an adult? *Raises my own hand.* Throughout the movie, a kid (in a grown man’s body) taught adults many important lessons in life.
I am right upon my 36th birthday. My son’s birthday is a few days after mine. He will be 2 and I am still in shock at how quickly time flew.
Reflecting back over the past 2 years, the biggest parenting “mistake” that I made is not realizing how many big lessons I would learn from such a little person.
Lesson in Patience
I have always been a fairly patient person, but having a child — a toddler, to be more specific — I have learned a whole new level of practicing patience. My patience is tested every day, several times a day, whether it be that I am trying to get out the house on time for work or I’m trying to get out an email for work in the evening before bedtime or my husband is on another work trip out of the country for a week and my son won’t let me put him down long enough to pee. (And I’m 8 months pregnant, so we all know how often that needs to happen.) My son is typically vying for my attention and doing things at his own pace. I often feel the urge to hurry him up — to brush his teeth or walk from the back of the house to the front so we can leave or finish eating because I need to bathe him and am just beat from the day. I found myself hurrying him without even thinking. But, I don’t want him to hurry. These past 2 years have hurried enough already.
What Busy Looks Like
Pre-kid, it felt like my husband and I were always on the go, always working, always busy. I still often times feel busy, but I’m busy with a whole new set of adventures and challenges. My ‘busyness’ now sometimes consists of reading the same children’s book for the 5th time in one night. And to be honest, I absolutely love this kind of busy.
Back to the Basics
I am impressed with my son’s vocabulary as he’s just shy of 2 years old. Every day, it seems like he has a new word or phrase to surprise me with! Sometimes, these words are a little hard to understand at first, but it is an interesting lesson in communication for me. He is taking me back to the basics, which is an interesting juxtaposition coming from working in marketing and advertising where sometimes communication and messaging can get complex. I also find I am a better listener, trying to often decipher what he is trying to communicate to me.
Appreciate the Little Things
Children have an appreciation for the things that we often may find mundane or lose appreciation for as we grow older or busier with adulting. There is not a bus or a boat — we live close to the Mississippi River — that will pass us by without my son noticing and shouting with excitement. He loves watching bugs crawl and fly and enjoys puppy licks from our old hound. The giggles and excitement that ensue from all of these things literally melts my heart. Every. Single. Time.
Lessons on Being a Mom
The biggest lesson I have learned? Life isn’t about the Instagram-worthy photos. It’s about the messy moments we encounter, how we handle them and the lessons we learn from them. I have learned many big lessons from my little person. And I only hope that when he is grown, he feels he has learned just as much from me as I have from him.