My memories of age five are good. I got a baby brother; I went to Disney World; I started Kindergarten. I had special Friday afternoon outings with my mom, sleepovers at my grandparents’ houses with my cousins. As a mom of a five-year-old, I am constantly worried that things will not turn out to be the same way for him.
Five is hard.
There’s an average of at least four fights a day. Some of them are because he gets “big feelings” and cannot unwind himself. Some of them are because I can’t answer his beyond-his-years existential questions. Some of them are because I try to steer him toward being a decent human being. Some are because he’s crazy smart and emotionally immature and unable to reconcile those two things. Some are because he can’t keep his sassy mouth shut and he has to have the last word
like his dad. There are days I swear that I will only pay for college if he promises to go to law school, because if he chooses any other career, he’s missed his calling.
Despite all of this, I know he knows what’s right and he does listen to me despite pretending to be deaf 3/4 of the day. He behaves for babysitters and tells them what rules he needs to follow. Strangers in stores compliment him. Being a jerk for me and behaving half the time for his teachers is just a phase, right? The multiples group moms seem to love age five. Shouldn’t just one five-year-old be easy…ish?
I have called my mom asking for advice so many times. Each time, she tells me I was the same way and it just took time. She reminds me that he’s had a lot of changes in his life the last few years – twin sisters, new school, less attention. I remember that things weren’t all sunshine and rainbows when I was his age. Those Friday afternoon outings I got with mom? Those were because I was beating up the boys in my kindergarten class; I was jealous of my baby brother and took it out on them. The memories I remember first are the sunshine and rainbows memories, though. There’s hope.
As often as I can in between the fights, I try to make sure I make good memories. I can’t do it every day, and those are the days I worry most. He’s said he hates me a few times, and while it hurts, there have been a thousand more I love yous and you’re the best mom in the whole wide world. That keeps me going on the hard days when we both want to run away.
I hope he remembers that we went to nearly every Mardi Gras parade. I hope he remembers that we read books and did crafts and baked together. I hope he remembers the trips to the park and that his dad helped coach his little league teams. I hope he remembers how much his sisters adore him and want to be like him. I hope he remembers how many people in his life love him.
I hope he knows that I think he’s hilarious, brilliant, and creative, and that he is making great memories for ME, despite all of the above.
I hope that’s enough.