We have these wonderful moments. Days, in fact. We click. We communicate on a wholly different level. These moments and days fill me up. These are the days I did this for – the reasons I dreamed of this kind of life, the one lived in service to the little person whose hair color matches mine and whose fingers are dimpled and delicious. Life is lived in these moments and memories are made, the kinds of memories I’ll want, the ones that will make me cry harder but all in a good way when I wave goodbye to him as he launches into his own life.
On these days, there are tickles and cuddles and laughter. Conversations in what feels, increasingly, like our own little language. These days happen on a cloud. They really do. I don’t remember them in specifics. Only feelings and glimpses. A shot of him standing by my bed as I fold laundry, the sun illuminating a halo of golden curls around his head. The feeling of his head resting on my shoulder as we rock in the chair where I nursed him and soothed him to sleep. That unique sensation of his soft arms clasped around my neck.
Toddlerhood is wonderful.
Except when it isn’t.
We also have these terrible moments. Awful days. Days when we couldn’t possibly click because no two people have ever been farther apart in the world. Using plain words, universally understood language, we miss each other all day long. There is screaming and yelling on these days. Time outs just as much for me as for him. Starting over a thousand times a day, futile attempts to change course, navigate away from the storm. I’m still bad at that, changing course midstream. A day headed into rocky waters is lost to me by mid-morning. I make a big deal of trying to shift, head towards the sun. But it’s all for show.
I don’t remember these days in specifics either, what a blessing. I can’t tell you why he melted down, what travesty piled on top of frustration or anger to reduce us both to our most primitive, most emotional selves. But there are the feelings and glimpses. The sight of him in the big, red arm chair, his mouth a perfect and giant O and his eyes squinted together to push the loudest wail possible, all the way up from his belly. The feeling of his rod-straight body against mine as I carry one who does not want to be carried and the way his screams, with such short distance to travel, pierce my ears. That unique sensation of being angry, so very angry, with another human.
In calmer moments, I find it odd, the ways in which I relate to him. With adults, people who could more than handle my anger and frustration, who deserve to understand how their actions and words have affected me, I am silent. When a little conflict and a lot of conversation could move a relationship to a wonderful new level, I avoid confrontation. I work out my anger or wounded heart on my own, telling myself I do it all of the sake of the love. But with him? He, the one whose words and actions are never, ever designed to hurt me. He who needs my guidance and my grace and my forgiveness. He who apologizes instantaneously and loves me unconditionally? With him, I lash back.
And wouldn’t it be wonderful if, now that I see this, I could change it? If I could just flip it around. Absorb his emotions and feelings and frustrations, resolve my reactions to his behavior all on my own. And, instead, react to those who are more deserving of seeing my hurt and anger.
It would be wonderful if it were that easy.
Linking up with Lisa for One Word.