Let’s start out by saying how awesome the library is. I was not a big believer, much to my husband’s dismay, until I had kids and went to the palace of a library that we have in my community. We are truly blessed with a multisensory, safe, clean, fun playplace that is a FREE outing! AND they are fine with the kids pulling all the books off the shelves because they expect it! For a mom of three little ones who run in three different directions and cause three different kinds of havoc, this is a real God-send. Now, on to the real story . . .
The other day, I was in the library with my boys. Reuben (2) was playing with trains, Eli (2) with cars, and Silas (17 months) with magnetic shape blocks. Another little boy, about a year older than the twins, joined my youngest. I was talking to Silas about his shapes and the little boy joined in the conversation here and there. He was building a house out of his blocks, and I said to him, “I like your house!” Eli, who doesn’t miss anything, was watching the three of us as we interacted with each other. After I encouraged the boy, Eli quietly said to him, “Hey, that’s my mom.” He wasn’t aggressive or anything, just a little possessive as if he wanted to be sure that the boy knew to whom I belonged. I told him that it was alright, that I was his mommy always, and I was just being nice to that little boy. Everyone kept on playing.
The more I have thought on Eli’s reaction, the more it melts my heart. I spend all my time with my children in an effort to keep them alive, healthy, and happy. Of course, I dry their tears, kiss their owies, and sing and read to them. It is my joy to do those things in the special role of ‘Mom.’ But for some reason, I function in the thought process that my kids don’t really notice these things right now. Maybe someday they will appreciate me when they have the capacity for understanding how hard I work for them everyday, but right now it is all “Mommy, more cheese crackers!”, “Mommy, fix my truck!”, and “Mommy, I need to watch “Daniel Tiger”!” I get bogged down in the tasks of motherhood and forget sometimes that I am building a relationship with my kids, even if it has escaped my notice.
How often are we overwhelmed by how much we love our kids, how lucky we are for them to be ours, and how proud we are of them? But do we ever think about how they feel about us in a positive way? I often think that I am traumatizing them when I lose my temper worry that moving houses so much will give them a complex, or feel that they are going to hate me for making them eat their vegetables. I do believe that love covers a multitude of sins—thank God, otherwise my kids would LIVE in timeout—but that small comment by Eli showed me that my love is reciprocated.
That moment was a little love epiphany for me—my kid actually cares that I am here and he wants me around for more than just the maid, nurse, caretaker stuff! We all need that kind of validation and encouragement, especially with little ones who can’t articulate and just need, need, need, and so we give, give, give. I am Eli’s, and he is mine. That is all I need to know to keep giving and going.
For all you parents out there who have ever felt like your sacrifices are going unnoticed, for all you moms and dads who beat yourselves up for a slip-up here and there, for the folks who lose sleep worrying about whether their kid is going to love them or hate them—remember, they are yours and you are theirs. Forever.