I’ve been struggling to force my thoughts into neat little lines, and the final middle class post remains unwritten. I think it’s okay though. I think we could all use the break. I hope to have it up early next week.
My son is a two year old these day, through and through. He’s all scowls and stomping feet, demands and tantrums. But the storm clouds never linger long and his face quickly softens as the sun comes out again.
His behavior puts a lot of things into perspective, and I recognize again how isolating having a “strong willed” child has been. Every day I am so thankful to have my son, whose behavior validates every suspicion I had that things with his sister were harder than they should have been.
All those times, standing next to another mother as we commiserated about the yelling and the wailing and the melt downs, always sensing that the behaviors she was referencing did not compare to the ones I had in mind. Understanding that we were using the same words but speaking different languages.
My son’s melt downs are dramatic affairs. He screams. He cries. He throws toys. He hits. He stomps his feet and turns away. He arches his back and thrashes his arms and legs. He makes a total spectacle of himself.
And then, five to ten minutes later, he lets me wrap him in my arms for a hug and a snuggle. There is no straightjacket hold to keep him safe. There is no crossing of arms and holding of hands. There is no head butting, or kicking or biting. There is no breaking of the skin. There is no twenty minutes or two hours. There is no foul mood that lasts days and days. There isn’t any of that. Sure he’s stubborn and impatient and obstinate and frustrating, but his meltdowns are predictable and appropriate. And they don’t scare me.
I so appreciate the opportunity to parent a more typical child, to have this perspective. It validates so many things I wanted to feel before, but wasn’t sure I truly had the right to. I spent so much of the first years of motherhood wondering why it was so fucking hard, why I struggled so much, why it always felt like I was failing. I get it now, and it feels like I finally have permission to feel the hard feelings I’ve been denying myself for so long, pushing them down and pretending they weren’t there.
But now I know. It was, and many times still is, that hard. And it was, and still is, okay to feel the things I feel. I can’t tell you what a weight has been lifted with that simple validation, a precious gift that only I could give myself.