On Loving My Son

My relationship with my son is different than my relationship with my daughter. They are different children, though I love them both with the same intensity and I enjoy them both in so many different ways, Alexander and I are on a see saw right now.

Alexander delights, he’s the boy that makes everyone grin. He’s got a gravelly voice and inquisitive eyes, he’s full of questions and jokes and fairly brims with boyish delight.

Alexander stores data. He is the family historian in that he recalls absolutely everything we do and say, he knows what we ate, where we went and who was with us. Alexander also recalls every slight. He doesn’t let you know at the moment that you’ve hurt him, but every now and again it comes tumbling out of his body with accusations, tears and very real pain.

These episodes are often when we are smack dab in the middle of something difficult and unrelated. Learning how to cut a cloud out of a piece of paper may bring tears and a tirade of, “you never respect me”.

And I… I am so wound up in my need to be a “good mother” that I find myself unable to really hear my son. As he’s crying and letting it all out what he’s really saying is that there was a collection of slights and he needs an apology and he needs help cutting out the clouds. He’s overwhelmed by the physical work and he needs a teammate.

I don’t want an eight year old yelling at me. Ever. I want him to do his homework. I want him to say thank you.

It can’t happen. My needs won’t be met, and I have to adjust them.

I’m learning that my son is the kid who bottles it up and then melts down alone, at home, where it’s safe. My son still loves me and I’ll always love him. I love him with his strengths and with his weaknesses. Loving Alexander means being still and letting him fall apart a little, because he is still so little.

When he does it a little piece of me just falls apart. I’m not very good at this part of mothering, but I don’t have the luxury of time. So now, right at this very moment I’m going to have to be a better mother to my boy.

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