Saturday, August 10, 2013

Hi, my name is Rea: I'm not always my son's best friend but I still have anxiety about sending off to school and not hearing him call me that every day. I'm a basket case and he loves me, so stop judging me! The voices in my head do that well enough without your help!

  I don't recall the exact reason for Nixon saying what he said to Mac and I, but I do know that it hurt to hear him say the words but I wasn't going to show him that.

   It started with him being told he couldn't get/have/eat something. He got angry and started telling us "You're not my best friend anymore". Mac's response was to tell Nixon to be quiet. My response was to let Nixon say what he wanted to say (and tell Mac to "shhh") and then explain to Nixon that as his parents we're not going to be his best friends forever. He's not always going to like what we decide and that's okay. My job is to be his mom first and if he loves me as his best friend that's awesome, but my goal is to not be his best friend my goal is to be the best damned mom I can be to him and sometimes that means he won't like me. I'm okay with that even if he's not.
   He was not really listening, but later when he calmed down he came over to me and gave me a kiss and said "I'm sorry I was mean, I still love you" totally unprovoked by me. I felt as if I had just won the mommy lottery!

   I have no idea when it happened, but Nixon will be starting pre-K in September. He's only going part-time 3 days a week, but my baby is leaving my nest! I'm so super excited for Nixon because he will be getting the social skills he needs and learning how to take directions from a teacher, and the school we chose is super creative focused, so it feels like a good fit for him.
   I've met his teacher and did a  preemptive apology for his dry sarcastic wit (she assured me students like that are her favorites, they keep her on her toes) and also apologized in advance for being the mom with the super snotty, wet faced drop-off on the first day. She laughed, probably because she thought I was joking. I was not. I have no idea how I'm going to be able to drop him off and let go. For over 4-and-a-half years it's been Nixon and I. The only person I've really had to share him with, is his dad.
   Now, our time together is coming to an end and I'm really very sad because I realize it truly is the end. This is only the beginning of my sharing him with the world. First it's part-time pre-kindergarten, then it's elementary school to middle school then high school and before I know it I'm waking up on the day he's going off to college. I can't undo this, it was going to happen but gods it happened so damned fast!

   Mac is worried about Nixon taking directions and listening to his teacher. He's worried about Nixon interacting with kids his own age. I'm worried about not being the center of his universe anymore. I've got anxiety over not hearing him call me his best friend (yes, I realize it completely contradicts the first part of this post) and him pushing me away when I try to kiss him, instead of him wanting to kiss me every day "just because".
   Yes, I have silly mommy anxieties. Let me have them!


Saturday, August 3, 2013

...the day your child says he doesn't want to make friends because his heart hurts, is the day you dig deep and fight like hell to show him how much he has to offer friends he hasn't met yet.

    It's been a long time since a conversation with Nixon has had me in tears, but tonight that's exactly what happened.

    Nixon has been struggling. He's been having random mood swings since his cousin left after a visit last month. Anytime Mac or I would ask what's wrong, Nixon would say "I miss J" and start to cry, even if his outburst had nothing to do with J it was always his go-to response.

   Tonight I finally stopped and listened to him. I heard what he was saying and let him say it. And it was heartbreaking.
   In the past two days, Nixon's also mentioned his other cousin who moved to California earlier this year. He had spent a large amount of time with her as we had been living with her while her mom was out-of-town for military training over a span of two and a-half months.

   After an epic meltdown over cleaning up his toys downstairs, Nixon and I went up to his room and we talked. Well, he cried and I held him. Then we talked. He told me he never wanted to make friends. I asked him why and he said "J left and he broke my heart. I miss him.", and my heart broke hearing his 4-year old logic. How do you argue with that?
    I didn't argue. It's true. Friends leaving hurts. I know that firsthand.
   I told him the truth: Missing someone is part of a greater thing. It means you've got love in your heart for the person you miss and that is amazing! I want you to make as many friends as you want, lots of friends or just a few very special friends like mommy has, but you have to have friends in your life. I want people to see the kind, loving, silly, amazing and wonderful boy I see every day and I want them to want to be in your life. But you have to let them in your heart. It's a risk, but it's worth the risk. Sometimes, your heart will hurt, it's part of life but the best part of life is the strength you get by bouncing back from pains in your heart. Right now, you have good memories of your time with J, hold onto those every time you miss him and you'll feel the love and smile in your heart and the pain of missing him won't be so bad. Making friends here, when you start school, will be better because they'll live here and not far away like J so they won't have to leave and you'll see them at school.
   I closed it with: Please, please take the chance and make friends. You're so little and have so much life in front of you to say you won't make friends. Don't let fear stop you from being the brave and wonderful little boy I know you are.

   We sat on the floor of his bedroom, he on my lap head lying on my chest, looking at the photo of him and J together. Nixon crying and myself on the verge of tears. Nixon got up and said he needed a tissue, he grabbed the toilet paper roll from the bathroom and brought it to me in his bedroom. I helped him blow his nose and he got into bed.

   I came downstairs and told Mac about the conversation. He says "Is he 4 going on 16? He's growing up way too fast!"
   Tell me about it, babe, tell me about it.

   Tonight was by far the worst night about being so far from family.