One day you may read about the Newtown Connecticut school shooting or perhaps you’ll hear it mentioned on the news one day in the future and I want you to know that all school shootings or mass shootings for that matter are horrible but there is something extremely scary about this particular incident. It took place a week ago and left me feeling incredibly vulnerable as a parent. I learned about the shooting from your Dad via text as I was playing with you and Olivia in a public park. The unthinkable happened – elementary school children, some only slightly older than Olivia, murdered. At that moment, I wanted to grab the two of you and hold you tighter than you have ever been held before. I wanted to go home, pack up the car and head for the most desolate life in the hills where I can protect you for as long as humanly possible. Unfortunately, this is not a realistic situation and I’m not going to be able to protect you in every situation and this realization left me feeling hopeless and sad. I want to raise you in an environment that doesn’t leave you debilitated by fear and the only way to do that is to put up a strong fearless front for you and Olivia but I’m telling you the truth now, I’m scared shitless.
Despite the everyday occurrence of you driving me mad, I try to take in everything and really appreciate every moment with you. Understandably, I’m only human and I still get crabby when awoken too early or when you just don’t let me use the bathroom but I know I’m lucky because you’re still here to bother me. I know there will come a day when it’s not cool to be with your Mom and there will even be a day when you leave home and despite all the troubles you gave me, I will miss you terribly.
As opposed to your sister, you love holding my hand. When you’re excited to show me something, you grab my hand and pull me to where you want me to be. When I’m cooking, you like to run up and hug me from behind. When I close the door to your bedroom at night, you always say, “Goodnight Momma” and occasionally you say thank you after I change your diaper. When you’re dancing, you always come and find me and demand I dance with you. These are those moments that I will constantly remind you about as an adult and you will no doubt be tired of me mentioning them to you for the thousandth time as I reminisce of the good ol’ days.
A big milestone that took place this month that should not go unnoticed is your first haircut. We took you to a small children’s salon in Livermore that came complete with a Lightening McQueen chair, movies and a scantily clad hairdresser. Seven of us were there prepared to capture every moment of this big event and I’m fairly certain that I can make a mini movie with all the pictures I took. You did amazingly well. In fact, I don’t think you said one thing or even made a single facial expression. You may have been sleeping with your eyes open for all I know. In just the few short weeks since your last haircut, you already need another one and it suddenly dawned on me that having a boy is a pain in the grooming department – no wonder so many boys just buzz their heads.
Another major event this month is you starting speech therapy. It’s basically you in a room with a bunch of toys and the therapist tries to get you to say the name of the toy or at least the first sound of the toy. You are extremely stubborn and when you feel like you’re being worked, you lay on the ground and stare at the ceiling leaving me staring blankly at the therapist. She has found you are extremely motivated by cars and trains so hopefully future sessions will be heavily influenced by this. I have noticed a subtle improvement in your speech – you definitely will try sounds more often now where as before you would give me a firm no and walk away. Given the season, Santa is a popular word right now in addition to Tasha who is our elf on the shelf and hot cocoa. This pretty much sums up what you deem of importance. Beyond that, your speech is still incomprehensible.
I had a protective-mother moment a couple weeks back when we were at a company holiday party and two young girls, maybe 9 or 10, started making fun of your lack of speech as you tried to chat them up. Thankfully your Dad was sitting between us because I most definitely would have said something innapropriate to them. Your charm worked them over though and by the end of the night, you were stealing kisses from them and they were fighting over who got to hold you. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t giving these two the skink-eye all night but at least I saved the embarrassment of your Father and didn’t call the girls filthy little brats to their faces. If anything, this night made me realize that I am in no way prepared to send you off to preschool as of yet. Kids are cruel – it really is startling how young bullying begins and I just can’t stomach the thought of kids being mean to you because they can’t understand you.
Parenting is difficult in more ways than one and one day you may understand or you may decide not to have kids based on your crazy upbringing. One day last week, we spent ten minutes in the rain while I tried to undo your seatbelt in the shopping cart as I muttered every obscenity under the sun – these are not moments I hope for but they happen. I’m thankful for them because you’re a part of them. It sounds cheesy but given the recent horrible events and it being the holidays, I’m extra thankful for you right now. I hope as times passes and we move forward from this tragedy, I won’t take you for granted and I will continue to stay in the moment with you. Every crazy obscenity-muttering moment.