The Gift Is Greater Once You Understand

Posted on November 3, 2010. Filed under: Parenting |

Has a realization ever hit you so hard that you can’t help but to laugh and cry at the same time? The crying isn’t because the realization is so funny, but because the realization has touched your heart with such tenderness what else can you do but shed tears of gratitude. The laughter is because all along the answers have been wrapped around your aura caught in a cipher.

Who knows me better than anyone else in my life right now? That was the question pondering in my head like a game of  ping pong for the last year. The answer came to me as I sat still on my bed with the door closed one Monday evening after racing from Marina del Rey at 5 o’clock (rush hour) and taking all side streets to North Hollywood in hopes of picking up my daughter by 6 o’clock, (for those of you familiar with Los Angeles traffic, you understand my dilemma). I made it to her school at 6:08 and surprisingly she wasn’t the last child standing. While driving home,the race continued on as I tried to prepare my mind on tonight’s menu.  I walked in the door and quickly said, “Hello” to my son.  I began feeling overwhelmed but  had no time to relax, it was time to cook dinner.  The kids followed me in the kitchen, my daughter chatting up a storm. My son remained silent this whole time then suddenly picked his sister up and said, “Let’s go hang out in my room for awhile.” As they left the kitchen, I felt myself breathing again. As I walked to my bedroom to sit and decompress for a minute, the answer to that year- long question was suddenly answered.  My children… my children know me better than anyone else in my life right now. The realization not only surprised me…it humbled me. So, I posted this same question on Facebook a few days ago, ” I received a lot of; “Me, myself & I”, or “My boyfriend/husband or BFF.” Only one parent, responded, “My daughter.”  Wow! I was once again over taken by both my tears and laughter.

I’m learning that I see and understand the obvious about my children. Those things that are right in my face, I can’t help but notice them. It’s the little nuances about them I’m overlooking. One of them being just how in tune they are with me. I could say it was the tone I  used when saying hello to my son that snapped him to action and made him pick up his sister in order to give me a break that night, but it wasn’t the tone alone. I didn’t ask him for a break this night, although I have in the past. He understood my feelings because he’s been studying me for the last 15 years of his life. I don’t have to speak a word, and my son will not only sense my energy but he’ll understand what to do. He’ll comfort me the best way a 15-year-old son can or he’ll shoot me a comforting smile and leave me alone for awhile. Either way, it always makes me feel understood.

My daughter has been teaching me to watch my facial expressions. One day I was thinking (going over bills, no doubt), when she asked, “Mommy are you mad?” I snapped out of my zone and replied, “No sweetie, not at all. I’m just thinking.” A week later I must have been in another zone without even realizing it because my little one approached me and said, “Can you please stop thinking? It makes you look mad.”

That day on my bed, everything made sense. These children, my children, cradled in my womb for months, felt every single emotion I felt. How could they not understand me? I noticed it with my son, but this second time around I’m really paying attention. My daughter studies me. She’s aware of most of my moves and moods, and when one catches her off guard her brother fills her in. If no one else in this world gets me, I’m fully aware that my children understand… they get me. They may not agree, but they get me and love me the same.

I’m humbled by this realization. I’ve looked at them both quite differently lately. I allow them to teach me instead of always trying to teach them.  If I can be completely naked with you for a moment?  Some of the things I’ve taught them I wish I hadn’t. Things like being completely upset over the smallest issue, fully knowing that what they did wasn’t the issue, the underlying issue really had nothing to do with them. Or arguing with my love in front of them and not acknowledging that if you argue in front of your children, shouldn’t they be around to see the two of you communicating and making up? I know for a fact, rarely do children see their parents work out the blowup they may have had twenty minutes ago. They just assume things are okay when their parents resume speaking again. What is that teaching them? This realization also made me ask myself, “Am I taking an equal interest in understanding and knowing who my children are as much as their interest is in me?” hmmm…I say, yes and no to that question. I’m very guilty of being caught up in my own world at moments.

As we mature and grow older, we of course break away from mommy, that’s natural and a part of life. However, our little ones are truly focused and pay great attention to us.  For instance, a co-worker of mine told me she was once upset at one of her daughters, she couldn’t help yelling at her in that moment. Her youngest daughter chimed in and said, “Mommy, just breath.”  Sound familiar? Another friend of mine shared a private moment with me by telling me her child grabbed her hand one day and said, “I’m here Mommy, I’m still here.” This friend  lost her mother a few months ago and was still grieving. My point is they listen, they watch, they study…they understand.

For those of you with little ones please take a moment out of  your hectic schedule, if you haven’t already and remember all the things your child(ren) have done or said in letting you know he/she understands you. Marvel in it! Trust in those tiny bodies that have the capacity to intake and retain more then we can as adults. Fully take in and acknowledge that they understand you, your next move and mood swings more than you’ve ever thought possible. More importantly, take the time to enjoy them!

Thanks for taking the journey!

xoxo Journey Ward xoxo

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9 Responses to “The Gift Is Greater Once You Understand”

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I loved this one too! Makes you want to have a child!

What a great post – Thank you! This connection is unbelievably amazing!

Unfortunately, I find myself not having the maturity in the moment quite often lately, and when it fails me, I’d apologize at bedtime when my son & I are having a “good night” talk. I swear I feel my son’s whole body sigh in relief after I have simply and very specifically voiced regretting my own behavior.

If you do find yourself swept up in the emotion of it all, which at times we all will, remember the words of the brilliant psychologist Dr. Haim Ginott. He stated in his book, Between Parent and Child:

“There is a place for parental anger in child education. In fact, failure to get angry at certain moments would only convey to the child indifference, not goodness … This does not mean that children can withstand floods of fury and violence; it means only that they can stand and understand anger that says, “There are limits to my tolerance.”

“Anger should be expressed in a way that brings some relief to the parent, some insight to the child, and no harmful side effects to either of them.”

Elena,

I love this!!! I love it to the point of purchasing this book. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and bringing Dr. Haim Ginott to my attention. I truly believe sharing our thoughts are vital to being successful with everything in our lives. It truly takes a village to raise children.

very heart warming, im in floods of tears and every emotion possible running through my vains

Lynda,

Thank you so much for your comment. Parenting isn’t always easy to discuss. We always hear conversations on the fun times, but the challenging times are often kept a secret. The more we discuss the more help we give to one another. I appreciate you journeying with us. Stay tuned and chime in at any time.

xoxo Journey xoxo

I could actually find myself thinking back at some of the times my daughter has read my expression and commented…”Mommy, don’t be upset, it’s o.k.”, without me even saying a word, but the look said it all. I enjoy all the post but this one (as many others) has touched close to home. As usual, thanks for sharing!

thank you for touching my heart and reminding us to see our children.

I love this article. It’s interesting how our children seem to be aware we’re about to get into an argument/ disagreement before it even happens. The fifteen year old, with a “Oh boy, here we go” look on his face, swiftly disappears (if not trapped in a car). The 2 year old tries to run heavy interference, even offering advice when neccessary… “Daddy, you’re talking too much.” Our children and their levels of understanding, are truly amazing. I love you!

Your posts always make me react with laughter or tears…You write beautifully. Thanks for sharing.

We miss you!
Love, Nati’s Mom (Liz)


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