I am one proud Mom today. Actually, with Michael I am one proud Mom every day. But today was one of those moments when I lit up because I saw him all lit up. And I was so happy it all worked out. We had a little fight this morning with Michael challenging me on the whole listening to Mom thing. In the end, he cooperated as I have learned to stay calm and cool. But I did say one thing I regret. I threatened that if he didn’t listen, I wouldn’t come to see him ice skate at the local arena with his class. He had been talking about me coming for weeks. He was so proud. And I was proud of him! The words slipped out of my mouth in a moment of frustration. I saw the fear and worry that I would follow through, and I would have had to if he had not stopped his yelling and controlling behavior. Fortunately for both of us, he listened. And I worried, but figured he had forgotten all about it. Nope. Not my kid. The older he gets, the more he ruminates on things, and obsesses. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Until two years all I did was ruminate and worry about things. Not anymore, but it took time and patience to teach myself these new skills.
Anyway, on to the good things first. So I watched him ice skate, without a support, holding a hockey stick and hitting the puck across the ice. I took ridiculous amounts of video, waved and chatted with Michael’s friends who came over and blew my little guy kisses. The look of quiet pride and utter happiness on his face made my day and the rest of my week. When he came home, he was grinning and happy to see me as usual. But the first words out of his mouth broke my heart:
“Mommy, why did you say you were not going to come and see me skate? I was so worried. Mommy, I dreamed about it all morning on the bus and all afternoon on the bus ride home.”
He carried that fear with him all day. Poor kid. I have to explain to him the difference between dreaming and worrying. I felt so bad. I apologized and told him the truth. I was mad, he wasn’t listening, and I used that to get him to take me seriously. That wasn’t right to use the visit, and I wouldn’t do that again. I did tell him though that he has to listen to me and not question my authority as his parent. He agreed and though this is something he still struggles with, it is getting better.
This event got me to realize other times when he has been worried about things and ruminated or continued to think about them, rather obsessively. I always said I need to address it, but then other things came up and I’d forget. It struck me that I was that kind of child, and wished I had learned the techniques I knew now at an earlier age to not have wasted so much time and energy on worrying. It kept me back from so many amazing experiences. There are days I feel like a child again, reliving beautiful feelings that I haven’t felt in years as I was afraid to then. I was always afraid from age twelve on, even sometimes before. I don’t want Michael to go through most of his adult life before he can experience peace inside and the ability of letting go of past hurts or people that hurt him.
Exceptional Parents, what or who do you need to forgive or let go of in order to move on and be joyful? Life is lived moment to moment. It’s important to stay in the present moment and not look back with worry or forward with stress. Do you know strategies to help yourself if you are a worrier? I can tell you, I never thought I would change my mindset, but it’s not that difficult or impossible. It just takes small changes made every day in little increments. Then you will be that child skating on the ice for the first time with quiet joy or that adult that learns how to be more patient the next time and honestly can express it without berating themselves. Don’t be afraid to venture into the unknown. Until next time.