My sweet Boston has been having some anger issues lately. I’m pretty sure I should get him into tae kwon do or wrestling or karate because that boy has skills. His screaming is also top notch. You know how that little baby at the end of The Incredibles turns all red and freaky at the end? I never liked that part of the movie. It seemed so weird for the writers to give a sweet, chubby, little baby SCARY super hero powers.
Well, call Boston…Baby Jack Jack. That is exactly how he looks when he goes into anger mode lately, only with more hair and bigger.
In these less than delightful moments I am sometimes at a loss. Things happen very quickly, and I cannot always be blamed for what I do or don’t do in self protection mode. Yesterday I had legs kicking, arms wailing, and lungs screaming all at once. Plus, we were at the swimming pool with lots of people all around who will have permanent hearing damage for time and all eternity as a result. Hugs, time outs, and serious voices were not doing the trick. We left in a rage (I may have also resembled Baby Jack Jack by this point). Did I mention this was all over a bag of snacks? D*** you Ranch Veggie Sticks. Why do you have to be so good?
After we calmed down at home I looked at the clock and realized we still had a good hour and a half before Dad would get home. I wasn’t sure what the “right” move was at this point, but for the sake of all our lives I decided to go back to the swimming pool to avoid being alone with my three year old.
The other moms at the pool who had helped me clean up my stuff with non judgmental eyes only ten minutes earlier welcomed me back with their own horror stories. Boston’s friends had seemingly forgotten how frightened we all were ten minutes before and started to play with him like normal. I Marco Poloed my sister, and she commiserated with me about the bad days and then gave me some wonderful advice to try for the next day.
I love Ed Sheeran’s song Castle on The Hill. Part of the lyrics go like this:
One friend left to sell clothes
One works down by the coast
One had two kids but lives alone
One’s brother overdosed
One’s already on his second wife
One’s just barely getting by
But these people raised me and I can’t wait to go home
And I’m on my way, I still remember
This old country lane
When we did not know the answers
I do not know the answers most of the time. But I live around all these women who have different experiences and outlooks and ways of loving. Although my own mother will always be one of the biggest influences on the way I mother, I have never lived near family since becoming a mom. I watched a friend across the street with her three kids when we moved to Omaha and admired the way she mothered. I knocked on her door when I thought Boston’s nose was broken from falling off a pillow (#firstchildmomproblems). She explained he would probably be crying if his nose was broken (go figure…). I texted her late at nights when I was scared that number two was on the way and I wouldn’t know how to do it. She wrote back, “You know how to love and that what you need. You will do great!” She raised me. I look on Instagram and see an uplifting post from a mom I do not even know who inspires me to slow down and just cuddle on that day that felt filled with a dirty house and grocery shopping. She is raising me. I call my sister when I am sure I am doing everything wrong. She tells me she is, too. We cross our fingers that they will turn out anyway. She raises me. Those moms at the pool packed my stuff up and pretended they didn’t hear my toddler make sounds at a pitch that should never have to be heard by the human ear. They said, “it’s ok, you’re ok.” They raise me. My friend sat by my side as I figured out nursing and accidentally flashed her. I sobbed because I had a new baby and hadn’t slept in three days. She told me I’m normal and stayed with me until my husband came home. She raised me. Motherhood seems a lot less scary when I realize I don’t have to know everything. Other women are there with suckers for my kids and diet cokes for my headaches, advice and jokes, hugs and encouragement.
And it is not just me that is getting raised by other people, so are my boys. They will have friends and teachers and other moms and coaches and church leaders and books that help shape and raise them. These people will inspire my children to be better and stronger. I don’t know how to whistle, understand much about pop culture, or stay patient when we are getting ready for church. I might yell sometimes and stink at science and get way too defensive at my husband’s “jokes.” I get feisty and frustrated when babies are crying, and I can’t think. But guess what? Boston and Bennett won’t just be watching me. I am not the only one who is raising them. Where I fall short, others will come in to teach them a better way.
So, thank you, World. My boys and I will take all the raising we can get. I don’t always know the answers, and navigating motherhood and veggie sticks is much too hard to do alone. Also, thank you Ed Sheeran for having a song that is on the radio 24/7, so I actually know some of the lyrics.