You may or may not know this, but I have a first son who is both the very heart of me and a bit of my pain. He came into the world unexpectedly, very early, and he will continue to surprise me the rest of his life. I have this theory about people. I think they way they enter this world gives you insight about who they are, what their journey might be like. And my oldest is one of those people that although he appears to have every gift possible, he will struggle through the small tasks to find his own greatness. And I believe he has it, greatness. He is strong and determined. But like many of us, we can only do great things once we are able to understand and work with our own minds. His mind sometimes gets the best of him.
So many nights I go to bed crying if he had a particularly hard day doing something small and a particularly easy time doing something hard. Sometimes I cry happy tears because I watch him glide through a day gloriously, and sometimes I cry more because his day was rough all the way through. He will tell me, “Mom, I just had a tough day today.” He will even have a few tears sometimes. It’s as if he is frustrated by his own inability to harness self-control or focus. Those days he has tears of his own, I die. And then I wake the next day, knowing it will all be ok. I tell him it doesn’t matter how yesterday went. We still have today. We all make mistakes, so let yesterday’s mistakes go. And let’s try to do better right now. I say a lot of things to him.
At night I rub his back sometimes because he has little knots all over, from trying so hard to be perfect or trying to do what he’s supposed to do, when it seems his body wants to do something else. Most nights, I have started telling him to breathe out all the bad each night before he sleeps. We do it together, and I touch his back gently while he breathes out everything that makes him feel negative or sad or angry or frustrated or anxious. And he does. And then I ask him to imagine he is breathing in all things good, things that make him happy or make him smile or laugh or giggle or jump. And then he goes to sleep.
But today, my beautiful son was laughing and loving life. He wasn’t frustrated when I had to ask him ten times to get back to work. He smiled at me and even though he didn’t go back to work perfectly, he found a way to get everything done. He jumped in my lap and laughed at me blissfully. There was nothing behind his eyes, no frustration, no personal unmet expectations, no self-degradation. I looked into the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen in my life and asked, “What is making you so happy today, son? You look radiant.”
He said, “Mom, I’ve been listening to you.”
“What did I say?”, I said. I talk a lot, in case you hadn’t guessed.
He said, “I’ve been letting go of the bad stuff, mom. I’ve been working on it. It really helps.”
I don’t know how to follow that up. But it might have been the best moment of my life to date. He heard me, and it helped him. I have this secret place where I search every single day for a way to make his life more full of beauty and less worry, but some people just worry more. I yearn to find the ways he can succeed and not be too hard on himself. And this, this was that powerful moment for me.
Some days I need a little nugget of truth, a little ray of sunshine, a little second of history that shows how good things are and can be. I need to know-maybe-I can make a positive difference in my son’s life. This was my everlasting moment today.