Thursday, January 10, 2013
Parenting provides no guarantees.
It has been just over four years since Reece came into my life and made me a Mother. That moment changed me forever. The journey, to this point, has been filled with many decisions, some harder than others and some met with more judgement than others, but we (Justin and I) have made them. A lot of our decisions are based on gut feelings, our instinct (more my instinct), sometimes from research and gaining more information and always with Reece's best interest in our minds and in our hearts. We make informed decisions, and for the most part, there have been very few decisions we have regretted.
But still, there are no guarantees on this journey. No way of knowing if the decisions we have made are really the best in the long term. At least that is what I thought.
Friends in Reece's life have consisted of the children of moms with whom I hang out with. There is no daycare, preschool or kindergarten in our plans, so the time we spend with my friends and their little ones is the opportunity Reece gets to make friends. In the last month of so I have noticed a shift in how Reece communicates and plays with these children. I listen carefully to these kid conversations, Reece's warm welcoming heart inviting these friends over to his home to play. He is excited to share his home, his toys and his space with these friends. To be so open, so welcoming, well, it feels wonderful to hear these words from my little man. I have also noticed after our play dates he spends a lot of time talking about his "friends". What they did, how they played, and when he will see them again. This makes my heart swell, watching these relationships, these friendships develop and grow. It is pretty amazing.
On Saturday morning, Reece and I both up early, did some baking. Mini muffins were being made and while we were making them Reece informed me that a few of these were for Ben. I said really, and he informed me that yes, he was making some for Ben. He told me he wanted to share some with him the next time he saw him. Well lucky for Reece he saw Ben the next day and he proudly handed over three Reece made muffins to his friend.
As we drove the next day, on the way to Ben's house, I chatted with Reece about a few things. This visit was actually about a course I was taking with a wonderful, inspiring group of people. We are split into two groups, the first group goes behind closed doors for the course while the second group hangs with all the kiddos. Then we switch. Most of the kiddos have both parents participating, and have a parent in each group so one is always available to them. Justin isn't taking the course so while I am behind closed doors Reece is in the hands of the other adults. I have complete faith and trust in this community, but this was to be the first time Reece stayed with anyone that wasn't me, Justin or my parents. I really had no idea how it would turn out.
Our chat in the car gave Reece the rundown of the afternoon. I let him know that while I was in the course Ben's mom would be with him so she could help him if he needed anything. I also wanted to check in to see how he would handle situations if they occurred. So I asked a few questions, let him decide how he might handle things and then we talked. The last question I asked was what he would do if someone hit him, you know how kiddos can be, and I wanted to make sure Reece wouldn't slug anyone back if it happened. What came from my little man's mouth brought a smile to my face. "Mom," he said, "I would say, we don't hit."
When I came down from my course, Reece was running around and playing with the others. He didn't notice I had even come back. He was laughing and having a great time. I stood back. I watched him. He is growing, he is gaining confidence, he is stepping out of his comfort zone and he is thriving. I see in him kindness, trust, and independence. I see a little man taking some pretty big steps out into the world around him and enjoying every minute of it.
Yes, there are no guarantees on this journey we are on, but there are clues, little hints along the way that we are on the right path. It is these little hints I am holding close right now as I watch my little man explore his world a little further away from me, developing friendships and opening his heart and soul to others. I am grateful for this Mothering journey I started four years ago and I am grateful I have the confidence to trust my gut and do what feels right, even if it is a little different from the norm.