Deep Thoughts on Snow Day Four

Snow Day Four.

We slept in. They played video games while I did some work. We went to play with friends. Hit the library. Ate one of their favorite meals for dinner. Read books. I, personally, answered a billion and one questions.

Like, “If a blind person opens their eyes under water, does it still hurt?”

I’ve never, ever thought of that. My youngest son is always, always thinking. I think he’s fantastic.

Snow Day Four doesn’t hurt too much.

I figured they’d at least have a delay if not an entire Snow Day. I kind of wanted the full Snow Day because I wanted an excuse to be lazy. A lazy day with my boys and my dogs and some carbs, because we all need carbs in the winter. It’s how we survive, really.

And then I asked the older of the two boys to take the first, but younger, dog outside to do her business. He didn’t watch her. He didn’t know if she did her business. I was in the process of making dinner. I felt a little frustrated.

So I yelled.

I really don’t like yelling. I would rather avoid yelling. I want to talk about things, teach from a place of calm. Yelling scares me, so I know it has the potential to affect my boys in negative ways too.

My son went off to his room, on his own. I continued stirring homemade alfredo sauce, trying to time noodles and broccoli to end up cooked, but not over- or under-cooked all at the same time. He came out, cheeks and eyes red and swollen with tears.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered.

I took him into my arms, my chin resting on the top of his head.

“I know, buddy. But this is what Daddy and I have been talking about: responsibility, paying attention, being present. This is part of growing up and gaining more independence. It just comes with more responsibility. I love you. Always.”

He nodded. He went and got the book he picked at the library and sat at the dining room table to read while I finished up dinner. He helped set the table. He helped feed the dogs after we finished dinner. Everything went fine for the rest of the evening.

Much like I want my sons to know that one mistake is not the end of the world, I need to model that in my parenting. I sent my husband a text about how negatively I felt about myself for yelling. But if I expect my sons to rebound from supposed or surmised mistakes, shouldn’t I also do the same? Shouldn’t I also give myself the grace I afford them? Shouldn’t I work harder to forgive myself?

My therapist wants me to bring a picture of my 22-year-old—and pregnant—self to my next appointment in two weeks. I’m supposed to talk to myself, tell myself the reasons I’m still angry with that young, scared, very, very alone little mama. Because it’s true: I hold anger with absolutely no one else as to how everything happened. Except me. I’m so very angry with myself.

Today a friend related a story of a mutual friend’s unplanned pregnancy. She shared how she supported her friend through each step of the process. My heart welled up.

“I just needed you,” I said as I walked out the door, heading off to the library with the boys.
“I know.”

It is my goal to someday forgive myself. I know—I know—I did the best I could with the knowledge I had at the time. I repeat that to myself regularly. My therapist said the same thing at my last appointment. The tricky part is getting to the point of forgiveness, of letting it all go.

Because if I’m no longer mad at myself, what’s left?


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Last Baby Tooth

My oldest son lost his last baby tooth yesterday.

Hashtag not okay.

I mean, we all know my loathing of dangling, falling out, bloody baby teeth. I gagged when he told me the tooth felt loose. I gagged when he said he “took it out.” I gagged at the blood he spat in the sink. I gagged writing this paragraph.

But, you guys.

The Tooth Fairy left a five dollar bill in his firefighter tooth pillow.

“Five dollars? Why so much money?”
“Because it’s my last baby tooth, Mom!”

This whole growing up thing doesn’t seem to stop. He’s finished the first half of fifth grade, meaning we’re on the downward slope toward middle school. I’m not ready for any of that nonsense. I don’t even fully understand what the transition from elementary to middle school means for us or looks like yet, but I feel nervous. For him. For me. For our family.

I’m sure he’ll handle it in his own way. I’m sure we’ll figure out how to handle the earlier wake up time and homework. I’m sure I’ll move into the role of middle school mom just fine. Because what else can we do? Move forward.

He teethed early. Both boys did. And now those teeth that caused fevers and crankiness and really long, late nights are all gone. It’s weird. We spent so much time fretting over getting those tiny little things into his face, and just like that, they’re no longer a part of his being.

What if letting go of stuff that no longer serves us was as easy as losing baby teeth? /end deep thought

He’ll need braces in the future as my genetics regarding teeth stink. My apologies to my children; maybe you can blame Papau. His smile as it looks now, with molar gaps on the sides, will change at least two more times before his smile becomes what it will look like for the rest of his life. Those molars will grow in. The braces will move his teeth into place.

And then he’ll own the smile he’ll have as a teenager, a young adult, a grown man, an old man. It’s kind of weird knowing he’s one step closer to something so permanent, one of the things people will notice about him when first meeting him. And no, I’m not even ready to imagine what his voice will sound like in the next couple of years (though I imagine him sounding like my brother for some reason).

Last Baby Tooth

At least he’s now officially done wiggling teeth in my face at seven o’clock in the morning. Hashtag the small things.