One role I never expected you to play in my life, was that of teacher. You have taught me so much, though, and continue to show me just how much I didn’t know before you.
Lately, you’ve helped me see that we adults have created a world that is not especially Theo-friendly. You love to run, jump and climb, but we tell you to slow down, don’t do anything dangerous and to not fall down. You love to yell, push and shove. Yet we tell you to be quiet, to be nice and to play gently.
You experience the world through your body and your movement, yet we get frustrated that you never stop moving and that your curiosity leads you to reach for things that are not yours. You destroy things in your quest for knowledge and your desire to understand.
You love to have fun and ask everyone around you to play with you. Sometimes you become frustrated when other small children won’t play with you. Maybe it’s because they are too little to understand what you are asking, or maybe because they have no interest in doing what you are doing.
Never-the-less, you become frustrated when you can’t engage others and then you try to physically show other children what it is that you want them to do. This usually results in the other child crying, and the child’s mother scolding you (or me, or both). But dear Theo, I know what this is. I know you desire to draw other people into your fun. Oh sweet boy. Don’t get discouraged if other people can’t see what you see. Don’t get discouraged by other people’s shortsightedness.
Theo, I’m tired of scolding you for simply being who you are. I’m tired of feeling like I have to correct you when we are around others, simple because you are a wild, kinetic, hands on kinda guy. I realize that world we’ve brought you into expects you to be tame. No, not tame. Boring. Easy to control. Predictable.
But today, I’m writing this to tell you that I don’t care what the other moms say. I don’t care if your adventurous spirit gets you in trouble. I want you to know that I recognize the energy inside of you, that bubbles up uncontrollably. YOU, son, are a force of nature – constantly moving, shimmering and shaking. I honor you, Theo, for who you are.
I recognize the road ahead will be difficult for you. For both of us. Between the assembly line expectations of this world, the one-size fits all approach to school, and the fact that you are all boy in a world that wants you to just sit down and be quiet, things will not be easy. I know others will view your energy and your physical nature as something that needs to be treated or changed; I know though, that it is a gift that simply needs to be channeled.
This week as I was thinking about you and the special challenges you’ve brought to my life, I realized, those challenges are not born of you being a difficult kid or me being a bad mom, but instead, are born from the struggle that results in two incredible forces colliding. You, son, are an incredible force; a force that the world will have to reckon with someday. You are destined for great, and glorious things.
And I, your mother, am also a force. The struggle I face comes not from being inadequate, impatient or unable…it comes from the immense amount of energy, love and strength that I am pouring into mothering you. This struggle you and I face in living our lives together is not weakness, no. I used to think that but now I know better. You and I are strong. We are powerful. And we are daily being refined by each other as we walk through life together, as mother and son.