and a little child shall lead them.. or me at least.

Child & Co.

Just now, a moment ago, I was given a gift by my beautiful 5 yo.  He didn’t know he was giving me a gift.  That happens a lot.  Especially with him.  He is such a loving and thoughtful child.  Sometimes, without motive, he will come up to me and put his arms around me and say ” I wuv you mom”  and plant a big wet kiss on me and run away.   I am just blown away by the way it always seems to be at a time that something like that can make all the difference in my day.

We are getting ready to go dye Easter Eggs at my parents house and then have Easter dinner as well.  We do it on Saturday night before because there is so much going on for different members of the family with church etc that it is less stressful.  We have the time to enjoy each other and the food.. and that is what it really is all about right?

There is a tree in the yard he is enamored with.  He asked me if he could go play while I am getting everything together.  I asked him what he would do and he pointed out the tree and stated matter of factly that he was going to climb the tree and go out to the outer most branches and jump to the grass.

Easter eggs in a tree Français : Oeufs de Paqu...

Easter eggs in a tree Français : Oeufs de Paques dans un arbre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a parent who thinks it is silly to try to tell your children the consequences of their actions if the lesson can be learned better by experience.  If it’s cold and I tell them to take a coat and they don’t want to, I will not  push the issue.

Because if they insist on the course of action their stubborn little minds tell them is right, just to convince themselves they have control over themselves or environment, or are grown..well I will let them figure it out for themselves.

I won’t admit it, (readily) that I do get a sort of sick satisfaction out of watching them freeze their little behinds off and then the next time the situation arises, they go get their coats.  Lesson learned and hey, Mom, is a pretty smart chick.

All with no fighting.

Unless it might involve serious physical injury, such as say, running with scissors, throwing knives at each other, playing in traffic.  You know, the things that are statistically more likely to result in maiming and impromptu trips to the ER.

Especially on Holidays.  It kind of throws things off a little.

So I look at the tree and then at him.  He is wearing his dinosaur pajama pants, a short sleeve orange and white striped shirt and sneakers.  And he is cute.   Another thing I don;t push much with my kids is fashion protocol.  They can wear pretty much what they want.  Self expression is entertaining and there will be plenty of time for the aches of trying to fit in when they go to Jr High.

I say

I’d rather you didn’t.

Why?

(oh yes child of mine)

Well what if you slip and fall and break your arm 

while thinking more like, breaking his neck or cracking his head… ug.

But Mom, I did it yesterday.  And Mom, what if I don’t?  

Well you can hardy argue with that logic can you?  So i told him he could go play, that he could even play in the tree, although I preferred he refrained from the swinging out to the grass part… really.

So he went off to play, by himself and I retreated to my room which has a clear view of his tree of choice and peeked behind the curtains.  I watched for several minutes, he didn’t know and I was taken about how I could see the wheels turning in his head.

When I was a child I used to play by myself quite a bit.  Dress up and stories in my head that I acted out.  I clearly remember now and then stopping and wondering if anyone was watching me.

As I watched my son, I was filled with .. gratitude to be able to witness him at an unguarded and crucial. moment.

He decided to climb the tree and my stomach churned a bit.  He got higher and my heart started pounding.  He started to scootch out to the branch of swinging and my mouth got dry and I had to consciously stop from yelling out the window.  It really isn’t that far of a fall.  But he was alone he thought and proceeding thoughtfully, and with caution, so I bit my tongue and continued to watch.

The most amazing thing happened.  He stopped, and decided for whatever reason against continuing out that branch and started back the way he had come.

And got stuck.

My first inclination upon realizing his dilemma, was to go help him get out of it.  Then, to let him figure it out on his own.

He made several false starts.  turned and tried to go a different way.  I held my breath as I saw the possible consequences of how he was choosing to solve his predicament but still, I watched.

He finally navigated back to the main trunk, and sat there considering jumping, actually had a couple of prelaunch movements.  After some consideration, he turned around and hugged the tree with all his might and slid to the ground.   When his feet touched, he let go of the tree and the look of complete satisfaction in himself?…… priceless.

He looked at the house while starting to run, surely to tell me of his achievement, then paused as he saw me watching him.

Look Mom, My arm isn’t broke!  

It surely isn’t.

And I thought about being a Mom.  How my job is not to tell them how to do it, or even what to do, (so much..with their lives )  but to be there to share their achievements, to advise them, to support them.  To teach them how to think for themselves, to be leaders and confident of their abilities.

My next thought was that my son taught me something today.

There are so many choices  we can make that can hurt us.  So many risks that sound like fun but hold the possibility of, a broken heart, or hurt feelings.  So many times we live a guarded fearful life because the fear of love, of trusting. so many possibilities wasted by the thought….

What if I get hurt?  

Well yeah,

but what if I don’t.  

Lizzie Cracked (never broken.  Even when  I fall out of trees..)

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11 responses to “and a little child shall lead them.. or me at least.

  1. I can picture the scene that you watched from behind the window and I almost felt like I was watching him myself.

    How brave you were not to interfere but to let him work it out himself. When my children were that age…I probably…no I WOULDN’T have had the willpower not to go to the tree with him and make sure he didn’t have a fall. It’s just the way I was….super careful that I was…I guess much too protective. But then that’s what I knew..that’s what my mother was like and she was my compass in a lot of things in my life

    It was a beautiful story!…. Diane

  2. Wonderful post, that little guy! What an adorable kid! I wish I would have been as smart as you when I was raising my kids! Sigh… I guess that’s why we get grandkids!

  3. What a great job you are doing parenting your son! I’m sure in the future he will appreciate the times you let him learn for himself. Great post Lizzie!

    • thank you. It took me a while to realize my parenting style and make it into something that was positive and not… there are a few not so nice words. My illness has caused me to not do some of the very important things that my kids need.. that;s not an excuse and not …when I realized why parenting is so hard for me I looked for things that made me a good, albeit unconvetional parent. My kids will not have some things or skills that maybe they should but they will -are well rounded and open minded and fearless… I cry when I think of the damamge not understanding their mother, of their mother not understanding herself has done but I have just stepped back and tried to, as I am doing for all my life now, find the good and adapt. they are wonderful and smart and brave.. and I have help with the things that I am not good at. It takes a village..once I let the village help, hopefully they will appreciate the unique mother I know I am.. probably not til they have kids of their own but hey… I got time and the only thing I want is that they are happy…

      • As long as they have love, almost anything else is forgivable – none of us are perfect parents & our kids just have to do the best with what we can give them. Just as we have to do the best with what we have to parent them. When we know better, we do better (paraphrasing Maya Angelou). We all do the best we can.

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