The last couple of weeks have been busy.
Alex, my 8 year old has been doing it tough.
We’d well run out of leave when the holidays seemed like they still had forever to go so we’ve been tag teaming working from home, (an allowance I am so grateful for!!) and the teenagers have given up their teenage adventuring to help out with keeping him entertained on the days when being in the office couldn’t be avoided.
The summer holidays seem endless. They’re hot and without much structure or routine. That’s tough on most kids, but it’s especially tough on Alex. The child who thrives on knowing exactly what to expect from every minute of the day.
I’ve been feeling so disconnected from him recently.
I haven’t been putting enough effort into his emotional needs.
I forget sometimes, when life is hectic and the house is full, that half his life is spent as an only child. I forget to acknowledge how difficult the transition must be for him to go from not only not being the only child, but to also not being the baby in the house.
At 8, he’s stuck in that awkward middle where he wants to be treated like a big kid, but he also wants to be given the allowances and exceptions that were automatically given in his younger years.
The expectations of him are changing so drastically and so quickly at this stage and it’s just another transition he has to contend with.
Some days his bad attitude is because he needs to be reminded of the boundaries, but all days, Alex needs positive reinforcement, love and focused attention.
I always love this little ray of sunshine but sometimes I forget to show him, or vocalise that to him in a way he can really perceive it.
Tonight we left starting dinner a little late and he needed an early night, so tonight when given the choice, he asked for cereal for dinner.
Tonight I sat with him at the table and we chatted. I expressed how grateful I was that he had been so patient with us while we had to work these last few weeks, even though that meant that some of his holiday days were boring.
He told me that when he stopped and refocused, and stopped only wanting to be on his technology all the time, he realised that there were actually so many fun things to do. He apologised for not realising sooner.
Tonight I was taken aback at the way he is growing. The way his personality is forming. The wisdom that always takes me by surprise is coming out more and more often and I’m sad that of late I may have been too busy to hear it.
Tonight I asked Alex what I could do to be a better mum.
Tonight Alex asked me what made me ask that and told me that I’m the best mum he’s ever known. “And he’s known some pretty great mums”.
Tonight I listened while he told me in his own words, the things that I could do to be a better mum. All they were, were time. Adventures. Dates with just the two of us.
Tonight he assured me that he knows we already do those things, he’d just like it if there were even more. Oh, and more ice cream of course.
I realised tonight that most of the times it seems like Alex is falling off the tracks, he’s doing so because I haven’t had enough time to properly focus on being fully present for him. In the way he needs. In the way I know he needs.
Life is busy, time is scarce, our house is full, but I am his Mama and I need to make sure he knows that he trumps all of those things for me.
I need to be better.
Tonight I took him to bed and I held him close and told him stories from when he was a baby. He told me stories of Spiderman and I looked down at him with tears in my eyes.
That little angel child is mine, I might be the luckiest Mum in the world.
Tonight I realised I need to make sure he knows that.
I need to tell him more. I can’t assume he knows.
Tonight I felt our connection re-spark.
Tonight, I promised to keep it lit.
That little boy deserves so much more than me, and yet there he lay, looking up at me with all the love one little human could possible possess.
I need to be better.