It Really Does Run Quickly, Doesn’t It?

Something reminded me of a post I published back in 2015 (2015! Both the blink of an eye and an eternity at the same time) and as I read through the story, I found myself holding back tears. The emotions bubbled from a place of parenthood: remembering my child as being small enough to sway in a Little Tike’s swing and imagining him, right now as I type this, at school where that piece of fear for his safety chews away at the edges of my heart–a burden I feel most parents experience every day here in the U.S. It bubbles from a place of remembering that back in 2015, I could lead 3 or 4 yoga classes in a day and still have the energy to garden, prepare fresh meals, and play with my critters (the human and non-human ones) until bedtime. These days, the idea of that wears me out and makes me, for lack of any more sophisticated term, very sad.

I do care for my critters, still. I wouldn’t say I “do yoga” but I do stretches every day. I haven’t taught a yoga class since I think, 2018. It’s fine, but I do miss it often enough. I go for walks most days where I listen to podcasts that make me laugh so I don’t think so much about some of the other, heavier things I’ve written about.

My child is old enough to clap back at me with a bad attitude which (if I’m being honest) mostly makes me laugh because he’s testing his boundaries. He’s trying on so many different outfits to see which one makes him feel the best and I know this because I remember being his age and boy howdy did I do the same. I was talking with another mom the other day who said that she sends her kid to his room when he tosses attitude her way and yeah, sometimes I do that. But what seems to work for my curly-headed kid is that when he, let’s say says, “ugh, MOM! Why do I HAVE to clean my room?! I like it like this!” I say, alright, bud, come here.

I sit on the couch and pat the seat next to me. I sit with my legs crossed and ask him to do the same so that we’re looking right at each other.

“I’m going to need you to try to put some words on your feelings right now, bud,” I say in so many different ways.

This always gets a groan and often an eye roll.

“C’mon,” I continue, “are you angry? Are you frustrated? Are you sad?”

Typically he responds with frustrated. He’s started using the word “stressed” lately, too.

“Okay,” I usually say, “let’s talk about why you’re feeling frustrated / stressed.”

“I don’t know,” he usually says or, “because I don’t want to clean my room and that makes me upset.”

Then I can tell him I get it; that cleaning isn’t fun for a lot of people. I don’t like cleaning either, but, bud, imagine if I never cleaned the kitchen? How would we prepare food? Or what if I never washed his clothes? What If I never cleaned the litter box or the stalls in the barn?

He’ll argue that–talking about how his room being clean doesn’t matter to anyone but him.

“Oh but, buddy, then you don’t know what strange little creatures are hiding under your piles of dirty clothes/Legos/books/whatever.”

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t you know that’s where spiders LOVE to lay their eggs? Under piles of things?”

“I like spiders,” he’ll tell me (clever kid).

“Oh, haha, silly me, I forgot. Well, then did you think about the bigger bugs that come in looking to eat the baby spiders once they hatch?”

“What bigger bugs?”

“I dunno,” I’ll shrug, “all kinds, but I don’t even know the names of them.”

“Well,” he’ll say, “I’ve never seen bigger bugs, so…”

I smile, “Well that’s because the eggs probably haven’t hatched yet. Your ears don’t itch, do they?”


“I dunno, just checking,” I’ll say, shrugging, “sometimes if spiders are afraid of the bigger bugs, they might lay their eggs in your ear. But if they don’t itch, you’re probably fine.”

He’ll subtly scratch his ears.

“Also, bud,” I’ll continue, “even if you’re frustrated, you should clean your room because I asked you to and it makes me sad when you get upset with me for asking for your help.”

He’s thrown back at me comments like, “well, if we’re both frustrated, then neither of us should clean! We should do something else!”

“Fair point,” I’ll tell him, “We could do something else, but now I’m worried about stepping on spider eggs. I’d feel really bad if I smushed a bunch of baby spiders.”

This goes back and forth for a long time with different and increasingly more ridiculous examples (he’s caught onto my method, I know this). Spiders, zombies, monsters, ghosts (this kid isn’t scared of anything anymore) and sometimes, we do decide to do something different for a little while with the promise of cleaning time in an hour or whatever. But I make him sit there with me and talk about his feelings which, look, if you have a young son, this is nails on a chalkboard for the most part. But I try to make him laugh. If he has a pouty face, I make one back at him and he can’t help but laugh.

Eventually, the room will get clean, and often, I compromise to help him so long as he helps me with my chores, too.

I’m not really sure how I got on that tangent. Maybe it’s imagining that little baby in a swing, curling his toes back and forth and realizing how flabbergasted I am that I can have these dynamic, ridiculous, and funny conversations with him now. I don’t know what I’m doing, but then again, what parent really does? I’m tipping into my late 30s and still feel like I’m constantly looking for the adult in the room to tell me what to do or validate what I am doing.

It brings me back to what I tell myself, tell my son, and tell any of my friends or family that ask me for any sort of advice (even though I never feel qualified to answer) and that’s that if you’re doing your absolute best and you’re leading with love, I think you’re on the right path. We’re all going to f*ck up. We’re all going to get it wrong a million times. We’re all going to miss the moments when the whole sky changes and regret that we did. We’re all going to stumble over our words when we’re anxious and kick ourselves for days/weeks/months that we didn’t say what we wanted to say in the way that we meant it…but if we’re doing out best and leading with love, what else really can you do? Be perfect? That’s not an option and who would really want that? It’d get boring. We need drama, in the right doses. We’re a dramatic species; how else can you explain theater?

Be you. Flawed, ridiculous, lost, but trying your best, you.

Anyway, here’s that story I brought up in the beginning from 2015 if you wanted to check it out:

I’d forgotten about that story, that moment. I’m happy to have been able to imagine it again.

I love you, whoever you are,

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