Some people go through life never knowing their guardian angels, if they have one or who they are. Some don't believe in them and that's fine. But I happen to have the bittersweet privilege of being so very well taken care of by one and even to know him….my sweet baby Chase. I know he looks out for me and he's with me all the time. I get reminded of it very acutely sometimes. Like the other day…
Owen goes in little phases. Sometimes he's in timeout several times in a week and then he'll go a few weeks without even seeing the chair. I'll say this now: I am not proud of the way I act sometimes. My behavior and anger that is provoked by his misbehaving and tantrums can be unnecessary. Though I feel I have myself under control, I regret being rough with him sometimes. Keep in mind, this kid is one that does not learn with only timeout, only a spanking, or only a raised voice. He needs all three and then sometimes, in the case of hurting others or throwing and/or breaking things, he requires more to help learn the lesson. Saying that out loud sounds rough but because of my experience raising kids, I don't judge others for how they discipline or how they punish, within limits. Raising kids is tough. They push and pull you in all sorts of directions and test your sanity in moments of fatigue and weakness. And you are expected to prevail, remain logical and reasonable, and know what to do. Stay-at-home parents with kids at home are tested in that this environment 100% of the time. There is no down time. No time-off. No holidays. (If lucky, you have a babysitter on occasion and if extremely lucky, gramma can watch the kids for a weekend getaway. But not everyone is and some of us wait several years for this kind of relief.)
Owen was in a phase of frequent Time-Out visits (they seem to compound each other…perhaps my tolerance level declines as his frequency increases…which is first?) a couple weeks or so ago. I was feeling guilty for getting angry and handling him with less than acceptable care when removing him from his misbehaving spot and placing him in timeout. (read: jerking him around) I was feeling guilty because...he still loved me. I have teenagers in the house too so I am now living in a world where kids get mad and can stay mad; they don't forgive so quickly. But Owen still does. He forgives me within minutes. Seconds. And sometimes, when I'm mad at him and scolding him in my own shameful ways, he grabs my neck and hugs me. That is when my discipline is like a boomerang: I send it out and it comes right back at me, fast and furious. Because he is going to love me no matter what I do. Just as I love him no matter what he does. But the moment of anger is not getting either of us anywhere.
My guardian angel stepped in one day and gave me something. He gave me a perspective so clear that I can't believe it had gotten so far from my thoughts. I realized that these days are so soon to be over. This toddler age of defiance and tantrums is almost done for me and then I will have no more. Ever. Ever. Ever. And it hit me like a ton of bricks. It's like the last 10 seconds of an exercise to muscle fatigue. It's almost over. Don't fight it. Hang on and muster through it and it will be done. Soon. And then one day, you'll be sad. You'll want it back. And you won't get it back. It will be too late.
The rest of this story is that I didn't see Chase's intervention until just the other day. And I started crying. It was him. He was the one who gave me that quick glance into my crystal ball and reminded me to chin up. And I thanked him. Through my tears and gut wrenching ache I was thankful for this perspective. The biggest, most tangibly intangible gift he has given me. And then I miss him. All over again. Fresh. It hurts not to have him here. It's not fair. I don't understand why. This would be his last year home with me as he would be starting kindergarden next year. I would be sad and crying but instead, I'm broken hearted, forever changed, sad beyond comprehension. But I also chose to be grateful. Grateful for my guardian angel to watch over me. I cannot change our fate. I thank him for helping me see what is in front of me when my eyes are blinded by every day stresses and tasks. When I feel like I'm messing things up with Owen or being a bad mom to him and getting undeserving hugs and love from that little boy, when I feel like I'm failing at the only thing I really know how to do and love to do, when I feel inadequate and lost when I look in the mirror, he helps me to see. He's there to send thoughts into my head and tell me what I need to hear, or what I need to say, or what I need to appreciate more.
I can't always explain it. And I don't always know why I fix things when they need to be fixed. That sounds elementary but often times I try to fix things after its already too late. But I guess it's better late than never. Because it's never too late to love or feel loved. And that's all I'm really trying to do.