For this old thinker of a mom, this post and this moment have been a long time coming. After a decade of being a mom you would think I would have been granted with some bit of Sage wisdom or if I could go back and do something different it would be a, b and c. But if you asked me in this very moment I would tell you the wisdom can really be summed up in that of those brain made memories, some of them almost like videos they are so crisp, some of them in slow-mo because you believed for a second you may have been able to change it if you would have done things differently. But I suppose the one bit of sage wisdom would be that I wouldn't change any of it....I don't wish for any of it to be different....not even the hard stuff. And boy howdy has there been hard stuff, especially with my soon to be double-digiter. And if there is one other thing I would pass on it would be the encouragement to really get know your kids, don't be afraid of the sticky parts, of the things that you would maybe change (go ahead judge me for saying that out loud) figure out what makes them tick, strive to know who God has created them to be, because these facts are where the true blessings in mothering hide.
Tonight before I wrote this I laid in bed with the hubdub and reminisced about the day Elliot was born. We talked about how I nearly killed him for eating ranch doritos right before I went into hard labor, this is not the best choice when breathing in your wife's face through doubled up contractions. We talked about how he made me watch the European Antique Roadshow through the whole bout of my labor. And we talked about how our moms were there and how invaluable that was. But mostly I thought about what a great team we made in that delivery room. How I never felt alone for one second, how there was never a moment that I thought I wouldn't make it and the moment I had him I knew why. The moment we had Elliot I knew that life would never be the same. I knew we were in for something great. That being Elliot's mom would forever be my greatest surprise.
Elliot was born into the world with the look of a little old man. His face looked of that of someone much older and wiser of his several minutes old self. And so it has gone for the past 10 years. He is wise beyond his years this one. We always joke that there is 50 year old man stuck in his body, constantly trying to take him over. He loves to read the newspaper, he loves technology, he loves to debate, theology and faith based conversations are some of his favorite and they keep him awake at night. He frustrates me to no end but he also amazes me beyond my wildest dreams. And I have learned a lot about him in this last year.
Often Elliot can be frustrating because he is frustrated:) He likes to understand things to their core. He needs to know why....now every parenting book out there will tell you that this is a big "no no" when parenting...because I said so should suffice in all situations with truly obedient children. But not my Elliot, his soul needs the explanation, and so it goes. We have talked to him like an adult since he was 2 years old and it just how we do. I threw out my parenting books at about the same time and instead I have strived for much of that time to surround myself with other women who have done it before, whom I respect and admire, not women with perfect children but women with lovely hearts and open minds. Women who don't judge but support. With mothering my children I have found those relationships to be invaluable. And I pray daily that I can return that great gift by sharing it with others. Because when your children are two you think you may know it all but when they are 10 you realize you know nothing. And so now you know Jager's hate parenting books and classes and I keep trying to change it that but I think that recently I have become quite comfortable with the fact.
This year has tested my strength in being Elliot's mother, it has stretched and grown my love for him in ways I would have never dreamed. It is funny how when they are born you think you couldn't possibly love them more than you do in that moment but the truth is it continues to mound like scoops on an ice cream cone. Each bump in the road stretches and grows it almost simultaneously because the stretching requires the growing and vice versa. But this year has also brought a new aspect to our relationship and that has been one of trust. When our kids are small they trust us almost inherently, they learn early -if you do not raise them like wolves- that you are their source for just about everything. Food, Love, Safety, Shelter to name a few. But the problem or maybe the beauty rather is that as they grow they start to think for themselves and as that happens the trust can fade because you are not always making the decisions that they would like you to make. We have had that for the first time this year and I have had to ask Elliot to trust me, I never have had to do this before. And it has been hard and it has rocked my mama world in ways I never imagined it to be rocked, and it has been painful but it also been oh so good. God has used it to not only grow my relationship with Elliot but also to show me the flaws in my relationship with Him. And so for now I have earned his trust again, I am sure that will falter once or twice along the way but I continue to pray that I will have the wisdom enough to take the time to let him question me, so I can explain the heart of the matter.
I have learned in the last year that Elliot is a justice fighter. Oh boy, I think he got this from me and if he learns when to cast it out and when to reel it in he will find it to be one of his greatest assets and one of his biggest faults. It goes way beyond don't mess with my mom for this kid. He is an underdog finder, a broken winged bird picker upper, a stray dog lover, he roots for the losing team and will stand up for what he knows is right until the bitter bloody end and it can get ugly. He hangs on through the hard stuff and I love that about him. He loves bigger than his heart can handle and I know that he will have his heart broken many more times in his life. But he uses his heart for good and it's a beautiful thing.
But mostly I have learned that boys are weird and I still don't understand them, they make weird noises and smell funny. I do happen to be quite fond of this smelly, noisy boy.
Bottom line though, I am incredibly humbled and honored that God chose me to be Elliot's mom, he has brought me more joy than I could have ever imagined and definitely more than I have deserved. I pray that when he is a dad someday -a long time from now- he will be blessed with as great a surprise as I have been.