I have a book I hold near and dear to my heart, which I fondly refer to as my “How to be a Mom, Book.” It gives me confidence in my abilities as a Mom, whenever I doubt how I’m raising my Ninjas (it’s a daily occurrence, especially since the husband isn’t here). Basically, it tells someone who never babysat in her youth, or ever wanted to be a Mom as an adult, how to be a Mom. Yes, that’s me. Yes, I’m amazed at how far I’ve come. Yes, I still need all the help I can get.
Today, I sought counsel on Ninja #1, my 3 year old who is challenging me lately with his fight for independence. It seems my patience has been worn too thin; my temper flares too frequently. By the end of the day, after tucking him in, I mentally review my reactions to his growing-up and chide myself on not talking softer, or hugging him harder. I’m struggling with letting go of the things that really don’t matter.
You know by now that both of my Ninjas have Eczema. Ninja #1 had it particularly bad (diagnosed with severe chronic Eczema) for 2 of his 3 years. While he still has Eczema on his body, it’s relatively controlled now and gradually disappearing, thankfully. But for 2 years, I watched my Ninja’s every move to make sure nothing he did made his Eczema worse (no scratching, no sweating, as little stress as possible, nothing he’s allergic to, etc.). For just over a year, my Ninja slept in my bed so I could make sure he didn’t scratch himself bloody at night. It wasn’t until this past February that he started sleeping on his own again, and I still struggle with watching his video monitor all night to make sure he’s okay.
Our journey with Eczema has put a road block in my journey as a mother who learns to watch her son grow from a safe distance. Like all mothers, I want my Ninja safe and I often feel I’m the only one who can keep him safe. Learning to let go is a fight I have with myself over every argument I have with my Ninja now. Sitting back and watching him discover the world and make sense of it all is something I have to teach myself to do again. When he was a baby I marveled at how amazing he found life to be. I watched in awe every time he learned something new, and the excitement he felt by it. Now, I tell him about the newness before he can experience it himself, just so he’s prepared and won’t be too stressed about it.
As my Ninja argued with me today about wanting to clean up certain toys before other toys (such a little thing to argue over, I know), I realized he was arguing to let me know he was okay. He is growing up and he’ll be okay. I can let go and watch him discover the world again. It will be okay.
And so, after my Ninja was tucked in for bed, I consulted my “How to be a Mom, Book,” because I still feel I don’t have the natural mothering talent so many of my friends have, and I needed to know that I’d deciphered my Ninja’s argument correctly.
What I read made my heart smile: “Enjoy the magic of 3 and marvel at the hard work it takes to put the world in order.”
And with that, everything makes sense to me again. I can hug him and let go.