"Mama, you do it!" is a phrase I hear often when she wants me to play with her and her babies, draw her a picture, play with play-doh...basically any time she is needing a friend, I am it.: ) (Praising God as I write this because I know these days will go by fast, even though I've let the monotony get to me lately).
So, Super G-e-url wanted Mama to jump off the hearth with her. So I did. And I yelled, "Super Mom," and she giggled.
And we did it again.
And again. (Besides superheroes, she's also in that stage of repetition that has no end).
The joy was contagious and I didn't mind indulging her in the constant jumping...heck, I needed the exercise! But when my seven year old came up, motioned for me to hear a secret, I leaned in smiling and a little out of breath. He whispered,
"Remember when I used to always ask you to play Sonic-mom and you hardly ever did."
His whisper may as well have been shards of glass to my mama-heart. They were sharp, hostile even in the hushed tone, and his eyes were wide with accusation.
At first, I didn't know what to say. He spoke of a time when he was just three years old and was obsessed with Sonic the Hedgehog. And then, I DID remember when he would ask me to play Sonic-mom, and I'd say yes, and he'd run off as happy as can be and I thought it was the easiest entertainment ever.
But what I didn't realize is that something I did or didn't do at those moments, hurt him.
The thing is, in my grown up mind, I wanted to say, "don't be so sensitive.You have a poor memory, because I said yes all the time and you'd run off and play without me."
But how can I tell a seven year old boy that his feelings don't count? I can't. Because they do count. And they are an indicator of a wound--no matter how small--that only I can help heal four years later.
Whether he had expected me to follow him and play my role as Sonic-mom, and when I didn't he stuffed it down and hid his emotion (very typical of his personality) without me knowing...Or I said no one too many times, to a little boy who had two older brothers and their school and activities stealing away attention. I don't know, but it's real and it's something he's held on to.
That night of joyous superhero role play, revealed a crossroads in his heart and our relationship.
I could've shrugged him off, or worse, scolded him for thinking such terrible things about his mother who has always tried to be here for him. I could've slathered him in guilt and shame for being so ungrateful.
Think of the adult that he might become with that message filling his heart?
I could wrap my arms around him, bite back my excuses, and say, "I am so sorry you feel that way. I love you and you are so important to me. I wish I could have played Sonic-mom with you more." And be sure to slather him with the salve of forgiveness and worth.
After doing the latter, I have become more aware of the chances to spend with him. I take every snuggle and I go check on him, just because. "Super Mom" can't just settle with managing a group of four, but she must be sure to nurture each child as if they were her only one. It's not easy, but it's necessity. And perhaps, if anything else, his little whisper was a red flag for me to step it up!
I am going to mess up as a mom. I have. And I am one hundred percent sure that I am going to in the future. It's just my human, fleshy, mama way. But if I can keep my ears and heart open to my babies, then maybe, the road ahead will be one of healing, and not one of future regret.