Over the last several months, our family has been increasingly taken over by our 4 year old. He is demanding, defiant, strong willed and at times, disrespectful. Those of you with a 4 year old at home will probably understand what I am referring to, at least on some level. To some degree, all preschoolers cause their parents grief. For the longest time, we wanted to believe it was a phase and felt confident he would grow out of it, although it seemed to be relentless. As of lately, we have finally succumbed to the idea that these characteristic traits may just be a part of who he is and sadly, not something he would outgrow. After numerous conversations with his pediatrician, we nervously followed protocol and set an appointment with an OT. We are now in our 7th week of OT (Sensory Processing Disorder) and are undergoing evaluations to get answers on how to best help our son be and feel successful in his many environments.
Feeling the overwhelming anxiety of all of these evaluations and wondering what our future might hold, I have found myself thinking (and even sometimes saying out loud) that I wish things were different. I wish Brecken would be better. I wish Brecken would hug and greet his friends and family. I wish Brecken wouldn’t put things in his mouth all the time (his fingers, his toys, his clothes, and more). I wish Brecken would look people in the eye. I wish Brecken would respond when people ask him a question. I wish Brecken could play with his cousins in confidence, instead of being intimidated. I wish Brecken could get through just one meal without a melt down. I wish Brecken would transition from point A to point B without such a struggle. I wish Brecken didn’t cause us to walk on egg shells whenever he was near, certain that there would be a tantrum but uncertain what would cause it and to what severity to expect.
At some point, I’ve realized that all of these wishes for my child were simply me saying I wish my kid was different than his inner being. What kind of an awful mother does that?? This is the baby that my husband and I dreamed of. The baby that we wished for and tried for and prayed for. The baby that I laid on bed rest for for several months. This is my son that was lucky enough to meet my mom before she passed, and thus, the only child of mine that will ever be able to have this incredible gift. This is my beautiful blonde haired, blue eyed little boy and I, as his mother, spend more time wishing he would change than appreciating what he is.
Somewhere between a tantrum and a timeout, in the midst of reading my 200th parenting book, I realized it isn’t Brecken that needs to change, it is me. I need to change the way I think. I need to change the way I love. I need to change the way I wish.
Instead of wishing Brecken isn’t shy, I will accept that he is slow to warm up and wish for him to find comfort in unfamiliar settings.
Instead of wishing that Brecken could tackle all situations with confidence and outgoing energy, I will wish for him to find joy in the things he is willing to try.
Instead of wishing Brecken could go into his Sunday school room and NOT go directly to the nearest wall and bury his head, I will wish that his signature move every Sunday leaves him feeling safe (and not in agony as it appears to his heartbroken mother) until he is ready to join the group.
Instead of wishing Brecken could behave differently, I will wish for strength in helping him gain strategies to handle certain situations.
I love my baby boy… And my wish for him is that he always knows how much his mommy loves him.