The backdrop for this week was lovingly painted and produced by my son, Todd, who is turning 17 years old today!!!
He is an incredibly cool, tall, angular, disheveled-in-a-careless-yet-edgy way young man that is boundlessly talented, loving and supportive to his friends (in that special way that only teenage boys can manage) and I am truly impressed and proud of the man that he has become over the last few years.
As a toddler, he might have been my biggest struggle.
I didn't understand at that time that I was dealing with an over-active nervous system and a tender little boy that didn't feel safe and was having his fight-or-flight triggered a lot because of his environment. All I knew at the time was that I had this screaming, hitting, biting kid that escalated every situation. Oh, mercy. It makes my stomach hurt to think about it.
I desperately wish that I would have been able to read and learn about the parenting methods that I am now using. I'm working on releasing my mom guilt, but I make sure to talk with him often and explain to him that I made mistakes, and I was a 22 year old raising my second kid and trying to run a business.
The most miraculous thing has been watching him transform as I slowly changed MY THOUGHTS about him.
I had to RELEASE and give up my "identity" that I had created for him in my own brain. I had to stop saying things in my head like, "He WANTS to make me mad! This is just a power struggle! He is DELIBERATELY disobeying me! He thinks he KNOWS more than me!? He NEEDS to be put in his place. Maybe he needs to go to some kind of military school. That will teach him to respect me."
Oh frick. My hell, how depressing.
But, even though it is very tender for me to admit to these faults, I DO want to say that when you put in the internal work, and when you TRULY start to take responsibility for your OWN actions, shortcomings, misdirected anger, and misguided assumptions, you eventually see that so many of the people in your life that piss you off are simply just a mirror of YOU. And YOU can change YOU.
And that's what I did.
My my internal dialogue is more like, "OH my gosh, he is so hilarious. I love how he treats his sisters. I love his answer to the personal question he just asked. I'm so impressed with his talents. This man is a firecracker. He is destined to go wonderful places. He is brimming with skills. I respect him. I love him. I look up to him, both mentally AND physically. What a BLESSING he is every single day."
I can promise you. It is better on the other side.