When I became a mother, I never realised just how much I would learn from my children. My two-year-old may be small in height, but yesterday he showed me than when it comes to forgiveness and letting go, he’s a much bigger person than me.
Max has been going through a lot of developmental changes over the past few months, and he doesn’t have the vocabulary to articulate how he is feeling. He has been frustrated, confused and in distress. Wanting a cuddle while asking you to go away, wanting his shoes on then crying because they’re on, wanting a blue bowl then screaming when you give him the blue bowl because he wants the green bowl… What he has needed is for me to be there for him. To allow him to get it out. And usually, I’m pretty good at this. Usually, I make sure I’m there for my children when they’re in distress. However, yesterday I was exhausted and the constant angst and frustration from him was getting too much. I kept thinking “This is so hard!” “He’s whinging again!” “I can’t get a break!”
“Max, please stop whinging at me!”
I actually said that to him! My poor little guy. I looked down at him as the tears were trickling down his sweet little face, and I suddenly saw things from his perspective. All he wanted was comfort, and yet the person he needed the most – his mummy – was towering above him with a grumpy face telling him to stop whinging. I felt a sickening knot in my stomach as I realised how unkind I had been.
I knelt down in front of him and held his hands, looked into his eyes and gently said “Max, I am so sorry that I have been impatient with you. You’re allowed to feel everything you are feeling. I’m sorry that I have been so grumpy…” Max listened to me with a smile, and his whole body softened – I physically saw his tension release. He cuddled me and gave me a kiss. While we were cuddling, I continued to tell him how sorry I was that my exhaustion had made me so impatient and grumpy. I told him how much I love him and that it was ok to feel what he is feeling. He gave me another kiss, smiled then happily moved on to play with his dinosaurs.
There are certain moments where words fail to describe the depth of the emotion I feel. This was one of those moments. I felt a wave of gratitude, love and admiration for my little boy. I hadn’t been there for him the way he needed, and yet he immediately forgave me. He immediately understood. His cuddle was full of love and forgiveness. His kiss told me that it was ok. He knows that I am human. I’m not ‘Supermum.’ I’m ‘mummy.’ And that is all my children need. That is all any of our kids need. They need us to be who we are. To be open. It’s ok to have bad days and make mistakes. We just need to remember to admit when we’re wrong and ask forgiveness, like we would anyone else. Children may not be able to articulate their emotions, but they feel them just as deeply as adults do.
Children love unconditionally and forgive in the truest sense of the word… they let go completely and don’t hold grudges. And once they have stopped crying, they move on with ease not holding on to what caused their distress. When does that change? Why as adults, do we sometimes find it hard to say sorry? Or to forgive? Or to move on from what upset us in the past and simply appreciate the moment we’re in? If you’re anything like me, maybe it’s time we start letting go of things the way we did when we were kids.
I am grateful every day for my children, but in these moments I’m not only grateful for being their mother, I’m grateful for all that they teach me. I am raising my children, but I am learning more from them than I could have ever dreamed.
Much love and gratitude,