Being Two in a World of No

The days begin and end sweetly. Hugs and kisses and sweetness exchanged. Great expectations in the morning, forgetting the troubled days past. And there’s quiet in the evening, prayers and blessings, and volume-down silence. 

Many nights as I tuck him in, I close the door quietly rehearsing the ways I will not parent him tomorrow. More regrets than I’d like to admit. 

The mornings and evenings are the thoughtful spaces, the hopeful snapshots, the looking forward or looking back when clarity is, well, more clear.

But these are the bookends, and in between is the life. The reacting and preventing, the coaching and teaching, the thinking out loud, the kindly saying it quietly, the redirecting, then the shouting and regretting. The laughing, tickling and chasing. And the No. Please, No.

He knows he is two. One and one equals…

Even as I’ve been writing this post, he poured a cup of water out on the table and drenched the newly-washed tablecloth. I reacted with nearly all the grace and patience of a drunken lumberjack. Then I returned to my post and continued writing. 

Ten minutes passed and there was quiet on the floor again. The kind that made me uncomfortable. I heard a tiny munching sound, so silent only a mother can hear it. “What are you eating, John?” I called pointlessly into the kitchen. “Mmmmmm,” is all he responded. It could be anything, I thought to myself with a moderate level of dread. But I didn’t get up. He sauntered into the living room with a leftover birthday cupcake. At least it’s actual food, I thought to myself and continued typing. 

Although I rarely take time to imagine myself in his tiny shoes, I’m sure it’s hard to be two. To want to see, hear, touch, taste, smell the world, every last fiber of every. single. thing.

Then there’s the parents. They’re nice and all, but when you’re about to make a mind-altering discovery, just then they arrive to snatch it away, rushing in with wild and unsubstantiated claims like, “Don’t touch it; it’s hot!” Or “You cannot put a basketball in the toilet,” “Towels do not belong in the sink, sir” Or “Only papers are for coloring, not walls, please.” Outrageous. 

I do wish he could think of me though. I am tired at the end of the day. Exhausted and achy from snatching away sharp objects from uncomfortably close to the outlets, or moving the kitchen chairs away from the stove (again) or plucking plastic, paper, dirt and various rubbish from his salivating chops. 

Thoughts like, “Please, for the love, stop with the stunt man thing,” or “You’re killing me, Smalls,” daily pass through my mind. And often, leave my lips.

But we’re at the end of the day again, the time when I can see with 20/20 vision the good and the bad of how we live. And however selfish and ignorantly experimental he may be, one thing is undeniable: he’s great with forgiveness. Forgets real or perceived offenses almost immediately. I wish he cared more about stuff I care about, like my feelings, for example, or things that should not be wet. But I appreciate that he’s not holding my wrongdoings over my head. Because there are many.

If he spoke better English, we would have a heart-to-heart, and I would say, “I know we make each other mad some times, but we really have a lot to learn from one another.  You take some cues from me on where household items go and which places in the house standing and sitting is appropriate, and I will follow your lead on laughing more and that forgive and forget thing you’ve perfected.” He would nod with a light bulb kind of look, and then we would give each other a hug and walk into the sunset. 

It’ll be a great day when that happens. Until then, I’m just going to have to pray for patience. A lot. 

Good night. And here’s to a thoughtful, prayerful, peaceful and on-purpose tomorrow. 

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