Let me take a minute to introduce you to my son. He loves to play sports and after every game – soccer, baseball, soon to be basketball – he tells me every single detail of every single play. He loves to change the words to any song to ‘poop’ and thinks it is the funniest thing ever. He loves numbers. He can put together anything you put in front of him as long as it has photo instructions. He’s rough and tumble with the boys, but he’s shy in new situations. He loves loud music and rock ‘n roll.
All of these things make up an incredible little boy, but none of them are me. In fact, I’d say we’re almost opposites in so many ways.
For some time, I didn’t even tell my son that I love him in the right way – in the way that he needed me to. With my daughter I can use all of the colorful, descriptive words and she feels my love. But one night my son and I were lying in his bed and he was asking me what comes after one hundred. So when he looked at me and told me that he loves me ‘one hundred, thousand, million, billion, trillion, zillion,’ it finally occurred to me that that’s how he understands the depth of my love. Through numbers, of course!
This whole idea took me back to when I read the book The Five Love Languages. His love languages are nothing like mine. He’s so much like his daddy it’s crazy; even when he pretends to mow the lawn with his dad, their steps are in sync.
And obviously I fell in love with his daddy a long time ago, so I love the crap out of this kid. But sometimes our differences can be so frustrating! When I put something together for him I usually think “good enough.” But if it’s not exactly like the photo, Oliver just has a conniption.
I have the hardest time with this on a day-to-day basis.
My son wants ME to play baseball with him. He wants me to pitch the ball to him and truthfully, the first time I tried, I hit my son with the ball. You guys – worst mom ever!!!! But you know what? He was fine. He was happy to have me playing with him. Most of the time my instinct is to say, “How about daddy plays with you?” but by principal he wants me. And I’ve learned to take it for as long as I can because one of these days he will realize that I’m terrible at baseball and he’ll stop showing me the “instant replay in slow motion” just for giggles and soon I won’t be tough enough when he hits me with a ball.
For Halloween this year we decided to dress up as a family and do an Alice in Wonderland theme.
Oliver quickly decided he wanted me to be the Queen of Hearts and he could be one of the cards. When I asked him why he said, “So you can say off with my head.” This is so gross and a little weird to me, but here we are, mother and son — head chopping and all…
I think massages are like the best thing ever created and I think my son really wants to like them. When I rub my daughter’s back at night she basically falls asleep. Oliver, on the other hand, rolls around like the massage can’t end quickly enough. I certainly don’t make him let me rub his back. I think he thinks he’s supposed to like it because his sister does. Or maybe he just thinks it keeps me in his room longer. But you know who else doesn’t like back rubs? Yup, his daddy. Weird, right? But here’s the thing – Oliver puts up with the thing that keeps me around longer just to be with me. So of course I’m going to do the same. I’m going to listen to the poop songs and every single sports play and I’ll begrudgingly put the thing together the right way instead of just good enough and I’ll try to keep up with his math skills (which, let’s be honest will probably last just a few more years).
Yes, I was born to love this kid fiercely no matter what. He was created in my body and I spent months upon months praying for this kid, wondering what our lives and love would look like. But the thing he teaches me again and again is that it is REALLY easy to love someone who is nothing like you. And if I can love him more than anyone else in the world, then I can also love others in the world who are nothing like me too.