I’ve never considered myself to be an overly soft, ooey-gooey momma type. Taking a second to note: there’s NOTHING wrong with that kind of mothering if you’ve still set boundaries, etc. It’s just simply not my personal mothering style. Carry on!
I’ve always classified myself as a Momma Bear. Raising boys, I guess that comes with the package. I love my brood, but I keep tough love on tap around here. Funnily enough, I didn’t think I’d be Betty Badass as a mom growing up. My own mom is basically southern sweet tea without the lemon twist, personified. She has basically been in training all her life for grandmother-hood… and she’s got that role in check, y’all. My boys know they’re going to get a hug and a quarter from her the minute they sense her presence. It’s a trip, to be sure.
But I digress. In spite of my momma bear ways, I’ve still got a soft spot hidden amongst all the fluff, delirium, and innate survival skills. That soft spot doesn’t often rear its head, but LAWDY MERCY when it does. Kleenex, please and thank you.
Back in, oh… I dunno, September? We moved Gabe out of his “little kid” room he shared with his brother and into his own room. The move, itself, was a feat of comedic horror. It involved moving Mason (the youngest) out of that room, which involved moving clothes, toys, furniture… disassembling furniture… nearly taking out a window and my kneecap… you know. The usual. And then came the big dogs. I ordered a metal loft bed to help with space management. The room he’s in now isn’t very big, but he also wanted a desk so he could draw and do his homework away from the noise of the house. The loft bed has a built in desk, so I really thought I was on a roll with that purchase. I’ll take, “Things I’ve Never Been More Wrong About in My Life Before” for $1,000, Alex!
I’m not even going to talk about that life experience as I’m still having nightmares (insert eyeroll here), but rest assured, it was an EXPUREEUNCE. Needless to say, I got it up not long after I swore to burn the whole room to the ground, but I don’t suggest putting a metal loft bed together single-handedly unless you’re roughly the size of Hulk.
I also put together a couple of bookshelves and rearranged the entire room — all in one school day. Yeah, yeah… I’m a total badass.
“Why is this relevant to the story?”, you might ask. Patience, young Jedi.
During the entire disaster that basically proved Joanna Gaines I am NOT, I was a swearing, sweaty, nearly broken mess. I could not wait to be out of that room and to get my hands on a Twisted Tea. It wasn’t until I finished replacing Gabe’s things with Mason’s that reality started to sink in. Reality shook my by the shoulders, though, when I put Gabe’s old sock monkey on his desk. The monkey he’s had since he was about a year old.
From out of nowhere I saw that room in a totally different light. I went from angsty and irritated to somber and emotional in just moments. The difference in the two rooms shook me to my core. My oldest spent the last night in his room just half a day before. It took a room change and stopping long enough to see how his tastes and interests have changed. He was no longer the little boy who needed stuffed animals and a song to go to sleep. He didn’t have a need for train tables or coloring books. Nightlights had long since proved unnecessary. Yet, until those things were removed from his space, they still seemed relevant. Once upon a time, they were relevant. Once upon a time, he needed those things.
Now, going in to my youngest boys’ room, I see very clearly the difference in little boy and young man. And, I’m not at all embarrassed to admit, it scares me a bit. “They grow up so fast,” is a cliche most parents (myself included) don’t often have the patience to hear.
“Why can’t they grow up faster?!”, is something that I have, on occasion, been guilty of thinking when I’m feeling overwhelmed or flustered. But, oh my goodness, the years do soar on by without a moment’s hesitation. And, before you know it, you’re replacing Tonka trucks and Duplo blocks with cologne and leather jackets.
Tonight I’ll sing my song to my littlest boys. I’ll sing because they still need it — and so do I. And maybe I’ll sing just loud enough for my “too old for songs” boy to hear, too. Because maybe he still needs it — because so do I.