Being a parent isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. If you are the parent of a spirited child, then sometimes even less so. But for every moment that makes me want to cry or scream in frustration, there’s at least one moment that makes it all worthwhile.
In my biased opinion, raising a spirited child can be even more rewarding. The child might be more sensitive, needy, demanding and exhausting, but they can also be more thoughtful, affectionate and empathetic.
My boy, D, is the most caring person I have ever known. He’s the first person to ask if I’m okay and wipe away my tears, even if he WAS the one who made me cry. He has to help you with anything you are doing, whether help is welcome or not, and he would go to the ends of the earth to make his baby sister smile. I am constantly taken aback by the kindness and empathy he demonstrates towards those around him.
Unlike what is developmentally appropriate for a young preschooler, he almost always puts the feelings of others ahead of his own, which is something most adults aren’t even capable of. (His wants and needs are another story though, let me tell you. He makes sure to let you know how you
can must meet his demands.)
Parenting is by far the most challenging endeavour I have ever undertaken. It has made me look at the world, and myself, with new eyes. It does not always look and feel like what I had imagined it would. There are days when I feel like I am clueless and that I am doing the worst possible job.
But there is a silver lining.
On those days, the ones when I am positive I am at my worst. That I’m being too hard on him or I just have no patience. Those are the days that he hugs me the tightest.
Each night before bed, D tells me how much he loves me, with a kind of enviable enthusiasm that makes me beam with pride and admiration. He will look at me and say, “Mommy, you happy?” And I reply, “Ya, dude. I am”, because the truth is I couldn’t be happier.
I used to wonder what I was doing wrong. Or if my own personality was the reason behind his intensity. Now I only wonder how I got so lucky and how I could possibly have created such a bright little person who is so full of life. Now I only wish I could be more like him.