When I was teaching, I found myself using certain phrases on repeat:
1. Quickly and quietly…as in, “Yes, you can go to the bathroom for the 79th time if you go quickly and quietly.”
2. Name and number…as in, “For the love of all things holy, please put your name and number on the top of your paper.”
3. I still love you but… as in, “I still love you, but we have got to work on you sneezing in my face” (true story).
Last week as we were leaving the park, Connor said he had to pee but that he could wait until we got to lunch. His exact words were “I can hold it 20-40-60, Mom.” Sadly, 20-40-60 is not as long as one might think, and as I was pulling him out of his car seat a mere 7 minutes later, I found his lap wet with an accident. Exasperated, I hustled him into the bathroom of Chick-fil-a so he could finish his business. As I helped him pull down his pants, he looked at me and said, “I had an accident, but I still love you Mom.” Gah!
That phrase I often repeated as a teacher had unbeknownst to me become part of my parenting vocabulary. His little ears had picked up on how in difficult moments of behavior, I often reassure him that my love for him is unchanged. He knew this was a difficult moment…his 20-40-60 hadn’t panned out the way he had hoped…but he wanted me to know he still loved me just the same.
The sentimental moment didn’t end there. Oh no! We are about to really put the icing on this emotional cake. I don’t know if you recall, but Chick-fil-a plays instrumental praise music in their restrooms. Suddenly, Connor was swept up with feeling. He turned and grabbed me and said, “Even when I’m all grown up I will dance with you,” and asked me to hold him so we could dance.
Buddy you better believe I picked up that booger and held him close, wet pee pee pants and all. We stood there in the middle of the Chick-fil-a handicap bathroom stall and swayed to Jesus songs.
He is rough and rotten, and perfect and sweet, and all things wild and wonderful all rolled into one. Sometimes I want to kiss his cheeks until they fall off, and sometimes I want to pull all my hair out. But I love him still.
This is my first sentimental blog post, and I hope it’s ok to use this forum for these personal stories, too. Parenthood is often lonely. Having a way to connect with others through our highs and lows is so very helpful.