Yesterday, when I went to pick up my kids from day one of their super-fun morning camp, I cheerfully said: “I’m so glad you all can go and enjoy camp!!”
My boy’s snarky reply: “I know why, it’s because you like to have a break from us.”
True, but when DID I SAY THAT? I’m racking my brain, I’m feeling guilty, I’m wondering if I said it on a phone call he overheard, I’m ready to argue about “why isn’t ok for mommy to have a break, huh, Buster?”
But, what I said was (in my sweetest voice I could muster): ” No, love, I am glad you can go to camp because it is a privilege (when did you get so spoiled, I think) and because I used to loved going to camp (and I actually care about doing nice things for you, I add in my head) and I know you are loving being there with your friends.”
But, his comment nagged me all day. I am cautious about my words, I wake up in the morning mentally preparing for the day and planning/ hoping to use only words that gently correct, calmly mold, patiently guide and truly build up each of my kids. How did he pick up on something that was pretty much true, but definitely NOT what I wanted to communicate. Hmmm, now I’m going to have to be more careful about my tone, and even what I do not say, but imply (maybe by the relieved sigh I gave upon dropping them off.)
So, today, I apologized and let them both know that I love spending time with them, and I also do enjoy being able to have time with daddy or a friend (or the dishes like I did today) when we are apart. But, I really want to communicate that they are my best friends and most important to me and if I communicated that I was bothered by them, I was truly sorry. (Yes, I gave a too-wordy shpiel)
His reply: “I’m sorry too, sometimes when I’m in a bad mood I just say stuff to be mean.”
Oh, alright, sooooo, I guess that we both need to work on what we say and what we communicate by our non-verbals as well. And, be quick to apologize always. And, maybe I need to not overthink things all the time, huh?
I don’t know exactly how this relates to being “Adopting mommy” except to say that I pretty much over-think things all the time because I am really trying (probably too hard, if that’s possible) to be the best at my job as a mommy so that when future child comes everything will just be so smooth. But, lets be honest, I’m not going to solve all family communication problems today and therefore be somehow more ready for our family to grow.
I am awake every morning around 3 am, and as clear as my thinking is in that foggy-middle-of-the-night way, I worry about “messing up” my kids. (both kids I’ve birthed, but for some reason especially someone else’s child they have “given” me.) I worry about wounding them (especially a child that brings with him/her the wounds of loss.) I worry about what my kids perceptions are of me…It really does no good if I think I’ve been a fine parent, but they have perceived something totally different. (Exhibit A, ahem…. the aforementioned dialogue.)
But, when did worrying ever help anybody? A little less worrying, a little less thinking, a little less speaking perhaps. And a lot more words and actions that demonstration my love and delight in being with my children.