Tomorrow my "baby" turns 18. I just cannot believe it. I promise, just the other day he was 3...I blinked and here we are.
In the wee small hours of the morning (I woke up at 3am this morning - caffeine often has a strange effect on me...instead of keeping me up for hours, I go to sleep thinking that the caffeine hasn't affected me at all...and then BAM, I wake up at 3am and I'm up until it's time to get up)...
Anyway, in the wee small hours of the morning, I decided to blog about my boy being 18. My first thoughts were toward a sweet, sappy, reflective writing thinking back to 18 years ago and having no clue what I was in for...but getting the best blessing ever. And then, as I got closer to morning, I decided to do something that maybe had a little more humor...and possibly still subjected to the sweet, sappy reflections...
This bi-polar approach can be blamed on Kate Conner...this is what I was reading at 3am...and 4am...her blog is not bi-polar per se...but it contains the truths I need to hear infused with the humor of living life with three kids. If you don't read her blog, you should.
So, without further adieu...here are 10 things I've learned by being Dylan's mom:
#1 - One of Dylan's preschool teachers gave me the BEST parenting advice ever...she said "If it's not immoral, illegal, or a potential danger to the child or others, don't sweat it". I can honestly say, I took that to heart. Hear me say, there is a time & place for discipline and self-control...but there are battles that we don't need to wage with our children. Wearing matching clothes...while embarrassing to you at the moment...is not that big of a deal. And just think, one day you can pull that picture out showing off their most hideous outfit choice, and the embarrassment will be theirs!
I did put my foot down on wearing socks with tennis shoes...there is no place for feet in tennis shoes without socks. That's just gross.
#2 - "I don't have time to go to the emergency room" is a valid reason "why not" for whatever hair-brained, daredevil trick that your child wants to try. This should be your immediate reaction to "Hey, Mom! Watch this!"
#3 - If you have dirt, sand, or mulch within a 10 foot range of your child, you are going to have it in their pants, socks, shoes...and transferred to your house. No lie...one day I think I dumped an entire sandbox out of Dylan's pants. How the child had been walking around with all that sand is beyond me.
#4 - There is a reason that boys don't use hair dryers. I have the singed towel to prove it. When asked why in the world he stuck the hair dryer right up on the towel, the answer was "I wanted to see what would happen".
#5 - "I wanted to see what would happen" is the cause of 95% of childhood accidents.
#6 - Having several seasons worth of good, wholesome TV shows on DVD will come in handy if you have the misfortune of ending up in the hospital on a crazy sleep schedule. Before they days of 24-hours of Nick Jr. and Netflix, "The Cosby Show" on DVD was a lifesaver the one time that Dylan had to be hospitalized. It's also what caused him to be a "Cosby Show" addict.
#7 - Showing up to church, dragging along a child with no shirt, is perfectly acceptable if the child will not wear the shirt you have picked out for him. Of course, this was before I learned the lesson from #1.
#8 - If you thought that you had loved something as much as you could ever love something, then you are wrong. I don't think I ever understood how much love I contained until I had Dylan. And when I thought I loved him as much as I ever could, I was wrong. It just grows and grows and grows.
#9 - You kind of have to get used to your kid. I loved him right off the bat...no doubt about it. But liking him? That took a bit. There's nothing that tests likability better than having that little person completely dependent on you...waking you up every 2 hours (if you are lucky)...being more tired than you've ever been before...and have that little one screaming for no apparent reason.
#10 - Teach your children to be responsible people - responsible for their actions, responsible for their words, responsible for themselves in appearance and attitudes. Help them to own their faults and their shortcomings...and help them to put forth their strengths.
There is so much more that I have learned being Dylan's mom. This past year, especially, we've been learning together - Dylan learning what it means to be a more mature person; me learning to let go a little at a time. This parenting thing isn't for sissy's...it isn't for the faint of heart...and it certainly does take a strength that at times you don't think you have. BUT every smile, every laugh, every positive thing they do are worth all the hard days, all the rough nights, all the sick days.
Happy 18th to a kid that I'm most proud of. God is going to do wonderfully, crazy, big things with this kid.