About once a month my boys will spend the night at my mother-in-law’s house. They absolutely love it. Who doesn’t like staying with Grandma? Grandmothers always let you get away with everything and give you everything you want.
Last week was no different. The boys called MiMi and asked if they could come to her house. She told them she would come pick them up on Saturday. When she gets to the house my oldest son has a meltdown. This wasn’t a normal meltdown. He wasn’t in trouble, he wasn’t behaving badly..nothing was wrong that we knew of. He started crying and was emotionally torn if he should leave or stay home. Mind you his little brother was out the door and could care less, never looked back.
As we tried to reason with him and convince him to go, the more emotional and weary he became. Reassuring him that I would pick him up tomorrow, he then says to his MiMi “What if she doesn’t make it.”
The light bulb went off.
For two weeks straight I was only home for 2 nights. One week I went I was out of town for work Only to come home for two days and then stay with my mom in the hospital for the remainder of the week. No matter how hard I tried to keep things as normal as possible…they weren’t. I would come home to help with homework, cook dinner, give baths and put them to bed. When morning came I was away facetiming them from the hospital. Things were not normal. And he felt that.
Every child is different and require different things.
I’ve always known that Shaun was the more sensitive child. He wears his emotions on his sleeve. He loves his family and loves to spend time with everyone. He’s always asking how family members are doing, never wants anyone to be alone. He’s just a sweet kid. And I now know I HAVE to be more intentional with the time we spend together. This kid requires more one on one time. He requires more reassurance of love.
After MiMi left and it was just me and him we talked. I asked him what exactly was he feeling. What made him react the way he did. I listened. And, all I could do is give him a hug. My heart broke. The way his 6 year old mind described how he was feeling inside made me proud and sad all at the same time. I’m proud that he has no fear in expressing himself. I’m sad that he felt the way he did.
Life has its ups and downs.
In the past month we’ve had our fair share. While trying to get back into the swing of things. Get a normal routine back in place. I never paused. I assumed that because I had accepted everything and moved on that the boys had too. Maybe mommy is not the only one he needs to talk to. We’ll make that determination at a later date For now, I’m committed to doing better. Paying closer attention to their needs. That means more one one on one time and more one on one conversations.
The moral of the story? Talk to your kids.
Pay attention to their actions and reactions. As parents we tend to dismiss kids at times and tell them to do things “because I said so”. Sometimes, that is the appropriate response. But not all the time. If I would have made him leave simply because I said so, I would have never known how he was feeling. And, I wouldn’t have seen this smile the next day.