Today is my son’s 6th birthday! Six years has gone by so quickly. Now I understand my mom’s sentiments about time moving quickly each year when she recalled my birthdays of the past. For the past 6 years one of my closest friends has called to not only wish Tre a happy birthday, but she says it to me. At first I would ask why and pretty much shun the idea because it was not my birthday. Her rationale- it is also a special day for me because it was a commemoration of me as a mom- so more like a ‘Mom-Birthday’ or a ‘Momiversary.’ Our kids don’t just ‘arrive’ on their own; it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get them to and through each year so that they can celebrate their 1st, 10th, 16th, and 21st birthdays and more. So, after some thought, I’ve decided I will celebrate myself this year! Happy Momiversary to me! I’ll save the birthday cake and balloons for the kid and instead, share some reflections I’ve had about these six years in the form of 6 lessons I’m learning and working to teach Tre every day.
- Create, create, create-
It is very clear that Tre is a ‘creative’ and he enjoys the process of seeing an idea come to life from his imagination. It can be a drawing or painting, building intricate Lego sets, performing a science experiment that bubbles all over the table or mixing up a batch of his beloved slime. He loves it all! I decided several years ago that I was going to encourage his explorative nature and help foster his love for being a creative, even if that meant having every kind of crayon, marker, paint, slime and science set there was!
Lesson: Passion speaks loudly. It is my job to pay attention, listen and act.
- Building ‘stick-to-itiveness’-
A personal motto I live by is if I say I am going to do something, I do it. Period. I want to help build Tre’s dependability and reliability muscles so that his word can be trusted and people will believe that he is going to do what he says. We are training those muscles now with 2x/week swimming lessons, a bi-weekly after school science program and activities at our church. There are some days when I would love nothing more than to go straight home instead of taking him to the day’s assigned activity. But, again, I am committed to the process and if he has a mini-meltdown on the way because he wants to bail that day, I refocus his attention on what he’s gained so far [in said activity] and what he expects the current day to be all about, and he moves past it.
Lesson: Quitting just because is not an option; remember why you started. Perseverance is a muscle we’re going to help him build.
- Be grateful-
I often remind Tre that not all boys and girls have what he has. This includes a home, his own room, a bed to sleep in by himself, a closet and drawers with clothes, a refrigerator with food, a mother and father that love and want to spend time with him, etc. My talks with him about this are my way of giving him clear examples of what he has to be grateful for. Of course there are kids who have less and way more than he does- that will always be the case. I hope he remembers that and understands the power of showing appreciation.
Lesson: I have to model what gratefulness looks like so he can see it in action.
- Correction is very necessary-
I wrote about discipline a while back and my feelings about it haven’t changed- appropriate discipline and correction are essential (The Rod or the Spoil). Tre has moved past the stage where he says the first thoughts that pop into his head without warning, to where he is now- he understands the power of [most] words and how to use them appropriately. So, this has resulted in more intense conversations about appropriateness and an increase in correction (ie.lip plucks and punishment) because he didn’t use the correct tone, words and/or accompanying body language. He will hear or see another kid do something and try some of it out at home only to find me tell him, “…we can play a whole lot of ways, but that is not one of them.” At 6 years old I want him to understand right vs. wrong and appropriate vs. inappropriate and how to handle correction.
Lesson: Consequences are real. It’s better for him to learn these lessons at home before the world teaches him, because ‘they’ may not be so forgiving.
- “Remember who you are”-
I have a front row seat to see Tre ‘try on’ different traits from kids he’s with all day and the one point I, and the hubs make to him on a regular basis is to always remember who he is. Run, jump, laugh, play and have a good time…just don’t forget who you are while you’re doing it. I get it and I know it’s hard for a kid to avoid all influences, both positive and negative and I don’t want him to shield himself from it all. In all of what he does, I really want him to be confident in who he is and know that he is enough.
Lesson: Being a follower is normal; follow the right things and not someone/thing that goes against what you know to be true.
- Remember to listen, share, be kind and show the love of Christ-
Tre ends his morning prayers saying this every day. I talk to him about each of these components and what they look, sound and feel like so that he knows how to actually demonstrate them. I want him to be mindful that he is an example of God and these behaviors matter with everyone he interacts with and everywhere he goes.
Lesson: God is real and he loves you.
So moms- do yourself a favor and take a moment to celebrate yourself on your Momiversary and reflect on the lessons you’ve focused on teaching this year or your biggest lessons learned. And while you’re thinking back- have some cake and champagne! –krystal