“Are you even LISTENING??!?”
I ask my two year old that question probably once a day. Not just because he is a child and, as you already know, wee ones sometimes have a hard time listening. But sometimes, I’m truly curious to know if he really is listening. My little man is hard to read sometimes. Most of the time. Much like his father, actually. So this sometimes means that I never know if he is understanding anything I’m telling him, let alone listening because he doesn’t always show if he is. This has made it hard in the past when I would try to discipline him or teach him anything. His ABC’s, counting, you name it and he probably either stared at me blankly when I tried to teach him or he shook his head “no.” My little boy is very quiet, gentle and tender. He isn’t the type to cut up and act silly right away or to look without leaping (figuratively, because he WILL jump off of the bed without seeing if you’re there, ready to catch him.) He is definitely more of an observer and absorbs his surroundings more than he wants to be the center of attention or participate. At least at first.
He does things at his own pace. He won’t dance – unless he decides there is a song he wants to bust a move to (“Beat It” by Michael Jackson was the only song for a LONG time) and the only word he used for months was “this” (the second was “no.” JOY.) He has become more willing to play games or try new things with me lately without me having to first jump through hoops to convince him that it (“so big,” sign language of any variety, Green Eggs and Ham the first 12 times, new words, etc….) will be fun and worth it. For example, today he let me help him walk around on his hands while I held his legs. He loved it. The other day, he played a game of tag with me. And lately he has been learning to race with mommy and daddy to see who wins. Sometimes, I swear, this kid gives new meaning to the word stubborn. But darned if he didn’t enjoy green beans -once we finally got them in his mouth. Jerry is set in his ways and most of the time, it takes great patience to guide him forward to trying new things. Do I always have patience? Nope. But is the payoff worth it? Unbelievably so.
Some of my most defining moments of being a mom have come not just from the moments that I stare at my child amazed. Or moments of quiet that I have to snuggle with him where my heart is bursting with love. But some of the most moving moments for a parent can be when their child first begins to show them affection. To spend months changing diapers, getting up at all hours of the night and cleaning up messes without a smile or acknowledgement can sometimes dampen a person’s emotions. At least, if you’re me. Especially when you see daddy getting the first smiles or first “I wuv you.” You wonder, “do they even realize that I’M the MOM, (as if THAT is supposed to mean something to an infant) throw me a bone here?!”
Jerry is hard to read, I’ve said that before. So I might have had to wait a little longer then some parents for those first smiles and giggles. Or first hugs and kisses. I’d always hear from Rob how when I would leave the room, Jerry would ask for mommy and “where mommy go?” but I sometimes wouldn’t even know that he noticed unless I was otherwise told. He got to the point where he would smile at me, sure. Talk and babble at me, most definitely. But for some things, I just had to grin and be patient. Knowing that one day, things would be different. Sometimes, this all allows me to have an ever so small glance as to how God must view us, His children. He is patient with us when we are selfish, immature, stubborn and prideful. He offers us His grace, His discipline and His comfort while we are most undeserving. While the measure of how capable I am of parenting and loving my son and God’s abilities have vast differences, with God’s help, perhaps I can be the parent He intends for me to be. That my child deserves. Jerry and I will both let each other down, but thankfully, the bond between parent and child, no matter the disagreement between the two, is something that cannot be undone or taken apart. Much like the relationship between the Creator and the created. Which means that no matter how much I disappoint my son or how much he may not want to claim me as his mother when he brings him a girl and I tell her how much he used to LOVE to run around the house naked, he doesn’t have a choice. He is mine, big feet and all.
So, this all brings me to the point of my blog title. “Are you even listening, Jerry Landon?” is one of the most commonly used phrases in my home these days. I forget that he can surprise me and do or say things that show me that while I thought I was wasting my breath he truly was absorbing it all. He is brilliant. It also is a reminder that everything I say and do my sons sees, processes and remembers and that it is more each new day than the last that I need to be an example to my child.
I used to sing songs to Jerry, still do, to get him to go to sleep. Now I sing them to him everyday. Anything from songs in movies and on t.v. that he likes, to simple nursery rhyme type songs. But Jerry’s favorite song when he was tiny was “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” I’m not sure why, but now that we have gotten to know him we know that he has an affinity for the sky at night. Watching planes zip by and stars shine,and the moon, lets not get started on the moon. My little boy loves planes too, so who knows, perhaps we have a future pilot on our hands.
I sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to him often and was doing so today. Then after putting him to bed tonight, I decided to forgo my bath which I had been aching to enjoy in order to spend time with Clara Beth. And I couldn’t ever be so thankful to have forgone a bath, EVER. And here is why…
Sometimes, because I’m impatient and can’t see the big picture, God has to throw me the proverbial bread crumb. Maybe one day, much like my son, I’ll get it. Or at least, put into practice what I’m being taught.