My own mother has told me many times that being a parent is the hardest thing one will ever do. But then to lessen the magnitude of the lifelong burden of childrearing, she adds her positive spin..."but it is the most rewarding thing too. Children bring your greatest sorrows and your greatest joys." No pressure on either party involved, right?
I've heard her say this many times and like much of our parent's wisdom, I have disregarded it at times. You know, how you know what someone is going to say verbatim, because you've heard it many times before, so you stand out of their view, mockingly nodding and mouthing the words along with them..."...children bring your greatest sorrows and your greatest blahblahblah.." At times like those, I can guess from which end of the spectrum my offerings to my parents were coming.
But as with much of our parent's wisdom, I have come to know how right she is on this one. My two sons are simultaneously the greatest sources of frustration and love in my life. I have emotions to the extent I never knew possible until these boys came into my life. Wait. Are you mocking me? I thought I saw your eyes roll and you mouthing "blahblahblah".
Anyway, I had one of those moments yesterday with the boys where my parental joy meter was flipped into the high. Unfortunately, the moment was tainted with a sense of dismay. Here's the scene: the boys were in the basement playing Wii, some Mario racing game. I think the volume was pushed to the max as the whole house was vibrating. There was a brief and sudden silence followed by Son #1 saying to Son #2 in a very raised and authoritative voice, "I never want to hear you say that again. You do NOT suck!"
Son #2 mumbled something about always losing at MarioKart. Son #1 came right back with, "But you do NOT suck. It just means your need more practice. Or maybe you could choose a different character that might be better for you. But please never say that again. You do NOT suck." I don't know what happened after that other than the noise level of the game came right back on and they continued to play for a few more minutes.
Son #1 came into the kitchen moments later and I asked him about their exchange. He said that he didn't like to hear his brother say that about himself because "if you always say you suck, then you will grow up and you will suck. I love him and I don't want him to suck." My first thought: has he been watching "Jersey Shore"?! My second thought: albeit not the language I would choose to express this heartfelt thought, this was a very loving and profound brotherly sentiment.
Language aside, I felt a small victory for my husband and me. Some things that we have been trying to teach our not always loving boys had stuck. First, he loves him! That's not always apparent between these two siblings, but it's there and he said it out loud! Second, he clearly has the concept of self-talk, self-image, self-confidence down pat. And third, he's passing it along to his little brother! A moment of pure parental joy, soured slightly by guttermouth. We'll enjoy our spoils and work on that one another day.