Behind starburst eyes

A borrowed MP3 player, sparkling floors, and a heavy heart

N woke up at 4:56 this morning, I tried to explain it was still night time as it was dark out, but to no avail. He was adamant that it was time to start our day, so start it we did. I figured at least it would give me extra time to get a head start on cleaning the house cause what house with children doesn’t always need cleaning? 😉 To that end, I personally hate cleaning, but accept it needs to be done and find that music helps me to mind doing it less. Only it was 5 o’clock in the morning, I was still very tired and couldn’t remember where I’d put my MP3. So noticing my eldest son’s MP3, I thought “ah-ha! Problem solved” and I borrowed his.

About 30 minutes into cleaning a song came on and made me freeze as the lyrics touched nerves within my heart more sensitive than I’d ever imagined them to be. If I’d heard this song on the radio it most likely wouldn’t have enthralled me the way that it did. But this wasn’t the radio, this was my son’s MP3, so this was a song he had specifically chosen because it resonated with him. The song was “Let Me Be Myself” By: 3 Doors Down. And as I was mopping my kitchen floor I felt a part of my heart shatter all over those shiny tiles.

I’ll share the lyrics here for those that haven’t heard it before”

I guess I just got lost being someone else

I tried to kill the pain, nothing ever helped

I left myself behind somewhere along the way

Hoping to come back around to find myself someday

Lately I’m so tired of waiting for you to say it’s okay

But tell me please, would you one time just let me be myself?

So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself,

Would you let me be myself?

I’ll never find my heart behind someone else

I’ll never see the light of day living in this cell

It’s time to make my way into the world I knew

And then take back all of these times that I gave into you

But lately I’m so tired of waiting for you to say that it’s okay

Tell me please, would you one time let me by myself?

So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself

For a while, if you don’t mind, let me be myself

So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself.

That’s all I’ve ever wanted from this world is to let me be me.

Please would you one time let me be myself?

So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself

Please would you one time let me be myself?

So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself

For a while, if you don’t mind, let me be myself

So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself!

Would you one time, ooh, let me be myself and let me be me?

 

It hurt to hear those words sung in my ears. It made me insecure and scared. Did he feel like he wasn’t able to be himself? Did he feel that he was constantly forced to pretend to be someone he wasn’t? Where do we draw the line between helping them to understand “socially acceptable” behavior and being their real, true, authentic selves? Did he feel that I did not allow him to shine with his own light? In my quest to help him thrive socially because I assumed that was what everyone wanted (him included) did I push him into being someone he wasn’t just so he’d be more accepted by his peers? Did I make him feel like he wouldn’t be accepted as his authentic self? The question swirled as I mopped ferociously, as if I could scrub away the doubts that perhaps in trying my best to help him, I was making him believe he was stuck in a prison of falsehoods and fake social graces that felt as unreal as the old white and red makeup clowns used to wear at the turn of the century. But once the floor was sparkling, my heart and mind were still heavy with doubt. I waited anxiously for the time when I could finally pick him up from the sleepover he was on at a friend’s house so I could ask him.

 

One of the huge things I have always promised and required in return is complete honesty between C and I. Even if it’s not pretty, that’s okay the truth can be said with love and gentleness, but it needs to be the truth. “For trust is born of truthful words and nurtured with honorable actions.” Finally we were just us two picking up paint at the store and I was able to ask him. This mere boy of 9 (and a half) sounded so world weary as he answered me.

“It’s not you mom, I know you’ll love me no matter what and that if I do something like say want to paint my nails with your sparkly red nail polish or wear a costume for daytime clothes when it’s not Halloween that you’ll stand beside me. Cause you’re awesome like that. But as I’m getting bigger it’s sometimes more confusing how I’m supposed to act, what other people expect from me. And I know you tell me to be a Lion and not a sheep, and that I’m supposed to follow my heart and do what I feel is right for me. But sometimes those things get me picked on or laughed at, and I don’t like it. I want to be my real self, but my real self isn’t always accepted by others, and I know you say that no one in the world is liked by everyone but I can’t help that I want to liked by other kids my age. But it’s hard cause sometimes for them to like me I feel like I have to be fake. I listen to the song and it makes me feel like someone else feels the same, so I’m not alone.”

 

We talked some more, but it was hard to hear how society makes him feel like he can’t be himself and be accepted. I’m sure there are SO many other people out there that feel the same way, perhaps it’s a rite of passage as children get older, but he’s my eldest, so this is the first time I’ve had to sit wringing my hands at a situation I can’t fix, one that I can’t even really get in the middle of and my heart hurts for him.

All I can do is tell my sweet boy this: You are never alone, I will walk beside you knowing what an honor it is to do so every single day of your life. No one can accept the real you if you don’t show them who that is. The ones that don’t, well quite honestly it’s their loss to bear to not have you as a friend. Be true to who you really are and know that the right people will see what a gift your presence can be in their lives. Be my brave lion, and watch as you take your place amongst the other brave souls who dance freely to the beat of their own soul song, who will be your true friends.  

Advertisements
1 Comment »

There will be no birthday party this year…

MM900336442    In just a couple of weeks my youngest son will turn 3 years old. While his very existence fills me with joy beyond compare I will not be throwing him a birthday party this year. Now that might seem strange or even mean to many but in fact it’s actually far kinder for him that I do this. See a part of me would love to do the whole “NT kid birthday party” with lots of cake, balloons, and silly games and copious amounts of children running around. But the truth is, there is only one child my son has ever taken to as a playmate. Typically with children his own age he either ignores them or he gets outright upset that they are in his space.

Yesterday morning was a perfect example of that. We were at Art for Toddlers, it’s a special program for children ages 2-4 years old at our local art gallery. While there were other children there, he had no interest in interacting with any of them, instead for the majority of the program he was in a corner playing with different colored magnets. So into his own world was he that when the lady running the program would ask him things he’d often not answer her. By word, and action he gave no hint that he could even hear her or understand what she was asking of him. Yet while out with him I’ve seen him point to different colors when I ask him to show me something red, or orange or green etc. So while it hurts sometimes to think of how he has only met one child that is not related to him that he actually likes, I love him enough to accept him exactly as he is and give him the birthday he deserves instead of just a typical one.

To that end there will be cake, but not at the end of a typical children’s party. Instead we will fill his birthday with his favorite activities like riding the city bus in a loop (the bus drivers around here are lovely and totally accepting that we’ve no specific destination, he simply wants to sit on the bus as it drives the same route over and over). Or going to the mall to go up the escalator, and then back down, and then back up, and then back down, over and over. When he’s done riding the escalator we’ll sit, eat McDonalds and I’ll watch as he peels the paper off of all the crayons in the box I buy him specifically for that purpose. As I watch his eyes light up and see how happy he is doing those simple things as many times as he wants in a row I know I’ll cry. Not tears of sorrow, but of joy because making him happy does that to me. Knowing that I “get him” and that I’m giving him a day of exactly what he truly wants and not what mainstream society states he “should” have on his special day matters to me. After all, it’s his special day, so I’ll do all the things that will make it special to him.

2 Comments »

5 Things I Never Thought I’d Say….

There are so many ways that one changes as they become a parent, but one the most humerous ways to me any ways is some of the things I’ve found myself saying. Here are just a few of the most recent things I’ve found myself uttering:

1) Stop trying to pick my nose with your toes.
2) Get out of the dishwasher.
3) No I did not lose my penis I never had one because I am a girl.
4) I don’t wear a diaper because I’m a big girl so I pee in the toilet you should try it.
5) Not a good choice dude, give me the duct tape.

I’m sure dear readers that you have your own “things I never thought I’d say” and I’d love to read them, please feel free to comment on this post with yours.

4 Comments »

Their Passions

I love treats, as do the kids, but I don’t like giving them foods filled with preservatives so I bake most of their treats myself from scratch. Today N helped me bake and wow!
While I could speak of how adorable he was wearing one of my aprons, but what really got me was how much he focused on our task together. He was totally present in the moment the whole time with me. He wasn’t in his own world as I’d seen him be so many times every day. He watched as each ingredient was put on the counter, he helped with mixing and adding of each one. He stood patiently watching on his stool when I was doing things like cracking the eggs or as I was showing him how much cookie dough to grab with the spoon and where to put it on the tray. It was amazing to watch how intently he focused, it was like watching C with his breakdancing.
Watching my boys with their passions is amazing, and a wonderful blessing for me. When they look at me when their doing them I see their intent focus and their whole faces light up with happiness, joy and a unique sense of rightness I find difficult to define. But watching them both find their passions at such young ages is a gift I treasure, and being able to interact with N with his passion, seeing him be so present in the moment with me, sharing those experiences with him, let me tell you dear readers that a whole lotta baking is going to be happening on a regular basis 😉

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: