This morning was not one of our best mornings. Every night before I go to bed, I leave out 2 bowls of cereal, one for Matthew and one for David. They are up at the crack of dawn and if I leave them out cereal they usually let me sleep until 7. However, some mornings the cereal is not enough. Today was one of those mornings.
Today Matthew ate both bowls of cereal, and apparently was still hungry. In his apparently hungry state, he decided that it would be wise to eat a jar of tomato sauce. A JAR of tomato sauce. A LARGE JAR of tomato sauce. The jar of tomato sauce that I was going to use for pasta tonight.
Is this healthy? no. Is this a crisis? no. Did I react with any even a slight modicum of appropriate? NOPE! See it was early....and it isn't like he ate it neatly and put it all away.....there was tomato sauce all over the kitchen. What does a mom do when she walks downstairs to a kitchen covered in tomato sauce? She throws the jar of course! What happens when you throw a jar of tomato sauce? The top comes off the container and sprays tomato sauce everywhere that there was not tomato sauce already.
What happens when a mom throws a jar of tomato sauce and makes a huge mess? Often, this mom at least, begins to yell like a crazy person. Sure, I am the grown up. Sure, I should know better than to throw things. Sure, I have now made a mess....but in my angry state, common sense and understanding don't exist....so now I had to find a way to remind the boys why the kitchen covered in tomato sauce was their fault!
Jacob....you had me up all night because you were kicking me in the back and knocking me out of my bed so I am tired.
Matthew....you woke me up early down here banging around
David......yesterday you ate a ton of jelly so there was no jelly in the house.....(I am not sure how that connected to me being angry today, but I had to come up with something)
As I yelled and carried on, David looked at me and shared the saddest statement of his life to date.....in his quiet little voice he told me, "sometimes I don't like it here". Six words that brought me back to reality. Six words that I had to agree with. Sometimes I don't like it here. Sometimes I hate when our mornings start like this. Sometimes I hate when our bedtimes end with fighting. Sometimes I want it all to be happy all of the time, and I hate when we struggle. Sometimes I have to remember what is important. Tomato sauce is not important. Tomato sauce all over the kitchen could actually have been funny, if I wasn't so busy overreacting.
To know David is to know that he is a boy of very few words. These 6 words may have been the most important thing he ever said to me. I am just so thankful that I was able to hear him and that I listened. This was David telling me he needed more mommy time. This was David telling me that he needs me. This was David reminding me to stop sweating the small stuff.
In that moment I decided that I had to adjust my priorities. David and I needed a date. Sure, I had to go to work today, but I needed to make time for my boy. I had to heal our rotten morning. I decided that I would go to school and surprise him in the afternoon and take him on a date. I called his teacher to let her know that I would be coming in and to make sure that I could spend the last 30 minutes of the day at school with David. I also asked her to give him some TLC to make up for our crazy pasta sauce morning.
After school I had a chance to talk to David on our date. I told him that I was so happy that he told me that he didn't alway like it at home. I needed him to know that everyone feels that way sometimes. I also told him that I was so happy that he had said that this morning.
I told him that we would have more dates. I told him that I knew that he needed that. I know he needs quiet, and our house is far from quiet. He needs to be 1:1 so that he can have time to talk, time to share and time to connect. Our two hours together today did more than make up for our morning. It gave me time to let David know that I was listening. It gave me time to feel the love of David and to spend time just hearing him. He picked out pancakes for dinner. We wandered Walmart together. We drove and listened to the radio and we just had time together.
Sure, pasta sauce all over the kitchen is a crappy way to start the morning, but I will take a kitchen covered in pasta sauce any day if it ends with me remembering what is important. No child in this world can get too much 1:1 time with an adult they love. Children in single parent homes especially can never get too much time alone with their mom or dad. My boys need time together as a family, they need time together just the three of them to play and laugh, and then they need time alone with me.
I don't want another pasta sauce fiasco, and I hope that I learned my lesson today....the 6 words from David were huge, but they were the reminder I needed to slow down and focus on the important things in life, and to let David know that we can always fix things if we work together as a team. The smile I got when I surprised him at school is just the reminder I needed that my boys are my world and sometimes you have to take time together to reconnect, to bond and to simply enjoy the quiet.
- I am a single mom of three amazing boys! All three of my sons entered my family through adoption. All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!