I had a rough day yesterday. Well, the day was fine, but the evening was not. It was a silly thing, a small misstep with big consequences, and it made everything way harder than it needed to be.
I got mad and retreated upstairs to eat my dinner where there’s easy access to Kleenex to mop up tears with no rational source. I came down to collect the baby and put him to bed, except he didn’t want to go to sleep and I got mad again. He’d had his milk and his story but something–his teeth?–was making sleep difficult. He wanted to nurse again but I’d had enough for the day and I didn’t want him attached to me anymore. He was mad and I was mad and it was all around a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad evening.
My husband took over and eventually the baby’s wails ceased but still I sat on my bed and cried. When I finally got up I saw Connor’s door open so I peeked in, expecting him to be asleep. He wasn’t.
“What are you doing, Mama?”
“Just looking in on you, honey. Why aren’t you sleeping?”
Oh, my heart.
“Why are you sad?”
He didn’t know, but he certainly looked sad. When he asked me to sit with him a bit the answer was easy.
Sometimes he does this to stall, but last night that wasn’t it. He lay quietly for a while, his hand on mine, eyes closed. But then he opened them again and started asking questions.
“How do schools buy toys? How do they get the bigger toys? How do my preschool and kindergarten get toys?”
I tried to explain about money and government funding and all those too-big-for-a-four-year-old concepts.
“How are the toys made? What kind of machines make them? How are the factories built?”
His questions started to go beyond what I felt I could answer when it was late and I was weepy. But then, with his last question, I figured out where it was all coming from.
“But where does the LEGO actually come out?”
Oh, this boy. Such a LEGO lover. Such a curious soul.
I smiled and held his hand and suggested that we find a video that shows how LEGO is made. It was time to sleep.
He closed his eyes and I closed mine as the tears came free again, falling onto the big stuffed penguin that helps him sleep in his own bed.
“I’m not a good enough mom to him,” I thought. “He’s smart and funny and I am short with him and have no patience. He deserves a better mom.”
The penguin didn’t say anything. The boy slept. And eventually my own tears stopped falling, leaving only a trail of gratitude for a small boy who, at times, is wiser than his mother.