Parenthood is tricky business. One minute, I am counting down the minutes until bedtime and questioning whether I can make it through another hour of the whining, constant entertaining and supervising, meal preparation, or convincing my toddler why he needs to wear a hat when it is scorching hot outside. The next minute, a simple leg hug and a big smooch on my thigh from said toddler is making my heart burst and questioning how it is possible to love one human being so much.
As a relatively new mom, I am often told to enjoy my son now, as they grow quickly and I will one day miss this stage. In my experience with motherhood to date, I already know that to be true. I have done my best to embrace each stage of my child’s life, but it isn’t always that easy. Life comes with a vast assortment of responsibilities, complexities, and commitments separate from parenthood that can complicate one’s ability to stop and smell the roses as often as we should. Dare I mention that on some days, it can be hard to fully embrace the beautiful moments of parenthood when the day felt like it had mainly consisted of tantrums, defiance, mischievousness, and general discontentment. With that being said, I try my best to focus on the positive aspects of our days and to use my late grandmother’s mentality of “today is a new day” following a day that wasn’t so great overall.
I took my son to White Spot for dinner one night with the intention of having a cute mother and son date while dad was at work. As he is only three years old, our dinner date wasn’t as cute as my hopeful self had naively envisioned. He jumped on his seat, tried to colour the window with crayons, sprinted to the very back of the restaurant, and dinner concluded with me pinning him in place with my legs as I tried packaging our to-go box while paying simultaneously. When we got home, I loaded an episode of Max & Ruby on Netflix while taking some deep breaths and reminded myself that toddlers aren’t still creatures and that his behavior was perfectly normal. I sat next to Maverick on the couch after tidying up the living room and kitchen. He leaned over, kissed my arm, and rubbed the small of my back while smiling at me. Just like that, the frustration from our dinner date magically floated away. Yes, some moments are hard, frustrating, and ugly. But for every not so pleasant toddler experience, there are a hundred beautiful ones that I never want to forget.
I never want to forget the excitement in Maverick’s face when I greet him for the first time every morning. How he hugs me and cups my cheeks in his small hands while staring at me lovingly. I always want to remember how he brought me pretend play food on a little plastic plate that he prepared in his play kitchen, and how proud he was when I told him how good it tasted. When he gets a minor boo-boo, a small kiss on the area makes things better 95% of the time. He says “Thank you, Mama’ in the sweetest little way; in fact, to most people other than Adam and me, you wouldn’t even realize he is saying “thank you,” as it sounds more like “ti-yu.” I can’t wait to tell him how he used to sign “grandma” rather than attempting to say it, and how he referred to Adam’s dad as “two-papa” after I told him that he has two papas. He loves animals and excitedly shrieks “Nanno” when he sees pictures of our dog, Fernando, who passed over a year ago. When he is given a five-minute warning for nap or bedtime, he begins slowly drinking his milk and eating his snack to procrastinate from bedtime while maintaining a mischievous grin on his face.
Right now, Adam and I are Maverick’s entire world. We can currently fix all of his problems. I cringe thinking of the day when we will reminisce about how his biggest problem in life was not being able to get his boots on properly by himself or being able to play outside at the exact moment he wanted to, because I know one day sooner rather than later, we won’t be able to fix all of his worries and woes. Yes, raising a toddler is hard work. I will stand firm in my belief that all stages of parenting have hardships while also acknowledging that we are currently experiencing a very precious and innocent stage in our child’s life that will one day be a distant memory. Just as each stage of parenthood has its hardships, each stage has its awesomeness and beauty as well. My dad once told me that his favorite stage of parenting was whatever stage they were at at the time. I hope I can say the same thing one day, and that I’ll be able to look back at each stage and remember the amazing parts of each one.