No matter the day we have had, the punishments that have transpired, the disappointments in the behaviors in either of us, this is the conversation that occurs every night between Huston and myself as I am tucking him into bed...
Me: Good night Huston
Huston: Good night Mommy
Me: I love you...
Huston: I love you too Mommy....Mommy?
Me: Yes Huston?
Huston: You're a nice mommy. Good night.
Me: Thank you - your a nice boy, good night honey, see you in the morning.
Then as I close the door he tells me he loves me again. Now you know just one of the reasons he is called sweet Huston. It's almost embarrassing, cause I can't tell you how many times I don't feel like a nice mommy at the end of the day - I feel more like someone who is trying to tear down her own house. But in spite of that...
Isaiah cannot leave my side without giving me a hug and telling me that he loves me - he wants to help me in so many ways and does very often. I know I can count on him to watch over his younger brothers - if one of them gets hurt, Isaiah is crying right along side of them simply because they are crying. Right now as I discipline Avery more often during the natural testing of the waters that happens around the age of 2-3, Isaiah implores him to do what mom says and I think feels the hurt more than Avery does when a punishment is handed down. Isaiah has often begged me not to punish one of his brothers for a "crime" they have committed...and I can specifically think of one time where he even offered to take the punishment instead.
Avery is his own person, has never really been a snuggler - even as an infant he was not one that you could cuddle with and nap along side...but he has always been so social - very happy to see everyone, talking to them in full conversations before he had a real "word" to say - and I have yet to see him really have stranger anxiety like his brothers have had. He is almost like a loyal pup that will greet you every time you come through the door, no matter how many times you come and go. He always shines a huge smile and gives you that signature Avery "Hi mommy!" And as he goes throughout his day he will suddenly stop what he is in the middle of come over to me and say "Mommy, hug?" I will stoop down and snap him up and he will momentarily bury his little head in my shoulder and then he is off and running again. He also is concerned for his brothers when they are hurt and crying, often times going over to stroke their head and say, "you ok?"
What have I done to reap such good fruit in the lives of my kids? I would say many times, very little...I can be a terrible example in the area of empathy and compassion, my temper can be short and my impatience can also be very quick to rear its ugly head - many times speaking harshly before I know the background of the frustrating situation, and this almost always results in my foot needing to be removed from my mouth. So I learned very early as a parent to pray - one of the first consistent parent prayers that I would mumble over Isaiah as I rocked him to sleep or comforted him after something upsetting, and the one that I continue to be reminded to pray almost every single day - "Lord, supplement my parenting - fill in the gaps, teach them in spite of my own behavior...No matter what I do, pick up the areas I forget, and let them see the consistency that comes only from You." Cause I know that I am going to screw up, and I hate the idea that my screw ups could also lead them to make the same mistakes. So Lord, continue to supplement my parenting and let more of this sweet stuff grow in their lives because I allow You to be their Gardener.