Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Mother's Day Message to Sidney

Today is Mother's Day in the United States.  First recognized by Woodrow Wilson in 1914, it is a day set aside to honor mothers and the mother figures in all of our lives.  Its origins are so much more than the commercialized day it has become.

I am typing this from the airport in Vienna, Austria where I am waiting for my connecting flight back to Tirana.  I've been away for a week and I can't wait to get home and see my boys; both the big one and the little one who made me a mother.  As I wait for my flight I'm thinking about this day, motherhood, and the challenges of raising children in this ever changing, fast paced world.

As those of us who are moms can attest, being a mother is a challenge.  My own mother raised three children on her own.  Now adults, I think we all turned out alright.  In our own way, we are all fiercely independent, hard working, caring adults.  I owe this to my mother.

I worry about how my actions, or inactions, will affect Sidney now and in the future.  I worry about the amount of time he watches TV and I worry about what he eats (a bowlful of ketchup while watching an Elmo DVD is definitely not the ideal). As Sidney discovers the world around him I struggle to give him the independence he needs.  Already he pushes away and wants to do things for himself.  I don't want to smother him but I don't want him to get hurt.  I cringe as he barrels down the stairs without holding onto the railing or he scales the climbing wall at the playground.  As Glenn reminds me, he is a boy and boys will be boys.  As such, they will experience all of the scrapes and bruises that accompany boyhood.  I am continually scanning his little body to see his latest bruise or bump. (Yesterday during a Skype session I spotted one on his knee and he proudly informed me that he fell).  As much as I want to protect Sidney from this I know that these experiences are a part of childhood and will only make him stronger.  As much as I would like to at times, I do not want to be that overprotective mother who doesn't allow her child to grow.

My biggest desire is to raise Sidney to be a kind person.  Even as a blossoming 2 1/2 year old he is compassionate for those around him.  Whether a four legged animal or a human he is quick to recognize when others are hurt and express his desire to "kiss to make it better". His spontaneous hugs when I appear down warm my heart beyond belief.    I know the day will come when it will no longer be cool for Sidney to hug his mom but I hope his caring nature never disappears.

I want Sidney to continue to grow into a strong, independent, and compassionate adult. I want him to feel comfortable in his own shoes and have confidence in the decisions he makes.  I promise that when he introduces me to his intended spouse I will be supportive and trust that he is making the right decision.  After all, if I have confidence in the way I raise him, I will then have confidence in the decisions he makes.

Sidney I love you.  Be strong, be brave, and be caring.  Most of all be yourself.  Love, Mama

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