Jameson turned 23-months-old last Wednesday, and it’s hard to believe we’ll be celebrating his second birthday in just a few weeks. Besides thinking about how I can pull off a party with a Sesame Street/Cinco de Mayo fusion theme, I’ve had lots of other things on my mind when it comes to Jameson getting older.
Last week, I took Jameson to one of his favorite weekly activities — a “mommy and me” music class that we’ve been attending since he was eight-months-old. The class is seriously one of his happy places, and the instructor, Gabriele, is one of his favorite people. When we roll into class, it’s kind of like a Norm-entering-Cheers type moment.
There comes a time in every class when Gabriele brings out two large buckets filled with all kinds of instruments — maracas, drums, triangles, symbols, etc. The kids are encouraged to grab whichever ones they want, and then they have “exploratory free play” as a song plays from a nearby stereo. Jameson is partial to the drums and is actually pretty good at keeping beat when he wants to. Although, lately, that’s not what he wants to do. What he wants to do is wave the drumsticks in the air all over the place, with no intentions of hitting the actual drum.
The problem with this is he runs the risk of hitting me (let’s be honest, I’m used to it) or hitting another child in the class (not a good look).
So during last week’s class, as he’s carelessly waving his drumsticks around, Gabriele gently tells him, “No, Jameson, you don’t want to hit Mommy.”
Jameson stopped what he was doing. I was elated that my child was obedient enough to listen and not embarrass me in front of a bunch of folks I hardly know. Pat pat on the back.
But then, I see that Jameson has stopped swinging his drumsticks and is just staring into space. Refusing to make eye contact with me and taking deep breaths in through his mouth.
And then his bottom lip starts quivering.
And his eyes start to water.
It becomes clear that his feelings are hurt. Or he’s embarrassed. Or it’s a combination of the two. And he’s trying his best to keep it together.
And I am suddenly feeling like the next 16 years of his life are flashing before my eyes. I realize that he’ll have hurt feelings many times, perhaps because he fails to make the basketball team or his crush doesn’t like him back or he puts too much pressure on himself to perform. And in those moments, as they happen real time, I won’t be able to scoop him up and hold him tight like I did on that multi-colored alphabet carpet in music class.
In the 23-months since he was born, I’ve obviously seen him cry a thousand times. But there was something so different about seeing him try not to cry. To see him wrestling with his hurt.
I think one of the most incredible things about parenting is how you get to experience being another person’s ultimate comfort. I’m in awe of how there are few things–perhaps no thing–a hug from me can’t heal.
The photos in this post are from one of those days when all he wanted were mommy hugs. And that’s generally the norm these days if he’s feeling sick or tired.
But that day at music class, I was given a tough reminder that as he grows, he’ll come in contact with a world that can offer him lots of wonderful things but will also inevitably hurt him at times. A hug from me won’t hold the same level of comfort or protection it does now.
But prayerfully, as he grows, and things change, and life happens, he’ll move from finding all his comfort in me to finding the Comforter.
As long as I’m around, my hugs will always be available too.