By bedtime tonight all was right in his world. He told me he loved me and wished my patellas to feel better soon. He chose one of his sisters to read his bedtime story, snuggled up with a dragon, a jaguar, and a pillow resembling his favorite food group: pizza, and he pronounced that the “next day is going to be hilarious.”
Time in his 4 year old brain exists pretty much solely on 3 planes. Last day, today, and next day. Past, present, future.
It’s beautiful and simple. He moves swiftly past the past and present, and focuses largely on next day which is great. Great because I am the best parent ever in next day.
Next day is where all of my best parenting intentions live.
Sometimes I live up to those intentions, and some days I don’t.
Last day he ran away from home for the first time. Planting himself under an old pine tree across our driveway, he declared that plot of half grass, half pine needle land his new home, and said that he would survive there own his own. He’d had enough of me and his demanding, tattling sisters. He had no use for my rules. Ones like “don’t run over your sister on your bike” and “bicycles are not weapons” and “don’t ride your bike with your finger in your nose.”
Eventually though, he had use for dinner and hugs, and he came home.
My best parenting intentions were fulfilled in this instance. I didn’t yell [this time] and freak out about his defiance–I let him run, let him figure it out on his own, and let him come home to a hug that said he’s always got a place in my arms no matter what.
Today though, I screwed up. Today was the day that his preschool class read the books they “wrote” to an audience of parents. That audience did not include his parents. We didn’t know it was happening today or forgot. The why doesn’t matter so much in last day or today. We simply weren’t there.
Tonight at dinner he told me that he “melted because [we] weren’t there.” I held his melty face in my hands and told him we made arrangements to be there tomorrow. We’d see him read his book tomorrow.
But “melting” was an insufficient description for him. He went on.
Mama, you know how da seats in da minivan are squishering seats? How you pull da button and da seat pushed down? Folded down? Dat’s how I was feeling in my inside brain. Folded down.
Ugh. Just ugh.
I’m going to fix this next day.
I’ll do my best. And I’ll know that if it isn’t completely fixed, I still have the next day to try again.