Cocoa butter….on my heart
I am the often proud, sometimes unhappy, but full of joy mother of two boys; 17 and almost 21 years of age…. Like most parents, raising them were at times hairy; nights were spent filled with worry when a fever spiked, an infection got worse or they struggled to learn something new and my heart broke from wanting to help, all while recognizing they had to do some things on their own. The oldest is very quiet and reserved. As a baby, strangers would stop us in the store and tell us he had such an old soul. He followed most rules, went to pre-school at 3 and is now a rising Senior in college.
When his brother was born 8 weeks premature at 3 pounds, he stepped in at four, to try and help by washing the baby bottles ( Had to redo them but it was the thought that counted) and as his brother got older, I would peek through the window and see their heads together, sitting in the grass, colluding about something. I even caught him one day with his brother on the handle bars of his bike admonishing him to hold on for dear life because if he fell, mommy would kill them both..The younger child looked up adoringly at his brother and promised… off they went. Not sure what stopped me from saying anything to them; I believe now that I instinctively knew, they would protect each other.
The youngest child was the “gift” from my mother who wished and prayed I would have a child that would drive me nuts the way she claimed I did. Hey, not accepting bad reports about my childhood for as far as I was concerned, I was a saint. Yep, I said it. This child, is everything his brother isn’t; gregarious, climbed everything he could find, ate anything he could get his fingers on ( including my vitamin E pills) and would explore anything he thought was worth it. I was on a first name basis with poison control and the Pediatrician. That boy kept me on these ashy knees but could charm the socks off an egg.
They will tell you, quite empahtically in fact, that ours was a household where doing the right thing saved you from all kinds of angst; Homework was done on schedule at the same time everyday, no video games allowed during the week, all chores had to be done, board games were played regularly, bed- time was the same everynight and we could recite the lines to evry Disney movie.. The Lion King comes readily to mind. They learned to make meals and are both great chefs and bakers; one year, French cookbooks were a gift. I will never forget the time a friend called me all insulted when the boys refused to eat her dinner of fish sticks by kindly saying they do not eat processed food at home…ooh, I still get a chuckle from that.
I remember days when I would be sad about something and the youngest would offer his very special hug, which always made me feel better. We had family meetings and I encouraged them to raise their point of view respectfully. When one got in trouble, the other would quietly calm his sibling and both would not speak while working hard to not be disrespectful… As they got older, the baby became a thorn in the older one’s flesh because he had friends and did not want to be seen having to play with his brother all the time. They fought and I foolishly thought they were not close at all until the day the oldest went off to college.
The youngest began to mope, his grades dropped and no matter how much I fussed and threatened, nothing worked until one day in exasperation, I said ” I am done. You want to fail school, it will not be in THIS house!” As I was walking away, my happy child burst into tears and between his racking sobs, I heard his brother’s name. It all clicked, so I took him that weekend up to see his sibling, dropped him off and encouraged them to let me know when I missed something. Turms out they were still very close and shared everything…
You know, life has it’s ebb and flow, and when days like yesterday gets sticky with personalities, conflict and egos, I tend to feel better when bonding with my family while making them a good meal. Those two imps I call sons, happened to be both home at once and they tried me at every turn while making my heart laugh inside.. I pulled out the juicer, asked the oldest to start the grill and throw some meats on and had the youngest prepping the ingredients for a cake and drying dishes as we washed. They kept poking fun at me and I looked up at one point, to see the oldest eating a rib while the youngest rested his head on his brother’s shoulders. Did my heart a world of good.
When they dropped the cake on the floor by accident and stood there looking at it in amazement while pealing with laughter, all the pain from childbirth, raising them and dealing with life, melted away in an instant. They are cocoa butter on my heart.
I am sure there is much more to come but I have to say without a doubt, that raising these two, has been and will remain my proudest accomplishments to date. Love your children; teach them but know when to let them breathe and grow on their own. Do not hinder them by being a constant crutch. let them find their way. You will be so much happier for it long term..