Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Things I Will Miss About My 5-Year-Old

Christopher will be turning six in a few weeks and I'm really, really, really going to miss him being five.  

I will miss the sweet words with r's that aren't pronounced quite right like "fuhst" (first) and "puhson" (person) and "buhd" (bird).  I videotaped Christopher reading a book with these words in it because I know pretty soon he won't say them like this anymore.  I don't ever want to forget his little voice or the way he says these little words.

I will miss the agreeable, sweet, always-smiling 5-year-old who, on the verge of his 6th birthday, is argumentative, sometimes nasty and beginning to clench his teeth in fits of anger.  I remember his brother started turning into the Incredible Hulk when he got mad...right after the six-year mark.  What the heck is it about turning six?

Up until now I've been able to call the shots and rattle him with my "don't-you-even-think-about-it" looks that stop him dead in his tracks.  Not that I had to do that very often because Christopher is my agreeable one.  He never used to argue, always did as he was asked and rarely got upset.  Now he's arguing.  A lot.  I do want my kids to be independent and I do want them to think logically for themselves, but not at the expense of my sanity for Pete's sake.  No one told me I would have to choose between sanity and independent kids.  Now I know why I used to think my mother was a little bit crazy.

I will miss five because my 5-year-old thought I knew everything.  My almost 6-year-old questions my definitions and motives.   My 5-year-old tells me to wear lip gloss because it makes me look pretty and my almost 6-year-old grunts when I dive in for a kiss.  Can't I just stop time and keep my agreeable, adoring, 5-year-old for a little while longer?  Does he really have to cross that threshold into a challenging, opinionated and very stubborn little man?

I will  miss my 5-year-old because the days of us spending all of our waking hours together is coming to an end.  He will be in school full-time in the fall and I already know what life is like when that happens.  I will get to see him for a few minutes after school and at dinner in between playing with friends, homework, sports and piano practice.  When Nicholas crossed that threshold, I still had my baby at home.  Now that my baby is crossing that threshold, I'm left to wonder where the hell the time went.

So, I want to hang onto five a little longer because it was an amazing year.  I will keep a special place in my heart for the year we had so much fun together and thoroughly enjoyed each other's company, just the two of us.  We've made the most of our time together, had some great adventures and equally terrific conversations. I'm not saying we'll never have another adventure or another great conversation after he turns six, but we'll never have the innocence and simplicity that we do right now.

When life interrupts and years go speeding by and Christopher matures even more, I will miss the simplicity of my 5-year-old the most.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dropping Anchors

 I like her because she smiles at me and means it.  ~Anonymous

When I was younger I had a lot of friends.  My self-esteem was tied to how many people wanted to be in my company and I made the mistake of measuring my worth by the number of friendships I had.   I must be a really great person if so many people like me!  Unfortunately, I've learned over the years that not everyone I considered a friend had my best interests at heart.  People will befriend you for all different reasons, but it's important to differentiate between those who serve you well and those who don't.  Now I understand the quality of friendships matters far more than the quantity.  I've redefined my friendships several times over the years and continue to do so as I progress from one phase of my life into another.  In other words, I've dropped some anchors.

I still have a lot of friends, only now I nurture the friendships that are important to me and don't spend a whole lot of time on those that aren't.  As Dr. Phil often says, "we teach people how to treat us."  In my youth, I taught people that it was OK to be phony, narcissistic or spiteful because I based my self-worth on whether or not they liked me.  Now, I choose to be treated with dignity and respect and surround myself with like-minded people.  I never knew that I would feel better about myself with fewer friends than I ever did with more.  I'm pretty sure turning 40 had something to do with that.

I feel so bad for that younger version of me who put up with so much nonsense from people who were never that important to begin with.  I endured jealousy, half-hearted concern and selfishness in the name of so-called friendship. My younger self didn't know that her life was all about choices.  My older self knows that I don't need anyone's permission to do what's best for me.  I make better choices now. 

Do you have relationships that drain you?  Have you tried dropping the anchors?  Just look for the friends who smile at you and mean it. 

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