We bought Andrew a swing set for his birthday. But it was November and it was cold and we didn’t really get to use it much until recently, when the weather warmed up.
Now, Andrew bides his time every day until Mommy agrees to go outside and swing. If I would let him, the boy would spend his every waking hour outside.
The swing set and I have a love/hate relationship. Andrew is at that really frustrating stage where he knows exactly what he wants, but he doesn’t know how to communicate it to us. He loves to swing. But it took a bit of trial and error to figure out exactly HOW he loves to swing.
At first, I thought he liked to swing high and fast. He would laugh and giggle and shout the first few goes. But then he’d stick his hand out and reach for me. I thought that meant he was finished and ready to be done. But he would get so upset when I took him out of the swing. Nope, not what he wanted at all.
So then, I tried pushing him slow and steady. And he seemed to like this for a bit. But then again, he’d stick his hand out and reach for me. I knew this time that he didn’t want out of the swing, so I grabbed his hand and tried to dance with him. Nope, not what he wanted at all.
Frustrated, I sat down in the swing next to his toddler swing and looked at him. Again, he stuck his hand out and reached for me. So I took it. I just held his hand, and he wrapped his little fingers around mine.
We started swinging, side-by-side, hand-in-hand.
And that what he wanted.
It never occurred to me that he just wanted me. He just wanted me to be there, to know that I was swinging right along with him.
This small, simple act hit me pretty hard. As mothers, I think a lot of times we feel like we have to be there in some big way for our children. We have to push them high and fast. We have to rock them slow and steady. We have to throw the Pinterest-worthy birthday party or have memories that we can document on Instagram.
When really, what our children crave is just the knowledge that we’re swinging right beside them.
They just want to know that we’re there.
How amazing is that? It’s something I’ve never really thought about; something I’ve often taken for granted. Of course Andrew would know that I would be there for him. But does he really?
Have I done everything I can to show him that I will be there, supporting him, loving him, no matter what?
I’m honestly not sure. I haven’t been intentional about it, that’s for certain.
But now, I will be.
I may not be the mother who keeps the house spotless, or the mother who has dinner on the table every day at 5 pm. I may not be the mother who throws the best parties or volunteers at school constantly.
But I will be there to kiss his boo-boos and wipe away his tears. I will be there to listen, without judgement. I will be there to hug him and laugh with him, and even to cry with him. I will do my best to make sure that Andrew never doubts my love for him or my support.
I will be there.