Tonight toward the end of putting Rowan to bed, as thought sought after thought, I worried: Everything I can do for this little boy has to do with modeling. Somehow the better human being I am, the better being he'll become. Model good eating and outdoor habits, calm, attention. Oh no, but today I didn't model anything crafty. I didn't write in my journal (which I have never ever managed to consistently do anyway).
At this point I stopped myself and tried to make a U-turn. OK, but what about all the good things you did today? When you got home, you sat on the kitchen floor with Rowan on your lap while he ate his bowl full of figs. You read stories and crawled around like a panda. You hugged and kissed and tickled and laughed. Played the toasting game at dinner. Had a mini dance party in the living room. You gave him a bath and sang songs. Marveled at how much he understands (and how much you understand the way he communicates his understanding). You just spent the last hour settling him down for sleep. And right now he is so cozy asleep in your arms.
It was a really good night.
When I write it out like that, of course I think I'm crazy to feel like less than enough. Or lacking in the good role model department.
At the end of the day, I want to model love. Self-love is part (the biggest part?) of that. There's enough poor self-esteem in the world; I'd rather not pass that down. I want to model the part of me, who remembers all the best parts of the night. Like Rowan pushing my back down so that my nose goes toward my toes while I'm sitting cross-legged on the floor (cuz apparently I'm always sitting on the floor these days), so he can drum my back, walk around to the front of me as I sit up, and giggle while he runs back to my back to push me back down and darumdadumdrum.
If I can cultivate his self-love: compassion, a love of learning, questions, and inner discovery will follow. It really is about planting the right seeds and caring for them. Starting with the compassion I sow for myself.
Someone must have done this for me when I was a wee one. Being a mom has changed the way I view my own childhood. I watch in what subtle ways Rowan's personality unfolds. His flare for drama and laughter, hot temper quick to cool, a bit of a dark streak. Dare I say an undercurrent of joy? I see his mama and where she came from--maybe for the first time. I believe that, no matter how things turned out, some people loved me very much (and that they still do). Sometimes the obvious needs to be stated. Stating so gives it life, makes it something to feel thankful for, rather than doubt.
For Rowan to know that he is loved. Always. What more could any of us want for our children?
Well, hopefully his papa's side will take away some of the darkness, so Rowan can have a simpler light.