In my last draft, safely tucked in the shadows, my brain was working overtime to connect events. That somehow the uncomfortable situations are necessary to enumerate in order to allow me the indulgence of sentimentality. It’s bonkers. I’m not sure where the idea was planted that I must earn saccharine emotions about parenthood. So fuck it, I’m sappy today.
Moose accompanies me to various destinations. Grocery shopping, work, various and other sundry activities. This is mostly out of necessity. I don’t have his other parent at home to help with daily childcare. It’s also a choice. I could find additional childcare help. I could become a hermit. I could also miss out on silly moments with my favorite sidekick. So to me, there isn’t much of a choice. It’s a bonus that he is a remarkably well behaved kid (mostly).
In our daily life, the kid sees a lot of my office. And the park- near my office. This past weekend, I realized he was old enough to expand our experiences. Homeboy has a lot of opinions, so I rarely make assumptions of his interest in things. Unless it is Minecraft related, of course. Before I got myself excited, I asked him. Would a movie in a theater interest him? I was going to type that I held my breath, which is disingenuous. I didn’t have long enough to feel pensive. He exclaimed “A movie?! I LOVE MOVIES!” Apparently it was no matter that he had never experienced a movie in a theater before. His love was already palpable.
Recently, Moose has been exposed to the days of the week. He is also parsing the nuance of routine. The daily routine he has down, I am talking about the broader scope. Weekdays (school) versus weekends (not). It means that weekend mornings tend to come with questions. Namely, ‘are we going to school today?’. This past Saturday was no different.
Moose sat atop my hip, as I curled into a ball, trying to generate some sort of body heat while I dozed. As will be no surprise, he played Minecraft and chatted away. Between micro naps I would hear “hello and welcome to..” as he pretended to be hosting his own YouTube channel. Eventually, I needed to emerge from my cocoon. An oil change appointment beckoned.
As I unfurled my creaky limbs to gather our clothing, his voice concealed the digital adventures of the background. “Mommy, are we going to school today?” To his tremendous joy, we were not. The questions which followed are typical of a Saturday morning. Such as ‘why not’, ‘are we going to your office’, ‘where are we going’, and finally landing on the question he had been working toward.
“Is today the day that we are going to see the movie in the movie theater?!”
His excitement only bolstered mine. Throughout the day we chatted about the excursion. The movie. Should we being blankets? Definitely. We purchased candy. Stuffies were selected. Upon arrival, popcorn was promptly secured. Our seats located. I reclined his chair and placed his blanket over his legs as he snuggled down with his stuffies and various snacks. The movie began.
The play by play of the viewing experience was much what anyone would expect. He reclined. He stood. He maneuvered into my lap. He went back to his chair. He declared he was ready to go play Minecraft. I told him he could post movie. He calmed. Requested his seat no longer be reclined. He spoke to the characters on the screen. He narrated for me. He hugged my arm and told me he liked me. It was a (mostly) quiet ballet of chaos.
It was absolutely wonderful.
I wasn’t prepared for how much joy I would get out of it. How much I have been waiting for these experiences, unbeknownst to me.
I have said it before, but it bears saying again. When I got pregnant with this nugget, I couldn’t envision past the larval stage. My experience had been such that I only trusted myself with babies. I could swing them to sleep in my arms. Coo at them. Kids- well kids flummoxed me. I didn’t know how to communicate with them. Hell, half the time I couldn’t understand them. They felt like an alien race I was desperately trying to connect with- and failing. Short story- they scared the bejeesus out of me. If my brain wouldn’t allow me to envision my tiny human growing into said alien race, I couldn’t panic. Turns out, my baby was nothing like the fresh babies of loved ones. Mine was in pain. He was angry. And well, he was mine- which meant a whole lot of emotions for me. Failure. Fear. Elation. And so many in between. Long story short- we survived. Hell, we’ve thrived. And here we are, watching animated singing animals dance across the screen.
It may have been a 50/50 split between me watching the movie and watching him. His face illumined by the screen. Emotions splashing across his features. Sharing in new adventures with my kid is always enormously fulfilling. But there was something special about sharing this first with him. Distinct because I got to usher him into an experience that I have loved for decades. And he loved it, too.
Being the primary parent has it’s struggles. Homework is the bane of my existence. He had an epic meltdown Monday night due to fatigue and hunger. Folks, he is definitely mine. Shaping his understanding of complex emotions, accidental manipulation, respect for himself- hell, the list is never ending of the tiny things we do daily as parents to shape these tiny humans. A lot of them mentally and emotionally taxing. But as he has grown, I have also gotten to engage in really fun conversations. Celebrate his imagination. Experience a well of love that doesn’t seem to have a bottom. Mine or his. He is funny, thoughtful, and so very literal. And now he likes the movies!
If you’re in the thick of it- know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I may have to read this again on his next day of exhaustion where his emotional regulator is broken.
I couldn’t fathom a life as the parent of a kid. Seeing past the embryo stage was impossible for me. Now that I am here, firmly ensconced in ‘kiddom’, I wouldn’t relinquish it for all the treasures in the world. This kid really is all of the best parts of me. He also provides some soul healing hugs.