His nearly weightless body skips across the house as he approaches the entrance to our garage. Back and forth, he appears to hover over the flooring, touching just briefly before he is back in the air. Turning at the corner of the couch, he places both hands on the sectional and hurls both legs into the air. Up and down, standing on his hands for a moment before his feet return to the ground.
Body and mind are usually in motion as he races to the kitchen to fill his water cup. Placing the cup on the edge of the water dispenser, he knows exactly how long it takes to fill the cup and reappears in time to flip the handle. Seated on the corner of the couch, I keep tabs on his movement, waiting for his thoughts on our recent conversation.
He stops and says, “Okay, Mom. So, to be a good husband, I need to do laundry and cook.”
Chuckling out loud, I smile and ask, “What are you saying?”
He proceeds with an extensive explanation about how I have taught him how to do laundry, bring in the groceries, clear the dinner table, throw away trash, make simple meals, be respectful, and apologize when he’s hurt someone.
Slightly confused and curious about his reasoning, I respond instead of asking further questions.
“Although doing all of those things could make you a good husband, I do believe that these things—along with many others—make you a good human, whether or not you decide to be someone’s husband,” I explain.
Accepting my answer and ready to move on, he strolls back toward the washing machine to transfer his clothing.
When did we get here? Here. The place where my child is sharing what he is learning from me. Where he is telling me that my words and my actions are noticed and hopefully regarded. Here. Where his brain is absorbing what is required to gain independence. Where ordinary days are an opportunity to pass on values and habits that will serve him for the rest of his life.
Something inside me has shifted in the past year.
Life has become less volatile and more balanced for each of my boys, and I am beginning to see through the haze to catch glimpses of the men I am raising. Falling behind the curve, there are days when I am overwhelmed, feeling the heaviness of having parented children with extraordinary challenges up to this age.
These days, it doesn’t always feel like we’re fighting just to be alive. We are learning who we are, what we like, and what we don’t like. We’re learning how to believe in ourselves and ask for help when we need it. We’re learning that we are not in control of others, but we can only control our response to them.
We’ll probably always be learning that brushing our teeth is not negotiable and cleaning up after ourselves is required. More importantly, though, we’re learning that life can sometimes be uncomfortable, but we are not alone.
Bethany Cabell, a lover of simplicity, is often inspired to write by her everyday relationships. A highly distracted procrastinator mixed with a tender-hearted feeler, she can be a little bit unpredictable on any given day. Bethany calls Texas home where she navigates the messy and beautiful path of parenting two boys with unique challenges. She loves to enjoy life in authentic spaces alongside those she holds dear.