Time moves so fast. It’s like the rush of wind when you’re driving with the windows down. It speeds by, and in the blink of an eye, life has skipped forward.
I am obnoxiously grateful for my kid. Several times a day, every single day, she makes me so thankful that she came into my life. I tell her constantly, “I am so lucky I get to be your mom. I love you so, so much”
People are always telling me, “wait till she says her first mean thing to you,” or “wait till she gets older” – like a warning that I will somehow love her less when she’s not acting ideally.
I won’t. And I know it. Because she said the meanest thing in the whole world to me the other day, and I almost laughed in her face.
We were finishing up dinner, and Coraline wanted to watch Daniel Tiger. I told her that she had to wait a little bit while my husband and I finished eating.
“I like dad more than you,” she said, looking me right in the face, “because he’s more fun than you.”
I almost spit my water out. I was immediately entertained, but I thought it would be inappropriate to laugh. I didn’t want to condone the behavior. It’s not funny to be rude. (I mean, it was to me at that moment, but you know what I’m saying.) You can’t say stuff like that out loud to other people – unless you’re hoping to be a social leper.
I felt oddly proud of her. I felt proud that she’s already figuring out how to try to get her way. I felt proud that she said what was on her mind. I also felt proud of myself that my feelings weren’t even a little bit hurt.
Instead of laughing like I wanted to, I calmly explained that saying something like that is mean. It’s hurtful. I also told her that she’s allowed to like dad more than me sometimes. And she’s allowed to like me more than dad sometimes. But it’s never kind to say that to someone. To me, to dad, or to any other person.
I told her that relationships with people are complicated. That you can feel frustrated by another person’s choices or actions. But that shouldn’t mean you like them less. It just means you like the choice they made less than the one that you wanted them to make.
I lecture a lot in my house, so much so that I sometimes feel like a toddler professor. Lectures are always short, and I hope they’re relatively age appropriate, though I think we discuss many things that other parents do not discuss with their similarly-aged kids.
I do this because time moves so quickly. I do not want to turn around one day and realize that I haven’t prepared her for an awkward or uncomfortable topic. Time moves so fast. I give her the explanations now in the hope that I can help prevent a future embarrassment.
One of my friends often tells me, “Life will teach her.”
Sure, it will.
But I can, too.
And I will always be here for her – to help her navigate, to help her understand, to love her unconditionally – until my time is up.