While I was pregnant I told myself that I would be the perfect mom: teaching my son how to become a good man, baking and bringing all the goodies for his school’s fundraisers, and essentially all the things that moms should instinctively know what to do. Well, when my son was born and I held his tiny, adorable body in my arms, all of my previous conventions flew out the hospital window with one big bubbly burp.
As I peered into his big, dark eyes and watched him furrow his eyebrows with worry, I thought to myself – hey little one, don’t be so troubled. I am the one who needs to worry about you growing up. But my son was always a worrier and a studier. He studied everyone and everything around him. He studied why leaves moved with the wind. He studied why some cars had four wheels and some had six wheels. He studied with that constant crease in between his eyes and people often wondered why he had that expression. I told them it was because he was a worrier. And then people would look at me funny wondering how I could raise my child to be so anxious all of the time. Well, my son wasn’t neurotic he was simply intune to all the things around him – something that I wished adults would be more conscious of.
As he grew older however, his brows furrowed less and he was more open and free. He is such a happy and funny kid, never letting things bother him too much for too long. I wondered to myself what happened to my little worrier and then I realized that hey, it’s probably better this way. It would’ve been much more difficult to get him out of that mindset than to teach him to be more carefree.
Being a first time mom is never easy. Heck, being a mom isn’t easy. But I suppose through experience and trials and error, we all learn through pitfalls and triumphs that parenting is a dirty job and yet a beautiful enigma. There may be hundreds of books on parenting and even thousands more advice from family and friends. But in the end, we as the parent should learn from our own mistakes and essentially from what our own children teaches us. We don’t live in a perfect world and although I wondered if I could have kept my newborn safe enclosed in an adamantium-made box while I carted him around everywhere I went, I realized through baby steps that it’s okay to let him breathe a little outside of his comfort zone and in essence allow myself to take a new breath as well.
As a writer and advocate of healthier living for children, I learned from an early age to live healthier and to do all that was possible to provide a safer world for my son. As years went on, my own downfalls forced me to deviate away from my early life lessons, but then I woke up from those self-deprecating paths and went back to advocating for my own health. I strived to be a better mom by teaching my son about eating healthy, buying healthier products, and giving back to Earth what she has given us. It may not always be easy to teach those basic life lessons to him, but even now as we grocery shop, he reminds me to buy organically.
Now that my son is no longer that fragile little newborn, I can see things clearer through his eyes. He may not understand what GMO means or why fossil fuels released into the atmosphere is driving our planet into global warming. But through incessant teaching on my part and showing him that helping our own bodies also helps our planet, he is becoming quite the little advocate himself. He recycles, he reminds me to bring my reusable bags, and he turns off lights when he leaves the room. I truly could not be more proud.
The perfect world may exist one day, perhaps far into the future. But for right now, I am growing as a parent along with my growing son. Together we have triumphed and fallen, gave up on little fights, and learned to pick our battles. But in the essence of it all, my son is perfect in his own way, with or without those furrowed brows. Now, as I glance at my reflection in the mirror I too see the creased lines in my forehead from years of constant worrying. But that’s okay – because it’s my job to worry about my son, not the other way around.
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