One thing I’m growing to appreciate more each day about my darling two-and-a-half year old is the genuineness that comes from his childlike mindset. I never have to worry about that little guy putting on airs. His true feelings are always evident in each moment of the day.
This has led to hurt feelings and frustration on more than one occasion, but all in all, I’ve learned that, while we’ll work to season this character quality with grace as he grows older, it’s something I pray never changes about him.
While extended family have received the cold shoulder when he just doesn’t feel like giving them a hug and I’ve grimaced and wanted so badly to make him understand why that’s hurtful, I’ve come to see how much sweeter the bear hugs and kisses are when he’s ready to show them love. As I longed for him to say “I love you Mama” when all of his peers were, I came to understand that his actions of love were enough to get me by until the glorious day he decided to voice his feelings for himself.
When other kids sweetly and politely said thank you immediately after their parents requested they do so, I sighed while thinking I’ve failed as a parent because I can’t even get my kid to make eye contact when a gift is given, let alone say thanks.
In my heart, I continually heard the quiet voice of God nudge me each time my hurt or embarrassed feelings swelled, “Give him time. He’ll say it when he’s ready. Just keep loving him for who he is.”
So over time, I learned to let go of the comparisons to others and the sick feeling in my stomach that we’d offended someone. I began silently thanking God for the gift of my son, imperfections and all, and did my best to just let him be the toddler that he is.
Then last week, it happened. Dash and I were playing, and I did something to help him out. Out of nowhere, with no expectation on my end, he looked at me and said with a precious grin, “Fanks Mama!” (That’s “Thanks Mama” for all you less-than-fluent in preschooler talk.)
Ever since that first utterance, he continually puts himself in positions that require my assistance for the sole purpose of being able to say thanks. Isn’t that the marvelous thing about gratitude? Once we start trying to be thankful, we just can’t get enough of it.
I have to share a link to the video I caught on my phone yesterday when we were playing Thomas the Train. He kept purposely derailing his train, Gordon, so that my train, James, could rescue him. This was all so he could say thanks. I love that boy! I’m also incredibly grateful for the way his genuine gratitude has encouraged me to be the same way.
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