My son and I had a tough day the other day. We weren’t jiving at all. He is five now so whatever he wants, goes, in his mind and it is a struggle to find the balance between letting him be who he is and maintaining my sanity when it comes to protecting his safety or teaching him responsible habits. I get it. He’s five. He wants to play and that is his priority. He’s also an only child and he doesn’t have a lot of friends his age so he requires a lot of attention. I mean, he’s spent the majority of his life in COVID restrictions so he hasn’t had much opportunity to make friends and find himself that way. That means he also has had many outlets for energy so breaking some of his habits is already a challenge.
Regardless, when we were in the middle of an argument that I had been trying to avoid (I’m human and I caved) I said something I shouldn’t have. I instantly knew that it hurt him and my heart sank thinking this may have been one of those moments that scar him. I am NOT proud of it but we know how parenting is at times. He replied to me, “I’m scared I will never be comfortable again!”. My heart sank even further. Those were the words I have uttered to myself for ages. And as I do the healing work, I see that so many of my habits have been about self-soothing and finding comfort. I also wanted stability and safety but that all started with things that would calm me down after experiencing some of the trauma and loss I did as a child.
Now my mind went in an entirely different direction. They say that we get the children we need and that our children choose us to express their life purpose/lessons. This was a huge one for me. One of my lessons IS learning to comfort my inner child, and here I have my living and breathing child expressing the exact fears that I have my entire life. It was heart wrenching. I saw without any doubt in that moment that I had passed on something I was working on breaking. The generational fear of loss and insecurity. The insecurity we feel about ourselves expresses as the need for material things and my son already has that habit as well.
I’m so sad that it happened but I am also grateful. Number one, it taught me that sometimes our inner child is expressed through children. That is the point—they are aware of the things we started denying in ourselves long ago and they help us bring it to the surface. Number two, it taught me that I still have things to work through. Number three, I can work through those things with my son and help him learn to look for security in himself. Number four, it is not too late. I will continue to make mistakes and probably do things that WILL scar him but that is part of this journey as well. We teach those who come after us examples of both what to do and what not to do. This isn’t a trauma for him if we can work through it together.
So while the words haunt me and scare me at how early they expressed in him, I am still grateful for the lesson and learning how to move forward with my child as well as my inner child. I need to express care for that being as well. I hear the times I was told to grow up and the times I wasn’t allowed to fully be who I am because they expected me to be a little China doll to make their lives easier. I see the times I do that to my kid as well. But he isn’t a doll. He is very real and he has emotions and thoughts and opinions and I need to learn to reconcile that it is ok for him to have the learning curve I was denied. That is the greatest gift I can give him. The ability to be himself. Maybe in that practice, I can rekindle that in me as well.