I was finishing up therapy the other day and went to check out. Ok, fine. I was at Target. But, I’m pretty sure even my therapist would tell you this is a recommended course of treatment when used correctly.
Mills was with me, and the lady helping us said to him, “Santa is WATCHING YOU, you know… you’d better be a GOOD BOY! Mama, is he being GOOD?”
I started sweating. For the first time, my child- my baby- was being launched into to the goodenough gauntlet.
“Well of course he is! But what a ridiculous question!” I sputtered. “He is Mills! And he has been exactly who he is supposed to be every day of his life! You should really stop leaning over the children and asking them the scary things!”
Both Mills and Miss Target were giving me the “you’re so crazy” face, so I wheeled out and shoved all of us into my car.
What are we doing? Far sooner than we’d like to admit, our children pick up the monologue some may never be able to shake…
-am I good?
-am I good enough?
-do I deserve goodness in my life?
-do I deserve punishment?
-do I measure up?
-AM I ENOUGH?
-... and on and on and on. If you are anything like me, I am still trying to untangle all those thoughts and put some better ones in my brain.
Am I going to speak an identity over my child of good vs bad that may be a temporary fix for behavior but could lead to lasting shame? Am I going to lead him to believe that God, also, is watching and judging him… making a list and holding record of his wrongs? AND let random Target ladies in on the torture? NO WAY.
I looked back at my little wide-eyed-feisty-headstrong-loving-rowdy-rough and tumble-sensitive-spirited-beautiful boy and said this:
Your Papa and I are so proud of you. Today, right now, after you threw your cookie at me and tried to spit in my diet coke, I love you more than I ever have. I want you to grow up and be kind and brave and responsible and all the things. But I want you to know above it all, YOU ARE ENOUGH! Right there in your car seat, you are enough. In the trenches of your middle school years, you are enough. In the highs and the lows, your behavior will never merit our acceptance of you. We are delighted in you. Ok?”
He got really still and nodded. And then he threw the rest of his cookie at me.
So many times I need Matt to remind me that I AM ENOUGH too!
author's note: mamas... you know that my heart is YOU! the above statement reflects me alone. if you need santa to get you through the holidays, you better believe I will dress up like the angry elf MYSELF and come get those babies in line for you! it's all about making it through the day. we are in this together!