Even still, there are some moments I just want to put behind me. For instance, Max had a rough day on Wednesday. Full on freak-out, meltdown prior to nap. We had a long morning outdoors. I knew he was tired. I was tired. It was an ugly scene but I managed to get him into his bed (he was pulling the ever-infuriating "limp noodle" routine). I was frustrated and he could tell. Which made him fight me more. It was brutal and draining.
When he woke up 3 hours later (thank you Lord) he was so sweet. The moment I poked my head in his bedroom door he gave me a sheepish smile and said "Momma, I gonna be a nice boy". It broke my heart. I worried that he thought my love was contingent on how he behaved. I hugged him and said "I will love you no matter what kind of boy you are." I told him "Sometimes we get frustrated and angry, but we've just got to get through it.". To which he perked up and said, "Can't go over it! Can't go under it! You gotta go fwewww it!". My heart skipped a beat and I said, "Yes, exactly like in "Going on a Bear Hunt". And even though I've read that book hundreds of times I found a new meaning in its words. Parenting...you can't go over it, you can't go under it...you've got to go through it. There's no easy way out and certainly no chicken exit.
Max cuddled with me in his big chair and we had our first heart-to-heart. We talked about how things make us feel and why we get angry and sad. I kept telling him that mommy loves him forever and always even if she talks louder than she needs to sometimes. And he said "I know momma". The connection I felt with him at that moment felt like a stepping stone to the next level of our mother/son relationship. I will never forget it and how a few sweet, simple words from my toddler gave me a new perspective on parenting.