Written by Girl Birthday Gift
Luke quickly ran from one tree to another, soaking up the salty air and sunshine as we waited for Matt to bring our slices of pizza to the picnic table. I prepped everything for lunch and called to Luke to come sit down. He didn't acknowledge me.
"Luke. It's time for lunch. I need you to come sit down, please."
This time he looked up at me, gave me a playful grin, and kept running from tree to tree. And now the aggravation began to set in on my end.
"Lucas Rodriguez! I mean it. Get over here and sit down," I sternly said to him. I walked toward him, preparing to wrangle his body in my arms, when he stiffly held up his little palm to me and calmly replied, "Be patient, Mom."
It felt as if the wisdom and zen powers of a thousand gurus had whacked me straight in between the eyes. Wasn't he the one who should be screaming and reacting irrationally? I mean, that is the M.O. of toddlers, if I am not mistaken. I can tell you I was definitely not expecting such a self-aware and profound response to be uttered from the lips of my not even three-year-old. Like, AT ALL. But his simple command worked. My frustration diffused and I responded with a tranquil, "Okay, Luke. I am being patient. I would really like for you to come sit down by Wesley and me and get ready for lunch."
And so he did. And that was that.
Obviously I had to tell Matt what happened once he walked back with our lunch. We chuckled about yet another hilarious and humbling experience our children put us through. I wondered to myself, Where did Luke pick up that saying? And then it occurred to me that I regularly tell him to "be patient." Whether he is aggravated by Wes pulling apart his train tracks or he can't quite get a puzzle piece to fit, the saying is always "be patient."
Huh, I thought. He's actually learning from me. A parental success in the books!
Truly, though. This was a huge win and boost for me as a mother. Most days I wonder if Luke and Wes are gleaning any of the information Matt and I are attempting to relay to them. Like, are we actually impacting them and teaching them how to be decent human beings, or is it all rolling through their heads like balls of fluff? I know they are still so little, but I think everything counts from day one.
It just goes to show that leading by example is the best way we can parent. I can stand on my soapbox and give long-winded soliloquies about how to behave and treat others. But that ain't going to do jack crap if I act like a self-important, bossy jerk. Plain and simple.
Luke taught me a valuable lesson that day as we walked around downtown San Clemente. Now I am more consciously focusing on choosing my words wisely and keeping a positive attitude around my boys. It's not always easy, and I have plenty of days where I fail miserably, but the point is that I am trying, and that my boys genuinely make me a better person.
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