I’ve been getting a lot of emails from readers asking for parenting advice and I honestly don’t feel it is my place to give anyone parenting advice. I’m a firm believer in not giving or taking too much advice about how to raise children, I actually covered that here. What I do feel comfortable with is sharing with y’all the lessons I’ve learned while raising my sons from the people in my life, my experiences and even my sons. It isn’t advice but I do hope that you get something from reading this post. ::gets to it::
Exactly twelve years ago I took a ski vacation with, Mr. B, in South Lake Tahoe. We had a lot of laughs as I attempted to learn how to ski, at dinner and watching the most horrible hotel porn. Our first son was conceived during that laughter filled vacation and a few short weeks later I would take a pregnancy test and then, Mr. B, and I would burst out with hysterical laughter and joy when he asked, “What do two lines mean?” We were both twenty-two and we both knew that we were not really ready to be parents but we decided that we would take on this great responsibility because choosing to abort a fetus wasn’t something we thought married people did. We moved forward as a couple yet we moved ahead with different emotions and levels of readiness. During my pregnancy and my son’s first years of life I learned a very important lesson about raising boys from watching, Mr. B’s relationship with his mother.
In order to learn how to love boys need their mother’s love!
When I found out that I was pregnant I wanted more than anything for my child’s father to become closer to his parents. I knew his father had been absent for most of his life, so fixing that relationship would be nearly impossible, but I would still try. In my heart though, I just
knew assumed that the only reason why, Mr. B, wasn’t close to his mother had to be his fault. There was just no way that his biological mother that had raised him could be 98% emotionally distant from him. Yet, the more I tried to prove my theory wrong the more that experience would show that in fact, they were two people that had spent eighteen years together but were complete strangers to one another.
There was no love, no affection, and no bond between them which caused every attempt that I forced him to make to create one to be an absolute stunning failure. I didn’t understand how a woman could have so much apathy towards a life she had created. It hurt my core to see how this hurt him so much although he would deny it to the end. I spent the first four years of my oldest son’s life trying my hardest to repair this relationship and of course I ended up with egg on my face for it. Isn’t that always the case though when you try to force something that isn’t and will never be?
The man that I loved wasn’t very good at showing emotions, being affectionate or accepting love.
My own father has never told me that he loves me yet I know for a fact that my father loves me with all his heart and would give his life to save mine. I told myself that maybe some men just aren’t very good at talking about their emotions. I figured he was like Daddy but when the going got tough instead of picking up my pieces like Daddy always had my love would shut down emotionally. It felt like I was constantly climbing a brick wall while carrying our son to reach his heart. I constantly asked him why he seemed to have so much apathy towards everyone including my son and I. He didn’t have any answers for me but boy was our son an expert climber.
From the minute DI arrived he would show us how he expected us to parent and love him. DI didn’t know that his father wasn’t very good at showing love but he knew that the sun, moon and stars rose in his Daddy’s eyes. He was two years old when he said something to me that almost broke my heart but in an instant got DI over the wall around Mr. B’s heart.
Mommy, I LOVE you as big as one of those big huge trucks. You know Mommy the ones with eighteen wheels…but…Daddy…I LOOOOVE Daddy like the size of the sky!
Mr. B’s first son’s love for him would bring out in him all the love and affection a man could have for his child. He learned how to show affection towards his son but displaying it towards me was still difficult. I kept loving him regardless and I kept trying to get him to be closer to his mom. I knew that we were making progress because when the going got tough now he didn’t completely shut down because he knew his son needed him to be there emotionally for him. The going got extremely tough for us when we were trying to make our move to his home state a permanent one. Mr. B suggested that we turn to his mother for help with our tough situation. I didn’t think it was a bad idea at all. I thought finally here is an opportunity for her to take an action that actually shows him that she in fact loves him and can be there for him emotionally when he needs her.
We asked her for the favor. She denied us. It was more important to her to make sure that her third husband was happy than her son. Her son’s face showed how disappointed he was in his mother…again. I was okay with her not helping us because by this point I was beginning to understand the lack of relationship between her and her son. I was okay with it until she said something to me that set me off. In an instant she set me off and I said to her every hurtful thing I knew that her son wished he could have said to her as a child. I threw in her face every grave mistake she had made with him. I told her that if she wasn’t happy with the man he had become it was her own fault. I proclaimed that everything would in fact be OKAY because he and his son had me.
It was wrong of me to curse out his mother but in that moment he understood that I was capable of great emotion when anyone hurt him. I don’t recommend cursing out a man’s mother to try and get closer to him but it was in that moment that Mr. B let down a huge chunk of the wall around his heart for me. After that day he began to talk to me about his emotions and was more capable of showing them. Slowly over many years he has begun to trust and accept my unconditional love for him. In many ways I picked up where his mother had stopped parenting him. I helped him work on becoming the man he wanted to be for his sons. No matter what happens between us I am committed to always being there for him so that he can be a better father. He also is very committed to making sure that I can mother our sons in the best way I see fit.
What did I learn from this lesson?
- I learned to always make room for my sons to talk about their emotions and have their emotional moments. It is just as okay for boys to cry as it is for them to express their anger.
- I learned that it was important for my sons to know that they are worthy of being loved.
- I learned that for boys to know how to love people in return they should be encouraged to have empathy, be sweet and caring towards others.
I also learned that just because a man didn’t have his mother’s love it doesn’t mean that he can’t truly love someone or that he can’t be a great father…it might just take some extra work to get there. If loving with all your heart comes easy to you then eventually you’ll get over the wall around his heart…being able to read his mind, being in absolute tune with his wants/needs and knowing him like the back of your hand will greatly help this cause. ::smiles at Mr. B::
© Anaín Bjorkquist February 21, 2011 ~ All Rights Reserved.