When Little Guy was 2½, he fell in love with a car transporter that carried 2 race cars. He latched on to it in the store and carried it around with him as we browsed the toy aisle. I kept putting it back on the shelf, and he kept picking it up again. I debated about buying any toys, let alone this one that cost “just a little bit more”…but he had been given some money the last time his grandparents visited, so when I asked him which toy he’d like to take home (giving him a choice between the truck and another car), he smiled up at me and said “ki ki” (thank you). He lovingly picked up the box and carried it all the way to the cashier, grinning from ear to ear and still saying “ki ki”. He cried when the cashier took it to scan it. We even took time to sit on a bench to open the box and I managed to pry one of the cars out. The truck was screwed to the cardboard through 2 deep plastic cones.
When we got home, he patiently and confidently sat on his little chair, with his winter coat and boots still on, holding the truck (which was still screwed to the box) because he just knew “Mama fic”! This Mama was beside herself trying to get it fixed – I tore the house apart looking for tools of any description that could set this truck free. After so much joy, I couldn’t bear to disappoint him. I triumphed that day but it was an intense 10 minutes.
For the longest time, this Mama has been able to fix things with ice packs, hugs, and band-aids. Lately, fixes have also included notes or phone calls to teachers about missed milk cartons, stolen money, and “mud puddle bully” incidents. I can still get through tough levels in video games and pry apart stubborn mini Lego pieces, but it’s usually dumb luck. When I can’t fix it, I can distract him with dizzying negotiations. I can be the queen of compromise. But it’s getting harder…
It’s getting harder, and that makes me sad because I want to be the one who always “saves the day” and protects my kids from disappointments and heartaches. But it can’t always be that way! At some point, if I have done my job right as a parent, I will have to let them make their own mistakes and waffle through it. Big Guy learned a long time ago that Mama can’t always “fix” it – things like crunched cars and expired drivers’ licenses. I am proud of the fact that he is learning to fix his mistakes and solve his problems on his own. I still like that he calls sometimes for “advice” – how to treat a strained back or where to find lemon meringue pie in the grocery store. Just because he has moved away from home, doesn’t mean that my job is completely finished! He can trust me – that even if I can’t always “fix” it, I can still listen, offer advice, encourage, and most importantly, love him – whether it’s a broken car or a broken heart.
I’m looking forward to the day when my boys’ have their own kids who believe, like Little Guy that day with his truck, that Daddy can “fic it”! It’s a wonderful feeling!