As a parent, there are a lot of times when you just feel like you aren't doing anything right.
At the end of a long summer, when I'm fresh out of ideas on how to spend the eleven hours a day the boys and I have to ourselves, there are days when my patience is short, my words are sharp, and I don't feel like someone that I would want to love and look up to.
But then this little face looks up at me-- and in his big green eyes I see a clear light that tells me that somehow I'm muddling through this all despite myself.
A few months ago, we turned off the television for the boys. It isn't the right decision for every family, and there are plenty of days where it is a very hard one for me to follow through with. But even in the pretty tame world of Nick Jr and PBS Kids, there were some ideas that I wasn't all that comfortable with, words that were not kind, sass and swagger that was just a little bit too much for littles as little as ours. A new Friday ritual evolved-- a trip to the library for books and one 30 minute Scholastic Book on Video, a run to the cupcake shop for a little treat, a hour of snuggling on the couch as a family. It is good-- very good-- and something we all look forward to throughout the week.
So yeah, I still have to watch him pretty closely when my lipstick and ink pens are lying around. But this sweet little man has told us-- again and again-- that there is no such thing as a "bad guy." He doesn't want to play superheros, and he changes the name of every character in a book that is doing something wrong to "my friend the good (fill in the blank). Through the tantrums and the rough patches, there is only room in his heart to believe the best in other people.
And I tell you what; sometimes that's what gets me through the long hours of the late afternoon at the end of a very long week.