On a recent Sunday, my husband, son, and I headed to a friend’s house under the guise of watching football. Let’s be honest: gone, at least temporarily, are the days of actually sitting back, relaxing, and watching an uninterrupted game. Rather, we found ourselves pulling out bins of toys, running around outside, and trying to make sure the dog wasn’t being pestered too much by two preschool-aged children.
While the guys went outside, I stayed inside with my friend and her daughter. During that time we played games, actual games, such as Uno, Don’t Break the Ice, and Connect 4 while the loud sounds of raucous play from below filtered up through the open windows. As I apologized for the very real possibility that noise ordinances were being broken, I realized we had been peacefully playing games for over 30 minutes.
When I asked my friend how she managed this feat of wonder, she said her daughter just naturally gravitates towards playing board games, putting together puzzles, and working at her craft station. Oh, how blissful that sounded!
For a brief moment, I wondered what it would be like to have a different child.
What if I had a child who actually wanted to play board games instead of immediately engaging the game’s plastic figures in a battle royale?
What if I had a child who placed all of his stuffed animals on his shelf rather than finding them strewn all over the house day after day?
What if I had a child who sat peacefully in a reading nook looking through his books rather than flinging them to the side and asking to play “Zurg,” a made-up game of good guys versus bad guys?
I truly wondered if I would be a better mom, a more patient mom, and a more fun mom to someone who’s more like me.
And then I thought of all I would be missing out on.
The early morning ritual of my door being flung open accompanied by the high-pitched squeals of “Good morning Mommy!” followed by the explanation of some adventure he’d already gotten into with daddy.
The walks we go on when he can’t quell his excitement and has to run over to inspect whatever catches his eye on the sidewalk no matter how dirty or messy it may be.
The pure unadulterated joy he gets from knocking down towers and watching them go “crash” and wanting to do it over and over again.
There are times when I feel so frustrated since our personalities seem to counter each other in so many ways.
And then I see the beauty of our differences and how we balance and learn from each other.
I’m a stickler for order, and he loves to be spontaneous which leads to impromptu dance parties as we clean the house.
I’m a rule follower, and he likes to see how far he can bend them, which results in 10 recipe-perfect muffins created by me and two interesting tasty muffins created by him.
I avoid messes at all costs, and he dives headfirst into it, which results in the compromise of backyard water fights where he feels like he’s being messy while I’m secretly happy the plants are getting watered.
So even though there are moments I may wish for some calm in what seems to be a never-ending toddler tornado, I wouldn’t change a thing.
God knew that while I had a lot to give, I also had a lot to learn—as a mother and a person.
He gave me a son who would test me, challenge me, and ultimately make me a better individual.
Besides, who wants to sit inside playing board games all day when there is a whole world out there to dig into!