I am going to share with you a very tender and personal story that changed my life in an instant. It centers on a beautiful little blue eyed, cotton headed boy, my sweet angel Rylan. I think it is important to mention that Rylan is my number three son; before him came Mac, a sweet, inquisitive, quiet lovely little boy that entertained himself with his brilliant imagination and prior to Mac we had Colton… Our First Born, showered with attention from birth, not to mention toys and clothes alike (he didn’t stand a chance) but all in all he was relatively easy to raise (despite being spoiled rotten). My point is… I was not a new Mommy; although the boys were only four years apart I had been involved with children my entire life; the second oldest of five, camp counselor for years and now my own beautiful family. From the day that little stinker entered my life; I knew God had special plans for him (it was just a feeling, and I didn’t know exactly what it meant).
As the boys grew and we muddled through the day to day of toddlerhood one common theme kept cropping up… Where there was smoke, there was Rylan. He was like herding baby ducks, into everything, picking fights, clowning around, and precarious beyond reason. I grew anxious just gearing up to tackle the days with him, knowing that he did not possess one ounce of peace and calm. Please don’t misunderstand… I adored him, he just brought my job of parenting to an entirely different level than my first two boys; and it was exhausting.
One day in the spring I accompanied Rylan on a third grade field trip to Kentucky Down Under, a wonderful Australian based Zoo and cave exploring trip. We were fresh and ready to enjoy the day; Rylan always LOVED when he had me all to himself! It was a rather long day, we explored the caves, milked the cows, watched the Kangaroo’s and their Joeys play, had a picnic lunch outside, and enjoyed venue after venue of entertaining attractions. The first half of the day was beautiful, Rylan was busting with excitement but managed to contain himself; however, as the day progressed he slowly lost the ability to control his impulses and I found myself physically holding him back, asking him to stop interrupting and pushing his way to the front. The field trip finally ended and we made our way back to the bus and returned home. On the Rylan scale of behavior (1 being horrible 5 being awesome) he was about a 2.5; I could deal with that, but boy I was glad it was over.
Well, just so happened that my husband was out of town on business and Rylan had baseball practice that night. So I shuffled all of the big boys where the needed to go and loaded up Rowdy (number four son) and I accompanied Rylan to his practice; Rowdy could play on the playground, I could watch and Rylan really wanted me there with him. Baseball was just not enough to hold Rylan’s attention, he was either throwing dirt, talking, jumping around but the last thing he was doing was focusing on baseball. As the practice came to a close the Coach had the boys run four or five laps around the bases; it started out okay at first, Rylan ran along just like all the others but by lap three the newness had worn off and Rylan had to find another stimulus to keep him going. He began grabbing at the boys running in front of him, he had turned base running into tag. By the fifth lap he had already knocked down 2 or 3 boys by grabbing them from behind and as he ran into home plate for his final act of boredom he tackled the boy running in front of him~ busted his nose, scratched his face… It was aweful.
As I made my apologies, I grabbed Rylan off the field (trying to maintain my composure); a bubbling volcano was about to erupt inside of me. I had spent the entire day holding him back, redirecting him, correcting his impulsive behavior and this was the last straw… I was finished. The entire drive home was made in silence (afraid of what I might say); he was completely oblivious to the reason I was so angry, all he could say is “Mommy what did I do?” Once home, I sent him directly to his room with instructions to remain on his bed until I get up there to speak to him.
Boy… I was ready! I was really going to let this little 7 year old have it. I was so tired of him being the center of dissension in and out of our home; I was going to lay down the law once and for all. He was going to be the perfectly behaved child or I was going to beat him into submission (figuratively) I was D.O.N.E. done. As I made my way up the stairs (steam pouring from my ears), I had an epiphany, in an instant I had complete clarity and my anger melted into empathy and love; he can’t control himself. He physically cannot control his actions. His young life flashed before me, one transgression after another played out. As I watched in my minds-eye, all I could see was his beautiful smile and laughter as he tackled the boy at home plate, or pushed his way to the front of the line, or interrupted with curiosity; this wasn’t a child full of malice this was a child that needed his Mommy.
I fell to my knees sobbing, how did I miss it? How could I not see what, in an instant, became so obvious? I made my way to Rylan’s room and found him sitting on his bed repeating “I’m Sorry Mommy”; as tears rolled down my cheeks I crawled in his bed and held my beautiful little boy, apologizing to him. We talked about the day and I gently explained what I had just become so keenly aware of, and I promised that I was going to do everything possible to help him control his impulses. I told him, “God has a very special plan for your life, that is why he gave you so much moxie but it is Mommy’s job to help you direct that energy; let’s work together so you can become what God intended.”
Then I went to work… learning everything I could about behavior modification and redirecting ADD without medication (I am not for or against medication, I just believe that behavior modification must be part of the treatment). That was nearly ten years ago, and my beautiful blue eyed, cotton headed boy is almost grown up; and I was right, God does have special plans for him indeed.
On your journey to living The Southern Fried Fitness Lifestyle, do you ever feel like you lack the self-control to really change your life? We may all be older on the outside, but on the inside many of us are still young children that lack the skills necessary to navigate certain situations. Now is when you must nurture yourself; you must be both the young impulsive child and the loving Mother. Now is the time for that young child in you to learn and grow and develop into the adult you know he/she can become. A loving Mother doesn’t get angry when a small child can’t perform a task… they slow down and teach them and praise them and rejoice in all of the small victories, all in an effort to build confidence and self-reliance in their child. Be the best Mommy you can possibly be to yourself; nurture, love, educate and celebrate the adult you are destined to become.
Your Sister in Success!