Pull and Push

As I swung my head around, I saw him pull his little brother to the ground.
We locked eyes and he knew it wasn’t going to end well.
But I didn’t yell.
I sent Asa away and spoke gently to him across the room.
They had been fighting over a Lightning McQueen plush toy that he’s had for years.
One that he only plays with when someone else is interested in it.
My “What were you doing?” got only the response of a blank stare.
“You can’t just pull him down.  That hurts.”
“But I wan–”
“I think it’s time to let Asa have it.  You’ve had it a long time and he loves Cars now.”
His eyes just barely begin to well up and blink.blink.blink. three times hard.
“Do you understand me?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he says and blinks a triplet again.
We stare at each other – him trying not to cry, me trying not to let my heart break.
Am I pushing him to grow up?
Maybe a bit.
But we all need a good push every now and then, right?
Even in the moments when I feel like I’m on the right path, I question.
I want to say more, but I’m not sure where to go.
There is really nothing to be said.
The silence fills us both and it pushes a tear right down his cheek.
He rushes to me and collapses into my lap, too big to fit comfortably.
I hold him and drink in his smell, his feel, his everything.
And I hold my tongue.
Tiny beads of sadness glisten on the tips of his eyelashes.
Mothering is hard, I whisper to myself.
But Growing is hard, too.
Cut him some slack, Mama.
He most certainly does it for you.

4 Responses to Pull and Push
  1. Kim
    August 16, 2012 | 10:10 am

    Oh Mama, this is so true. I have had this struggle just this last week. Seth has a doll he got when he was 15 months old. He gave it to Libby 2 years ago for her birthday and now he wants it back. He is 8 and cries about this silly little doll.
    I have been fighting with myself about what to do, how hard do I push him?
    This speaks to my heart so much…

  2. Sherry Carr-Smith
    August 16, 2012 | 2:48 pm

    Sweet boy. Sweet Mommy. Also, thanks for making me all teary. Gah.

  3. CathyMartin
    August 16, 2012 | 6:28 pm

    Mothering IS hard! I love you and pray for you every day!

  4. Weekend Cowgirl
    August 18, 2012 | 4:13 pm

    Stated in such a beautiful way… parenting can be challenging at times, but is the best gift ever.