I have a special kind of love for Aiden. It’s more than that he’s-my-first-child-and-that-makes-our-bond-special kind of love. We’ve really grown together. We’re growing together. He teaches me about love and life just as much as I attempt to teach him about love and life.
Aiden grinds with me. The kid hustles with me.
I remember taking 1-year-old Aiden to work with me when I couldn’t find a babysitter in time. I remember taking 2-year-old Aiden to Hawaii so that he could serve as the ring bearer for my friends’ wedding. Traveling 12 hours with a 2-year-old, rambunctious kid was, umm, no joke. Then there were the times that I took 3-year-old Aiden to grad school with me because there was no one to babysit. At first, I got the side eye from classmates. But, after the first couple of times, they didn’t mind. Or at least they pretended not to. 4-year-old Aiden sat next to me as I worked against the clock to meet a deadline. Several times.
There’s no doubt about it: we’ve worked! Tirelessly. And he’s done it all with a winning personality, a sense of humor, and a smile on his face.
But… we’ve played too. Hard.
At Disney World. And on a cruise around the Southern Caribbean. In Puerto Rico. And at many events and outings all over NYC.
Aiden’s a very special little boy. And this is not just coming from a he’s-my-first-child-and-that-makes-our-bond-special place. He really is a special little boy.
Our life is far from perfect. But it’s real.
Aiden wasn't home when the horrific domestic violence incidents took place. But he was there for the aftermath. I remember when his other parent finally moved out of the apartment. He took his big screen television first, and I didn't object because I didn't want him to
have an excuse to come back
leave any of his things behind. That day, Aiden and I returned home
from running errands, and a 2-year-old Aiden said, "Hey... where a TV
He's such a cutie.
We went a month-and-a-half without a television after that because I was concentrating on picking up the pieces of my life. And filling it with joy.
I used to wonder (and still do sometimes) if I'm enough for him. If I have the wisdom and grace and patience and critical thinking skills to raise him into a socially competent young man. But then I sit...
...And I watch him.
I watch him play with his toys and re-enact situations that took place the day before or the week before. I watch him interact with others. And I see how rough and competitive and rambunctious he can be. But I also see how kind and generous and sweet he is. I watch him read to me. Or tell me a story with so much detail and expression. I watch him clean up his toys without me prompting him to do so. I watch him correct others who are not doing the right thing.
...And I reflect.
I reflect on his compassion and loveable personality. I reflect on his confidence. I reflect on his ability to learn from his mistakes and I reflect on his resilience. He started a new school this year and, although he's had a few rocky days, he's been holding his own like a true champ. He's smart and quirky and silly and funny.
...And I remember that he's likeable. You'd like him. Aiden turned 5-years-old this week, but I swear, sometimes it feels as though this kid has been here before because he's got an old soul. He makes me proud to be this mother. Seriously, I'm amazed by this kid. Every. Single. Day. He's a rockstar.
...And I listen to him. And he’ll say something like, “Mommy, I super love you,” and that just makes my day.
Back atcha kiddo. Back atcha.