But, of course, they were too excited to listen and took off again. So I got up, marched around the corner and found them in the backyard running around and laughing. I grabbed both of their arms and pulled them close to me. With tears in my eyes, I said, “Why won’t you listen to me? Why? Why won’t you obey?” They both sat there staring at me in silence until my 5-year-old looked up at me and quietly said, “We just wanted to catch the bugs.”
I took a deep breath. Then I gave him a hug. That small little moment taught me a great deal about my son. He wasn’t trying to be naughty or to disobey, although he probably could work on listening. He just saw some bugs flying around and thought it would be fun to try and catch some — the end. His innocent, simple thinking was a reminder to me of how I needed to relax. I’m busy hurrying them along, trying to get from one activity to the next while they’re busy simply enjoying life. Climbing rocks. Talking to their bears. Playing cars. Catching bugs.
Meeker’s book has been such a positive, reassuring read, a humbling reminder of how important I am as a mother to my children.
“If you are upset with your son, he wants to make up (he may not show it, but he does) because you are the center of his small world," she writes. "He needs you to like him again. You. No one else. Because once you are happy with him, he can go about his business and life will feel good again. That is the power that you have, and that power comes from the fact that in this one child’s life — your child’s life — who you are matters as much as life itself. You are loved.”
When I think of myself the way my children think of me, my confidence and self-worth skyrocket. It suddenly doesn’t matter who else hears me sing or watches me perform or listens to me speak. They — my children — matter. They need me.
And oh, how I need them!
Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News.
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