Raising an 8-year-old boy can be hard sometimes. Friday morning in our house was a prime example. Isaac and I both ended up in tears on the way to school, Matt was up early and grumpy from having to intervene, and the "I hate (insert parental moniker here)" was thrown out for the first time ever. All around it was a pretty horrible morning.
We made it through the school and work day and met up back at home in better moods than we had left, but then had to go our separate ways again for football practice and other commitments. I was drained and all I really wanted to do was spend some time repairing my bond with Isaac and relaxing with Matt so we could reassure each other that we weren't the worst parents in history.
Before we left school Friday afternoon, I put Oh No, Little Dragon by Jim Averbeck in my bag. It seemed like something Isaac and I needed to read together. It is a picture book and not on Isaac's reading level, but reading it with him wasn't about moving him up to the next level. It was about reminding both of us that I love him no matter what -- even if the "what" is a kicking the seat, hitting the headrest, screaming at the top of his lungs tantrum on the way to school.
Little Dragon loses his spark and fears his mother won't love him anymore. I am not sure if Isaac worried that I didn't love him. I wondered how he felt about me, though, in the middle of the catastrophe that was our Friday morning. But Little Dragon's mother reassures him that her love is always with him, which warms him up inside and reignites his spark.
Before Isaac went to class on Friday, I hugged him and told him I loved him. He hugged me back and we both held on a little longer than usual. After football practice that evening, the boys made me pumpkin cupcakes for my birthday and we sat down and watched a movie together. It didn't erase what had happened that morning, but it was an affirmation that we are a family -- we will fight, we will forgive, we will cry and laugh, and we will love each other no matter what.