Once upon a time, I thought I was a practically perfect mother. My evidence for this belief was the quiet, sweet, well-behaved little girl who regularly brought me compliments from other parents. I was foolish enough to believe that she was so good because I was a fine mother.
From the beginning, nothing about Wild Child was easy. Impatient little person that he was, he arrived a week before due date and half an hour ahead of the doctor.
Each year brought challenges. I quickly adopted a new slogan: “I used to have child rearing theories, but now I have Ben.” He was brilliant, creative, highly verbal, intense, and above all, ACTIVE. Everything I swore my child would never do, Wild Child did.
Now I know how blessed I was to have this amazing kid. He humbled me, taught me to question assumptions, and helped me learn to assert myself, thanks to some interesting parent-teacher conferences where I felt forced to defend him. I became more compassionate toward other parents and more accepting of children who were different. Because of him, I became a better teacher and a better parent to all of my children. The bottom line: Loving him made me a better person, and I am grateful.