I felt frazzled today as I pulled on my lycra, getting ready for the gym. I was running late to meet Lauren and had just come from the most bizarre writing workshop at my college. I had talked on the phone to my dad on the way home and he sounded sad, and I felt a million worries and stressors, both others and my own, bearing down on me. I couldn’t wait for my workout as I needed an outlet, and I wasn’t finding it in my messy bedroom as I scrambled to find gym clothes.
Alistair came lumbering in, a three year old in my tennis shoes. I said, “Oh, wow, what are YOU wearing?”, thinking I need those shoes now; I’m running late.
“These are my GIANT shoes!” he said, and I quickly grabbed a pair of my loafers and said, “Here, these can be your giant shoes.”
He wasn’t convinced.
“Erm, they can be your DRAGON shoes?” I tried, and quickly made the switch before he could protest. I wasn’t really paying attention to him, even though he’d come into my room to see me.
“Why are you going to the gym?” he asked, as he does whenever he sees me put on workout clothing. He’s in a ‘Why?’ stage and I love it most of the time.
“Er, to workout.”
“So I can get my exercise.”
I was pulling on my top at this point, shoving one foot in a confiscated shoe.
Ugh, I thought. I hate life this afternoon. I don’t know the answer to any WHYs at the moment.
“Because I’m FAT and I need to lose weight,” I said briskly, knowing it wasn’t the answer I should give a three year-old but beyond caring.
“Mommy,” Alistair replied earnestly from his perch on the bed. “You’re not fat, you’re perfect!!”
I turned to look at him.
There sat my little son, so innocent and sincere, desperate to chat with me, and barely able to walk in my tennis shoes, so tiny are his feet.
I went and gave him the biggest hug.
I felt a rush of pure love, on both our parts.
But I left the house feeling guilty about not being present for him.
And I thought about my shoes as I started the car. I want to leave him big shoes to fill, in the figurative sense. I want to be the best example he has. I’m sure most parents do.
I thought about his comforting words.
I grew up always comforting my parents. I chose to do that; it’s just in my nature.
But I don’t want Alistair to grow up thinking he has to be a little adult all the time.
I want his worries to be as tiny as his feet. Right now, I just want him to be…three.
I learned an important lesson today, and I still got in an hour at the gym.
Alistair may be the only human who thinks I’m perfect, and that’s okay.
We can’t be perfect. We can only be the best versions of ourselves, and that is my goal.
Each day is another chance to give it a try.