Today you ate a ton of carrots for dinner. Vegetables of any variety have not really been your forte up to this point. But tonight you ate the five steamed baby carrots I put on your plate. (I often half-heartedly attempt such things, knowing you kids will undoubtedly refuse it, and I will most likely use this as leverage to get you to eat the rest of your meal) After a few little treats I allowed you for good behavior, you then asked for more carrots! You ate the rest of the bowl!
Because your sister and brother would put up a one hour fuss about the eating of carrots, (actually Little Man ended up weaseling out of it due to lack of time, as bedtime trumps mealtime squabbles) I was sapped of energy and all I could do was lounge on the couch and watch the rest of Four Weddings while playing Candy Crush simultaneously. You were so proud about your accomplishment, but I was too tired to give it its due justice. I am sorry, honey. You deserved so much more praise than I gave you. Tonight, in the hour before I head off to bed myself, I am realizing this. You got the short end of the stick. You just sat on the couch with me watching some unimportant tv show. I should have scooped you up and lavished my time and attention on you. Squirt, I have noticed how hard you have been trying to listen and obey instructions. Yet I always seem to fall short when it comes to letting you know just how proud I am, and how happy it makes me when you scurry off to your room and get dressed for bed in a timely fashion.
Dangit. I am just so sorry, sweetheart. It is painful to admit that I have been too preoccupied in the day-to-day hum-drum to make you feel special. I'm sure I told myself that if I praised you too much about the carrots that it would only further poke at your siblings, who were most certainly not eating their carrots. I am sure Bunny at least would have taken up her fuss a notch to tears. But that shouldn't matter, it shouldn't be the sole deciding factor. (not that I'm saying hurting your sister's feelings a bit is something I am ok with) You deserved a lot more than my feigned enthusiasm from behind the screen of my phone. I apologize for any and all times I have neglected my chance at building you up and focusing on positive behavior. That is a crappy thing to do, especially as a parent. I am just so sorry that you got a very imperfect person as your mother. I want to believe that tomorrow I can pull you aside and give you a little portion of the praise you earned. I want to believe I can take this learning experience filled with deep sorrowful remorse and turn it into a better and more effective way of parenting. However, I am not perfect, and depending on the way the sun rises, I have no idea what kind of mood and/or day I have ahead of me tomorrow.
At some point I hope you can look back on this and know that I loved you dearly. That I did notice you eating all the carrots. That I am so proud of you, I think it might permeate every fiber in my being. That, some days I am just moody and exhausted; And that covers all the joy I have like a thick wet blanket. I hope you can see through all my shortcomings to the genuine love I have for you at my creamy caramel center. Also, by the time you get around to reading this, I hope we have hovercraft technology. Because sheesh, I was promised hovercrafts in "the future."