We stood waiting in line for our popcorn and I felt her competitive spirit rising.
Fellow mama, your son is going to be ok. And so is mine.
We had taken a field trip to the downtown popcorn shop. My Louis and I were on an adventure with his mommy-and-me preschool class. Ten toddlers and their moms rode the local city bus to our ultimate destination: savory, gourmet popcorn.
Inside the shop, bins, bags, and buckets of popcorn lined the walls. The smells of cheese and caramel lingered; they pleased our noses and tempted our wallets.
As we waited to purchase our bags of delicious treats, Louis and the other children took to entertaining themselves. Some, in true toddler fashion, touched everything in sight. My son stared intently at every one of the signs and letters in the shop. This led him to begin singing his ABCs.
As he sang the song perfectly that day at the popcorn shop, he gained attention. One mom, who I had not met before, stood and watched Louis in disbelief. She kept looking at my son, then looking back towards her sweet twins.
I sensed the thoughts beginning to form in her mind. I felt her competitive spirit rising.
I decided it was time to strike up a conversation. “How old are your sweet twins?” I asked.
The mom didn’t move her eyes away from my child, but she responded that they were 22 months old.
After a few long seconds, she asked how old Louis was. I told her that he had turned two in June, so (at the time) he was 27 months old.
“How long has he known his alphabet?”
By this point, Louis had begun labeling the letters on each of the popcorn tins.
“And how long has he been doing THAT?”
I felt my cheeks flush with slight embarrassment as I told her that he was identifying all of his uppercase letters by 19 or 20 months. He had mastered the song at just 18 months.
The mother stood dumbfounded in that downtown popcorn shop. She hesitated for a beat before saying, “And I thought it was a big deal that my twenty-month-old son was counting to three!”
At this moment, I knew I had to correct this fellow mama’s thinking.
“It is a big deal that your son is counting to three,” I responded enthusiastically.
This mother spoke with the wavering voice of insecurity and said, “But he doesn’t know any of his letters.”
I shrugged my shoulders and said, “That’s ok. Letters are something that interested Louis, so I taught them to him. The fact that your son can’t sing the ABCs doesn’t make you a bad mom. It doesn’t make him any less either.”
I decided to level with my new mama friend: “Our kids all learn at different rates and in different ways. And that’s ok. Your son is on target and developing just fine! I can tell you are his biggest cheerleader.
“He is obviously loved. And because of that fact, let me tell you something — your son is going to be ok. And for the same reason — so is mine.”
Mamas, just as I reminded my new friend in the gourmet popcorn shop, I want to remind you today:
Your child is loved. And because of that fact, your child is going to be ok. And so is mine.
Maybe your baby isn’t rolling over yet, or your kindergartener is struggling to read. Maybe math homework is a nightly struggle or your high schooler cannot seem to memorize anything.
Maybe your toddler is reading and your first grader can do long division. Maybe your child eats through a feeding tube or walks with an assistive device. Maybe you’re frustrated with potty training, or maybe your child will never be able to be potty trained.
It doesn’t matter. Don’t you see?
Your child is loved. You care for him so much. You’ll do anything to help him and encourage his progress. You are his biggest cheerleader.
Your child is going to be ok. And so is mine.
Our children may develop differently. They may learn in completely different ways. They may be unique in their methods or contrasting in their behaviors. It does not matter.
Because he is loved, your child is going to be ok. And so is mine.
Our children are loved. They are adored. Within safe boundaries, they are learning about the world around them. They’re taking in every sight and smell they experience. They’re exploring and growing. They’re stretching and changing. New things constantly come to them, and we help them adapt.
Some of our children will grow up to become teachers. Some will be veterinarians. Some will lead major corporations while some will clean the corporate offices. Some of our kids will never leave home and some will take jobs overseas.
Our kids are all very different, but it does not matter.
Our kids are all loved. And because of that, your child is going to be ok. And so is mine.