Dobson on appreciating Moms
May 1, 2011 Leave a comment
You may have noticed that this book is dedicated to my beloved son, Ryan. This little lad is now three years old, and he is a certified, card-carrying toddler. He has every single characteristic described in the textbooks as being typical for children between eighteen and forty months of age. During this dynamic period of life, emotional enthusiasm and excitement are supposed to bubble forth from some inexhaustible wellspring of energy, and so it has been with Ryan. In fact, the very day he turned eighteen months of age, it was as though a little voice whispered in his ear, “Now, kid, now!” Ryan began running that afternoon and he’s still moving at maximum velocity. He isn’t a malicious child and he rarely defies authority in a blatant manner. But he is enormously curious and he gets into everything. If it is humanly possible, Ryan can be expected to spill it, break it, disassemble it, spread it, or render it inoperable. Trying to get him to be still and quiet is like nailing Jell-O to a tree: it’s impossible! And, of course, his personal safety teeters on the brink of disaster from moment to moment. In fact, it is necessary for an emotionally stable adult to follow Ryan around all day, just to keep him from killing himself! Occasionally that responsibility falls to me.
I was at home alone with Ryan one morning when I suddenly realized that it had been approximately two minutes since my little explorer had made any noise. (When one babysits with Ryan, silence is definitely not golden.) I immediately began looking for him, searching each room of the house, but he was not to be found. Finally, I glanced through the kitchen window and saw that Ryan had managed to crawl into the back of a truck which some builders had parked in our driveway. The bed of the truck was taller than Ryan’s head, and it is still a mystery as to how he climbed so high. When I found him, he was trying desperately to get down. He was hanging off the back of the truck from his waist downward, yet his feet were still suspended twelve to fifteen inches above the ground. Seeing that he was going to fall, I slipped up behind him without him hearing me coming and placed my hands outward to catch him when he fell. But as I drew nearer, I heard him talking to himself. He was not crying. He didn’t complain or scream in terror. He was simply probing empty space with one foot and saying softly, “Somebody help the boy! Won’t somebody come help the boy?” His words characterized his way of life, for “helping the boy” has become a full-time job for Ryan’s loving mother and me.
Shortly after the truck-bed experience, little Ryan let me see another side of his sparkling personality. My wife, Shirley, broke her leg while skiing, thereby granting me the chance to do her thing for a few weeks. I learned a great deal during that time about the color of grass on the other side of the fence: it not only wasn’t any greener . . . it wasn’t even edible! The very first morning that I was on the job, Ryan began teaching me the rules to the game called motherhood. He awakened me with a loud cry at 6 a.m. Being jarred from a deep, dreamy sleep, I staggered from my bed and began feeling my way across the house toward Ryan’s room. All this time he was crying at the top of his lungs. (That sound has much the same effect on the nerves as fingernails scratching a chalkboard.) When I reached his door and pushed it open, the crying suddenly stopped and a cheery little voice said, “Is breakfast ready?” I said, “I’m doing the best I can, Ryan!”
So I went into the kitchen to fix the kid something palatable to eat, but was still at least 80 percent asleep. I stood there staring into the cabinets with unfocused eyes, hoping something quick and simple would tumble out. Meanwhile, Ryan had climbed down from his bed and followed me into the kitchen. He tried repeatedly to engage me in conversation—which was the last thing on earth that his sleepy father wanted or needed at that moment.
He was saying, “Are we having bacon?”
and “Why isn’t the milk poured?”
and “Is it almost ready?”
But I was ignoring his inquiries. He must have asked me a dozen questions, all of which went unanswered. Then I “tuned in” just in time to hear him sigh and say, “I’m getting so tired of you!”
So what’s a mother to do, folks? I don’t know! I went back and reread my book Dare to Discipline but it didn’t say anything about handling the pre-sunrise activities of an ambitious toddler. I told my wife if she would just come back to work I would rise up and call her blessed each day, as I sit among the elders in the gates.1 In fact, I could hardly wait to sit among the elders in the gates again. Through these brief forays into the responsibilities of motherhood and from the experience gained in counseling women, I have developed a deep appreciation for the unique skills required of wives and mothers. In my view, their job is of utmost importance to the health and vitality of our society, and I regret the lack of respect and status given to today’s homemaker.
–What Wives Wish their Husbands Knew About Women (James C. Dobson)- Highlight Loc. 54-94 | Added on Wednesday, February 09, 2011, 06:07 PM