Throughout our days with four and a half year old Lucien, we are just as likely to be redirecting a storm of aggressive limbs and biting teeth as we are to be swept up by his expansive joy in life and heartfelt regard for everyone around him. On the difficult days, it’s easy to fall into a kind of assembly-line-style-parenting: just get it done so we can start again tomorrow.
And then he tenderly asks if he can help (in the kitchen, always in the kitchen) and the word “No” flashes across the screen in my head. When I take a deep breath and say yes, the connection I find heals all the moments of mutual frustration. Not just yes to the spilled flour and egg shells in the batter, the pancake flipped halfway off the griddle, but yes to the path we are walking with him. Aggression and tenderness. Joy and teeth marks. Heart force and restlessness. Without judgement, only compassion, and saying yes to his little limitless life.