I am fortunate enough to be a Mum to 2 boys who are currently 7 and 9 years old. Our 9 year old is growing up FAST. He is independent and resilient and does not give up. He is a perfectionist AND he doesn’t need me in the way that he used to.
I can see that I’m now the annoying Mum who nags at him about tidying his room and listening to me the first tie I ask him to do something … you know all the usual stuff. Don't get me wrong we have a really wonderful relationship it's just my experience of seeing our relationship change as he develops.
I was, however, worried that his independence would continue to carry him away from me and that tugged on the heart strings a little.
Freddie has inherited something from me .... terrible bed head hair bed in the mornings. It wasn't a problem for him until more recently as he loves to look smart and takes pride in his appearance. No matter how he tried he couldn’t get his bed hair it under control in the mornings. This is when I stepped in. I offered to help and whilst I gently wet down and brushed his hair we shared a moment together. One where I showed him by my actions that I understood it was important to him for his hair to look good. I showed him I cared about something that is important to him ..... and something shifted between us.
We now do this every morning, and for 2 minutes each morning we each others undivided attention. It is calm and gentle and it has brought us even closer.
As humans we desire connection and we want to be seen and understood. Freddie knows in that moment he has my full attention and I am totally present in that moment.
Now you may be wondering what this has got to do with the title of this The Cheerio Moments.
I had been talking to Dave (my husband) about how I felt Freddie and I were even closer since I’d been helping him with his hair in the morning. But I couldn’t quite articulate what changed and what it meant.
Later that day I was listening to Oprah's new book ‘What Happened to You’ which is about trauma and healing and a lot to do with childhood trauma. In it Oprah talks about an interview she did with a young girl who had lost her mother. Oprah asked the girl what her best memory was of her Mother. Even though as a family they had been on many adventures the moment that girl recollected was about a time she and her mother went downstairs at 2am and ate cheerios.
In all we do for our children, the grand gestures, the big holidays it is actually in the small moments, the cheerio moments that our children understand their relationship with us and grow the deep bonds.
Freddie knows by the tenderness and attention I give to him when brushing his hair in the mornings that I ‘see him.’
It was as Oprah describes it “an every day intimate moment.”
Yes, I love being able to create the big memories and the holidays with our children and they remember them with great happiness, the times they really understand my love for them is in the every day cheerio moments.
Even with all the work and study that I have done over the years I didn’t get this until now. I knew that I was aware that my new daily routine with Freddie had improved our relationship I hadn’t really explored why.
Listening to Oprah was the light bulb moment and now I get it.
I am now focused on the small moments in each day that I share with my family. Those are the moments where they will feel my love for them.