rituals: counting the good (bri amarillas).

Guest post Wednesday, guest post Wednesday!  We’re coming atcha day a late, but that’s okay because Grace-Grace-Grace.  Meanwhile, I’ve got a treat for you.  I’ve got words from one of my mama-friends that were exactly what I needed to hear today.  I’ve got a nightly ritual for you that will melt your heart and make you want to focus on the positive instead of the negative.  I’ve got a story that will make love stir in your bones.  Friends, enjoy Bri’s words today. 

fingers-and-toes

I want my son to know in his bones that he is loved.

Tonight I tucked my crazy three year old into his bed and asked him if I could count his fingers. He said yes and held out his hand with the fingers outstretched and waited.

“I love you because you are a big helper—and you set the table for dinner. I love you because you are growing up so fast—and you washed your hair all by yourself for the very first time today. I love you because you have the best laugh, and I loved chasing you around the kitchen and hearing you giggle. I love you how you gave me a million kisses when I came home today, it made me feel so loved. And I love that you did not fuss at all when we ended that episode of “Jake the Pirate” before it was over so we could have dinner!”

And then I kiss his palm so he can hold onto my love as he falls asleep.

I started counting his fingers a few months ago because, to be honest, being his Mama was draining. He is in the trenches of three, whining and testing boundaries regularly. He is declaring his independence in the most obnoxious ways like announcing he does NOT like macaroni and cheese, even though that was what he requested for dinner and it is literally his favorite food of all time.

He makes me crazy.

One night, I looked at the day and realized that the balance of our interactions was skewed. I was spending more time correcting him than encouraging him. I spent more time feeling exasperated with him than grateful for him. It left us both feeling exhausted. So that night I snuggled up to my little boy and started telling him all the things I loved about him. The list flowed from me with very little effort and I felt the tension of the day melt away. His eyes danced as he heard me talk about him. We were both getting exactly what we needed. I vowed to keep telling him a new list every night.

In order to come up with a list every night, I am paying attention to him more closely. I am remembering the great parts in the day and forgetting the hard parts. I give him more opportunities to be helpful, loving, or silly. Instead of sending him to time-out when he reacts poorly to something, I am giving him more do-overs and chances to respond better—and he usually does. And even on days when he doesn’t he is learning that my love for him is bigger than any of his transgressions. Even on days when he drives me crazy I am reminded how easy it is to list of why I love him.

Some nights when I ask him if he wants me to count his fingers he says “No thanks.” The first time he declined, I was a little offended. I worried that this ritual that means so much to me didn’t resonate with him like I thought it did.

Then the next night he declined again and said, “No thanks. I know.”

BriBri Amarillas lives in the Bay Area with her super-hot husband and crazy son. Her favorite things are coffee dates, good wine, and watching someone talk passionately about something they’re obsessed with. She can be found instagrammin’ and having dance parties in her kitchen to Taylor Swift.  OH MAN. Cara here again.  I’m pretty sure Bri wrote this directly to me alone, and I just happen to share it with the rest of you.  So, how did her story strike your heart-strings today?  

6 thoughts on “rituals: counting the good (bri amarillas).

  1. Oh, this post comes at just the right time for me. I have a boundary testing three year old, but my bigger challenge is my sensitive, tender hearted, stubborn as a bull six year old. I feel like I’m always saying no, and stop, and do this instead of that, and trying (key word) not to yell and tear my hair out in frustration.

    The irony is she is so similar to me so I get it, even as my frustration mounts. Maybe it’s harder to recognize our (perceived) shortcomings in our babies.

    Anyway thank you both for this post! I will be counting fingers for both my kids tonight.

  2. Bri, your night time love time with your son is valuable beyond measure. What a great way to show his who he is in your eyes, and thank you for showing us how it has changed the way you see him and interact with him through the day.

    We’ve raised our kids through being 3 … and 13 … and one of them has now gone past 23. All ages are great.

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