“Just as the tides have their rhythms, so does human behavior have its own predictable rhythms. As the child grows older, “good” ages alternate with “bad”; times of equilibrium alternate with times of disequilibrium; and periods when behavior tends to be expansive and outgoing alternate with periods when everything seems to be pulled in.” ~Louise Bates Ames, author of Your Three-Year-Old
I first read these words when my son was a toddler and immediately experienced truth and relief. A friend with twin sons advised me before my son was born, suggesting that when things got sticky and hard, to remember: “It’s just a phase.” Words and advice like this have helped keep me sane during my parenting life.
Yet, a couple of weeks ago in a seemingly minor interaction with my son, he gave me the STINK-EYE.
My mind raced: What had I done? Is he ok? What’s wrong? Now there’s proof that I’m the world’s-worst-mother!
A couple of days went by, my mind continuing to spin on the incident. Then I remembered Ms. Bates Ames' words and my friend’s advice.
Oh yeah. There really is nothing wrong here.
Developmentally, the stink-eye and hurtful body language were perfectly appropriate. He is a teen after all. Looking at it that way, it was easy to see that his reaction was right on target. No need to take it personally or worry about the state of our relationship.
But there’s more to this. The idea that there’s nothing wrong has become much bigger for me than the stages of human development.
I’ve learned repeatedly that no matter what logic you apply to or remove from the things that happen, the way you feel, the place you’re at, or the failures you have, there will always be nothing wrong here.
With our kids, partners, friends, or enemies.
This concept can be a hard one to fully integrate. Especially considering the many difficult things happening in the world. Though the idea deeply resonates, I often trip over looking for what’s wrong and how to fix it. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this.
I’m getting better at staying in the nothing’s wrong here space. Yet, I continue to pivot between looking for what’s wrong and believing that All is Well. Yin and Yang. In and out. Up and down. Sometimes both at once.
Here’s what I know for sure: When things happen in life occur to me as wrong, I’m stuck. My creativity is gone. I lose my power.
It’s more difficult to access love in those moments.
I’ve found that when I remember that nothing is wrong here, I have many more resources available to solve things that come up in life. To support my child and others. Possibility, freedom, and love are available in those moments.