Aiden — age three and a half — was scooping flour from the 25 pound bag into the flour canister. I go through a lot of flour when I make sourdough bread a couple times a week.
Aiden loves to do this job and wants to fill the canister any time it gets low. (‘Good initiative’ we say.)
He barely spills any flour. He worked carefully at it while I kneaded a batch of dough.
“That’s good work you’re doing”, I complimented him.
He replied seriously, “Yes, I’m am doing good work.”
I smiled at his confidence.
I feel guilty sometimes. I’m bipolar and there is a chance I have passed on some of my problems. Luke and family have good tooth enamel and good mental health (really crooked teeth though). I feel like my genetic legacy is cavities, good facial structure, and mental illness. But I’m so much more than my genetic legacy alone. I’m a loving mother who is intent on learning. I can look for signs and get help early and teach them coping techniques and learn coping techniques myself. I can explain that sometimes, if I get upset, it isn’t them, it’s that mommy has bipolar and her feelings don’t match what happens sometimes.
I don’t have to pass on all my problems.
So when he replied to my compliment with the calm acknowledgment that it was so, I smiled even more because, while I may not be able to keep him from mental illness or even a nasty inner voice, I can make sure the mean voice doesn’t sound like his Mom.
And I can give him plenty of ammo of truth to use against it.
You are a kind, hardworking boy, my Aiden, and you are so very loved.