I've always had this thing with Ayden, where if he gets physically hurt, like, truly slams his fingers in a cupboard or cuts his knees in gravel, I get tears in my eyes because I empathize with his pain so thoroughly.
It doesn't happen if I am overtired, distracted, or cranky, but most of the time it happens.
It doesn't happen with Matthew.
Until this weekend! Brent shut the car door on Matthew's fingers and he screamed and cried, and I saw it immediately from the other side of the car. Tears immediately sprang to my eyes and I felt full, total, deep empathy for him in that moment. I was so surprised and happy to feel it for him that it made me cry more!
I have always felt empathy for him when he gets hurt, it's just that it was generally complicated by guilt. He's crying, he's sad or hurt, it is my fault for failing him somehow, I feel bad that he is hurt, if I were a better mother I would have intercepted it and if I were a better mother I would DEFinitely feel deeper empathy for him in this moment, it's all about me, me, me! Guilt is so selfish.
I attribute this new development to:
I'm winning my war with f*ing Stu
(by forgiving myself for not being a perfect mother to Matthew)
Matthew and I are closer than ever
I feel like a better mother with him than ever before
positive feedback loop parenting Riley spills over into my other family relationships