By Guest Blogger Lisa Brookman
The other day, I found my son Ethan in my closet. When I asked him what he was doing, he looked at me and said, ”Mom it’s time to clean up in here. You have such nice things but it’s so messy that you can’t find anything.”
I’m embarrassed to admit he was right. For the next two hours Ethan diligently organized my mess. The end result was breathtaking.
Ethan is my 10 year-old middle child. He was born on a cold spring day in 2003. From the minute I looked into his eyes, I knew he was special.
Ethan’s not a “man’s man.” He’s soft-spoken, creative, warm, demonstrative and sensitive.
He’s not rugged or tough and he doesn’t excel at sports. He is extraordinarily artistic with an amazing flare for fashion and design.
In his free time, he’s not interested in playing Xbox or shooting hoops in the driveway. He’d much prefer to reconfigure our backyard space, set our dining room table with elite sophistication or organize my kitchen’s spice drawer.
He’s not a sweatshirt and sweatpants kind of kid. He rocks colored denim, button downs and Converse with style.
While some boys get a thrill from watching hockey during the playoffs, Ethan prefers snuggling on the sofa with a bowl of gummy worms watching cooking shows.
While some boys are consumed with competition and winning, Ethan is a giver; an old soul. He is very aware of others’ feelings to a fault, often sacrificing his own needs.
He’s not a typical 5th grader. He’s unique – and I think he’s amazing.
No one shows enthusiasm like Ethan. He’s always willing to lend a helping hand. He gives bear hugs accompanied by warm, sloppy kisses and a pat on the back. He wakes up with a smile and conquers the day with enthusiasm and gusto. He doesn’t just put his stuff away, he reorganizes the entire family room!
Ethan truly embraces life to its fullest. His energy makes me smile. His passion makes me feel energized. His warmth makes me feel loved.
Having Ethan as a son has made me a better mom. He challenges me to look at things with intensity, joy and acceptance. He pushes me to embrace uniqueness and not care about the judgment or scrutiny of others. He pushes me to be a leader and pave the way for differences to be the norm and not the exception.
Sometimes I worry about the people who won’t understand or appreciate him: The kids who may be mean or bully him, or make him feel any less than the very sweet, creative, loving human being he is. The adults who will try to break his spirit or make him tougher. But instead of wasting my time on the unknown and what ifs, I prefer to enjoy today with pride and appreciate my son for the amazing man I know he is destined to become.
About Lisa Brookman
Lisa Brookman is a clinical social worker with 18 years experience working with adults and adolescents who have faced a range of complex challenges. She is the founder and co-director of the West Island Therapy Centre, a Montreal based clinic offering psychological services to children, teens and adults.
Lisa is also the co-creator and chief wise woman at Wise Women Montreal – a women’s lifestyle blog.
Lisa is married to her husband a clinical psychologist, and is most notably, a mom of three amazing kids, a self-proclaimed home décor guru and an aspiring Master Chef contestant.
I am honored to be a fellow Montreal mom blogger with Lisa. The beauty of Lisa’s post shines so bright, and is so profound in so many ways. It makes me truly question societal norms – why is the image of the perfect little boy the “jock,” or the perfect little girl the “ballerina?” Our differences are what make us shine and add value to society. I always felt different growing up as a little girl – I wasn’t quiet, submissive or passive. I had big opinions, big dreams, big passions, but spent many of my teen years trying to be “quiet,” because I didn’t think these traits were lady-like. When I embraced my true authentic self (which wasn’t until I started my first company at age 24), the world opened up for me. I think this post has something to teach us all.
Happy Canada Day my fellow Canadians!
Please feel free to leave Lisa a comment below. She will be reading.