On one particularly sad day several months ago, long after both boys were put to bed, I thought it safe to have myself a good cry. As I cried in pathetic fashion, face pressed into the Berber carpet, my eldest came in to check on things. I asked him to go back to bed, telling him that even Mom's have to fall apart sometimes. He left and returned again several minutes later, curling up beside me and wrapping me in his thin arms, saying, "Even Mom's need someone to hold them when they cry." I cried a while longer, then he said, "Mom, you have been a pansy all your life. Pansies are beautiful flowers. They are amazing. They can weather rains and snows, sleet and hail. You can step on a pansy and it just goes on blooming. But Mom, maybe it's time for you to be a rose. A rose is one of the most beautiful flowers and it smells wonderful, but it has thorns and if you step on a rose, you will bleed, it will literally TEAR UP YOUR FEET."
Now that's one profound eleven year old.
So I'm learning how to be a rose, sort of, a little at a time. Now, when I set strong boundaries, Owen will occasionally smile at me and say, "Good mom you're growing thorns".