Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Flaws and Futures

I'm struggling today.

Even though the kids are at school and Adler is enjoying an episode of "Super Why" which gives me approximately 23 minutes to reacquaint myself with a cup of coffee and a quiet house, I'm still feeling that bone-deep stress that only a parent can understand.

For the last month or so, I have felt like I don't even know my boys.  They have been so defiant, argumentative, and often rude that I can no longer excuse their behaviors away.

In short, I love them, but I haven't liked them a lot lately.

And when I say "them", I really mean Cael.

I am trying to choose my words carefully, because he is aware of this blog and I know that a day will come when he wants to read it.  I've always been honest here, and nothing I say will come as a surprise to him because he is whip-smart and quite self-aware, but I also don't want to hurt his feelings in an effort to try to be funny.  So for both our sake's, let's try it this way.

This is Cael.

He is a few weeks away from nine years old, and he's amazing.  But like all of us, he is flawed.

Cael is stubborn, but he is smart.  When he's been told to stop arguing, he can't help but continue because it is important to him to make sure his opinion is heard.  I get that.

When I feel like I have figured out all of his moves, he finds new ways of defying me, but that's probably because he is so creative.  The kid can make something artistic out of almost anything.

When we've had a tough day with one another, I feel exhausted and devoid of energy, but Cael never seems to run out of reserves.  When I think of it, though, I'd rather have an energetic kid than one that has no spark.

I'm a pretty sensitive person, and I try to think of other people's feelings before my own, but that concept eludes Cael.  He can't seem to see or think beyond his own orbit, but he is also only eight.  And my way of thinking often leaves me disappointed... at least Cael is looking out for himself.

I get frustrated with how Cael sees things in such extremes.  If he doesn't like where we are going to dinner, he won't eat.  If Graham won't play a certain game, Cael won't speak to him.  But when he's thirty, maybe that conviction will push him to go for that promotion he's been wanting, or will help him win that court case he's trying.

Lastly, I find that Cael (and the other boys, too, for that matter) save the worst of their behavior for me.  Babysitters and teachers sing their praises, and then when I enter the room, they run wild and lose that respect that should frame their interactions.  But what if they need to "let down" each day?  If their brains need that release, I would certainly rather them do it with me than at school or at church, or when they are older, at work.

So yeah, today I'm struggling.  But I need to remember that for each of their flaws, there is also a strength that I may be helping to create in the men they will become.

And for six more minutes, there's coffee and silence.

1 comment:

  1. This is my son exactly. Okay, he's 6 headed for 7 pretty soon, but you've described him exactly. And I share your frustration and also your hope. Some days I want to lash out in frustration and just shut him down. Just for the silence I so crave. But I will not break my kid's spirit even if some days my own spirit is more than flagging. You've beautifully laid out the positives. And the reality that coffee is what gets us through.


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.