I had lunch with friends yesterday. It was a gorgeous day, so we sat outside on the restaurant patio and took some time to catch up on each other’s lives. One friend was talking about how things were going smoothly–her kids were happy and all was well. It’s great, she said, but it’s okay when it’s not, because that’s how they grow. It can’t be easy all of the time.
I know she’s right (she usually is), but what I was really thinking, was, Oh please, let it be easy all of the time. I am fine with that. I always tell my son that he can learn as much from failure as he can from success, but success is so much easier on me. My next thought was, it could be easy all of the time if my son would just do what I suggest instead of putting on the “whatever” face.
When my husband and I give my son advice, I count the number of sentences I’m able to get out before his face goes blank. The lights are on but no one is home. He will listen for a few more sentences, until he can find some way to turn the topic onto videogames or football.
I’d like to say that my husband and I take his blank stare as a cue to cut our losses. I would really like to say that. Unfortunately, like most people, our instincts drive us to completely belabor our point until we can’t remember what it was in the first place. I tell my son this is human nature. When someone has a bee in their bonnet it is because their emotional need to be heard and acknowledged goes unanswered. If he’d just prove he got the message, we’d have to let it go.
Either he is very stubborn, or he likes to hear us talk. I’m going with the latter. It makes me feel better.
But just when I think I’ve wasted my breath, he surprises me. He spent the dinner hour giving my husband and I a breakdown of the current football season with a detailed description of the Patriot’s most recent loss. He quoted numbers and stats, and spun their current record with the skill of a political operative.
“It’s actually good that they lost.”
“Really?” This I’ve got to hear.
“Now they know what they are facing. After all Mom, you learn as much from failure as you do from success.”
Not exactly the context I was looking for, but I’ll take it. I guess the Patriots need to ditch Bill Belichick and hire a Mom.
Words by J. B. Everett
Photograph by Robyn Kalda © 2010 Creative Commons