Him and I have been hounding Mini-Him. That's the word for it. Hounding...
It didn't seem that way initially...and we were so certain of our parental insight, that we took away a whole bunch of things that he loves, unconsciously forgot our usual endearments for him, and really, made the almighty "grade" the sole focus of our collective existence.
He is a good kid, and with a touch of ADD, his days can be slightly challenging. He has nearly always had straight A's. His problem lies in the ability to listen and follow directions. Unless you were to observe it first hand, you would not know exactly how difficult a task this is for Mini-Him. You can see his eyes glaze over the minute instructions are issued...you can see the fidget in his bones, his eyes looking for another focus...and when you finally say, "Repeat what I just said..."
the panicked guilt cross his face.
Then comes the mistimed chatter. He almost always has something interesting to say. Only, the timing is off. It could be in the middle of someone's conversation, in the middle of a prayer meet, or just when he has been asked to be quiet. He used to be on meds for a few things and I am convinced that they left traces of themselves behind in a restless Mini-Him.
And yet, on remorse filled weekend mornings of the past few weeks, I wonder what exactly we are doing to him. As I watch him sleep, utter innocence and peace on his face, I wonder why I cannot give him this. This sense of peace, and complete acceptance.
I've been trying very hard, with an alternately upset and sad Him, to understand what drives us to drive him this way. Is it because his ill-timed comments reflect on our parenting? Or perhaps his grades reflect on the collective IQ of our collective families? Or his intolerance for any kind of "serious" conveys some special dead beat status? What is it that bothers us so?
He is certainly different from the kids that Him and I were. And he has been through so much more than us. For all of this, he is a large hearted boy. And he never fails to stand up for me. Ever. Why can I not do the same for him? Show him that I love him and accept him?
I do want him to blend seamlessly into society. I don't want him to suffer from rough edges that will cause judgemental others to push him to the periphery. I most desperately want him to be able to hold a non controversial conversation intelligently, and handle controversy with grace. And yet, I don't know if we are all that well equipped. I guess I am saying, to my shock, that I don't want him to stand out.
Perhaps I don't want him to stand out in a bad way. But who am I to choose? And force? He is not me. Or his Dad.
He is quite simply, only himself.
His grades, his behavior, his choices of conversation, his motivation etc are a function of his thoughts and feelings. And so it seems that my boy is not feeling too good. And his thoughts and mine are far apart.
He has a special delight in little things, and an awe of achievement, fast cars (only Lamborghinis, no other manufacturers need apply), space and physics, good food, wonderful music, basketball and although he is 12, Curious George.
He dislikes having to work at anything that he creates....he writes very deep poetry, and refuses to accept that anything could be expressed differently (and why I would try to change something like that is a matter for another post potentially titled "helicopter mom"), he sketches scenery and does not want instruction on depth and perception, and writes lovely essays that he will not rearrange to improve flow.
And did I mention that he is allergic to direction?
But he accepts me does he not? I still get asked what flavor I would like when he goes to the local ice cream shop with Him. He will still ask me if I want a bit if his favorite Lays Chile-Limon on the rare occasions that he gets treated to it. And he still opens up to me. I get to hear about every single thing that goes on in his little life. This could be about half an hour after he has been yelled at for something legit I'm sure.
I'm trying to back off now. I think he is going to set his own trajectory that has nothing to do with me. And the more I try to reset it, and direct him and his future, the harder things are going to get.
That's just it...I need to back off. My little poet/artist/wannabe astrophysicist musician is going to have to figure things out on his own. He can continue to spill his guts to me in the mean while.
*Image - "Holding Hands Represents Paint Colors and Bonding" by Stuart Miles through www.freedigitalphotos.net