I don’t have a title for this one

22 Oct

Ever trying to be a voice of reason. Choosing stocks for our retirement portfolio like Spock, as one is supposed to. Spock used to be my nickname, due to a habit I had of underfunctioning in the emotional expression department when others seem to be going over the top. I’d go all logical and try to work things out that way. I’ve learned that that just drives upset people nuts, and leaves my own emotions not dealt with–exhausting.

In other reasonable efforts, I’m trying to help with sibling conflicts related to one driving and picking up another on time or not, messes in said car, how much should one expect and give in a relationship of duty and dependence? As I offer suggestions to one and then the other, I realize my lack of good example has not been helpful. I say, give more than you feel like giving, when you have a chance to show love, make someone feel taken care of, do it, rather than constantly hashing out minimum expectations and boundaries, taking offense, feeling put upon. As for myself, I am so intent on cutting down on carbon dioxide emissions that I don’t do those little extra dropoffs and pickups that could be a way of showing maternal love, going the extra mile. Offers of walking down the hill to meet my child, or biking together to the bus stop, not received the same way. Offers to fix lunches often turned down on the grounds that I don’t use the right foods. Still, there’s always the nightly opportunity to give back rubs to one sore kid or another, and now and then to type out or proofread a paper.

In the long, quiet hours of the day I try to catch up on house cleaning, which I hate (except laundry), and soon gravitate to refinishing cabinets and furniture (creates a finished product, unlike housework). Satisfying to work the sander out in the wind, see the grain emerge, brush on the finish. Then some writing–not much I can think of blogging about, but I’m researching the issues around the Common Core State Standards and testing, getting the No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top timelines nailed down, identifying the players, formulating a letter of response, waiting for my copy of A Chronicle of Echoes by Mercedes Schneider (review here). Gotta channel Spock in that work too, as it’s pretty alarming stuff. If it gets too gnarly I get back to woodworking, or go dig up some weeds, wash the mud off the pumpkins, look for the last strawberries.

Then it’s off to take my daughter to the horse barn, and back to pick up my son from track and field. He’s down, really down, exhausted, he says, from running three miles, but of more concern, says he’s a weirdo, crazy, not normal like everyone else, hates life. He said similar things when I picked him up two days ago. I want to encourage him–I know he is different, does have some habits others make fun of, but I want him to know that’s okay, he doesn’t have to  be like anyone else. Or, does he want to try to be like those people? Yes! He tries, he says. But no, he doesn’t really want to be like them. I start to ask him what in particular has happened, he says he doesn’t want to talk about it any more. At home I fix him hot chocolate, he turns on an audiobook, plays some piano, all calm and cheerful apparently moved on. I come by in a quiet moment, tell him to remember his home, his friends, remember the people who love his personality and uniqueness. I tell him that if he’s around kids who aren’t kind, who don’t appreciate him as he is, he shouldn’t share anything special with them–save it for the people he trusts, who will understand. He says he will.

I want him to get through this, learn from these difficulties, but I don’t want him to be wounded. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, sometimes, but it can also kill you. The desire to homeschool again comes–would that be the right thing to do? But I’m working now, maybe I shouldn’t consider it, maybe I won’t bring it up with my husband. Those days are gone, aren’t they? Yet his siblings were all homeschooled at his age, and in some ways he makes a great homeschool kid–loves to learn, experiment, write, read, make videos, and I sure could challenge him more in the math department. He’d get back to memorizing poetry, which he loves, could set up a business, which he’s now too busy to do, and we still have tons of good curriculum.  Truth is, I’m not sure I’m up for it. Do I have the energy, the willingness to put off my daytime goals and projects? There’s so much that Spock can’t answer for me here.



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3 responses to “I don’t have a title for this one

  1. jdawgsrunningblog

    October 23, 2014 at 5:20 am

    here’s to a double-dare–to write from the subconscious—that is to experiment with not knowing what you ‘want to write about’—and just allow the words to come to you—accidentally, as if they were tripping over stones you placed in their way—so eager they were to be knocking on your door.

  2. LeRoy Pick

    October 23, 2014 at 6:47 am

    Sounds to me like the title to this one is “A day in the Life of …” complete with various forms of the usual trials and tribulations of parenthood.

    I can relate. Little miss storm-cloud (my youngest) had some semi-bad news – not really bad, but bad to her – yesterday, which threw everyone off kilter while she was stamping about. Once investigated, it turned out to be a false alarm as the bad news was just a mistake made in some personal handouts. To some extent that makes it worse since all that emotional turmoil turned out to be without a reasonable cause and if she’d just swallowed her dismay for a few hours until the bad news could have been confirmed then the rest of us wouldn’t have been caught in the backlash.

    It’s incredibly hard trying to figure out when you need to jump in to help or defend your offspring and when to stand back and let them win one for themselves. What doesn’t kill you does make you stronger; I can certainly vouch for that. Unfortunately, some wounds will never heal. I have emotional and physical injuries and scars that go back decades, and the emotional ones are always lurking in the darkest corners of your mind, waiting to jump out and attack you when your defenses are down. I want to minimize the number of those episodes that my kids will have to deal with in the future, but I can’t be hovering over them all the time so they have learn how to cope and stand on their own as well.

    • toesinthedirt

      October 23, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Thanks for that. It’s good to all be in this together, and learn from each others’ experiences.


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