Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Life's Lesson

I know my Life's Lesson.

It should be etched on my brain because I keep forgetting it, and that act of forgetting triggers some cosmic event that makes me remember it over and over again. This weekend it was an event with my son J that whacked me back into alignment. The thromping always hurts, and not less each time, like you might suppose would happen, considering that I replay the lesson again and again.

It all started on Friday night. The whole family went to a dinner in honor of one of LSU's best alumni fundraisers-- a dear friend and the children's surrogate grandfather. I was proud of all of us for showing up, despite having to meet a report deadline that night, in R's case; despite no babysitter and little grandchildren in attendance, in D & B's case; and despite it taking up a chunk of a Friday night, in J's case.

So, there I was basking in the glow of my priorities-in-alignment-family when J and I began to hyperfocus on each other. He thought I was moving too fast, and talking too loud, and I thought he seemed a little too pulled apart, at loose ends; discombobulated. I'm like Pavlov's Dog. Once I see what I think are signs of a lack of focus, I start drilling him on his life. How's school? Is he going to class? Is he studying? How are his grades? Should he be going to that outdoor concert, on Spring Break, out later? This despite him getting great grades last semester, and "A"cing all of his tests last week.

This makes him talk louder, move quicker and back away. The last text I received from him before bed was, "there is always some sort of miscommunication between us."


And even if these great academic accomplishments were lacking, I mean, really, is it my nagging that is going to steer him on the right course? I think not.

So, what's my Life's Lesson?

My lesson is the pain I inflict on myself and my loved ones when I try to control them. It's not like I want to keep J -- or anyone else for that matter -- from having fun. Really. It's just that I don't want him to do anything that would make him experience something bad. So: go to class everyday; do your homework; get enough sleep; don't overdo it; find a nice girl; Then you won't: get bad grades; drop your classes; flunk out of school; lose your scholarship; be arrested; get hurt.

You think this is normal for a mother, don't you? Well, I did too until I realized -- over and over again unfortunately -- that if he doesn't experience these "bad" things, or others like them for himself he won't be able to learn the life skills to be able to achieve the very things I want for him.

It's not when will he ever learn?

It's when will I ever learn?

I am so dense.

It's not the things I want for him.

It's the things he wants for himself.

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