Sorry Forest; life’s not like a box of chocolates. It’s more a binary game of balance that proves for every win, there’s a loss.
We had a great roast last night. We had friends around; newish friends that we don’t know terribly well and it was the perfect night to throw a casual night dinner into the mix and spend a little time with them and their family. It was arguably easy going (as much as 6 children can be easygoing) and thoroughly enjoyable.
But then later, after doing said dinner dishes and fighting intensely with the small people to get them ready for school and into bed. I told my eldest that I’d had enough (of him)and that really, this whole parenting thing was way less satisfying than I had hoped it would be.
What a great thing to insert deeply into your child’s mind before they fall asleep, . . into what should be, the innocent land of nod. A land without parental insufficiency and baggage. Where all parents are consistently kind, patient and deal with their own inadequacy and feelings of disappointment separately, at psychiatrists on the East side.
So when I got up at at 4.30am this morning to fit in exercise in before I went to work, I wrote him a message. I explained that I too, struggled with asking him all the time to fit in the things he needed to fit in. I felt like every day was a struggle to get homework done, exercise completed and sometimes, just to get dinner eaten in a reasonable time frame under an hour.
I reasoned that I too, yearned for time with him where I wasn’t yelling and telling all the time. That we needed (and deserved) time together to enjoy one another.
So I proposed an idea. How about we do all the things we needed to do between Monday and Saturday, and left Sundays as sacred days? Let’s get all our homework and chores and must-dos . . done by Saturday. Let’s agree not to hassle each other on Sunday . . . but just to be.
Now I understand that an eleven year’s old idea of heaven does not even remotely understand or encapsulate the idea of “just being”, that’s an old person’s yearning. But surely an eleven year old’s idea of heaven understands and yearns for a day where their mother isn’t telling them they’re breaking her heart and rendering her idea of parenthood deeply unsatisfying. Just taking a punt on that.
So I send the message.
Me: Did you get my message?
Son : Ps. I hate writing on this old iPad at school. Can I get a new one?
And that’s it. That is the response to my heartfelt reaching out for forgiveness and connection. You see, I’m processing what’s happened and the complexity I feel . . and addressing it as a forty something woman with both regret and resolve.
He is a fiercely loved eleven year old boy whose mum sometimes yells too much. And he wants a new iPad.
End of thought.