After a day of analyzing over and over whether or not I’m living my place in the world just how I should and of reading all the noise online that alternately inspires me, frightens me, depresses me, thrills me, or sends me into the throes of jealousy from which I have to talk myself out with the rational knowledge that each of us has our own story to live – after all that, or smack dab in the middle of it, there’s nothing like a hug from this guy to make everything make sense again. But still, I stand by my title.
My family will have expected a post like this today, because Parents as Teachers came again. Oy to the Vey. Why does pure sunshine turn to pure stubborn the moment that woman says, “What’s this a picture of?” Why? I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t. Michael was here for moral support and to help with the post-apocalypse lecture. There were tears. And I know we just have to keep enduring the agony and the despair because if we tell that sweet little woman to stop coming and to stop making him participate in life then he will win and he may never participate in any part of life he’s not thrilled about. Right? I mean, I think this is right. But it’s Exhibit A, People. Parenting is hard.
Exhibit B. When I drop Jake off at school, he is the soul of independence. Goodbye, Mom, don’t walk me to the breakfast table, I need to “Hey Guys” my friends and high-five my table-mates and take on the day. Your work is done here. But when I pick him up, and the teacher sees me coming up the sidewalk, she calls his name and releases him through the door, and it’s like I’m the best part of his day. So he runs.
He runs to me. Arms flailing, feet flying, voice yelling my name. It’s awesome. The problem is, he does it DIRECTLY AFTER BEING TOLD, “Now don’t run, Jake. Use your walking feet.”
So I watch every single day as they tell him that, knowing he has every intention of completely ignoring every single word of it, and then he runs to me and I have to decide whether to swoop him up and thank him for running to me and stick my tongue out at the school and spit. Or to scold him for disobeying the order they give – for his safety – and which he definitely knows by heart now.
The truth is, my response varies. Today I scolded – gently, smilingly, attempting to attach to the scolding the subliminal message that I’d rather he run to me than not – and so he cried. He cried pitifully and heartbreakingly so that the teacher herself came out and tried to help him not feel badly anymore. I was still trying to talk him through it when I got him to the car. And you know what he said then? “I can’t walk. I have to run.” To which I said, “I adore that about you, Jake Kenneth.” And parenting is hard.