Adjustment

Mar 29 2011

Everyone’s safely home.

I have brought the littlest ones back from the beach.  Greg, Ian, and Abby made their triumphant return from Mexico.

After 10 days apart — days when we missed each other terribly — everyone’s back to irritating the heck out of each other.

My 11-year-old son, Ian, is having a timeout in his room yelling, “My mom is SO BOSSY!  Ahhh!  My mom is SO BOSSY!  Why?  Oh, why?!  WHY is my mom SO BOSSY?”

I don’t know, sweet darling child.

I don’t know why I’m so bossy.

I know you’re right, though.

Right on the money.  I remember my mama telling me so when I was 8 years old and I was busy perfecting my bossy technique on my younger brother.

Ian, I guess it’s your special blessing in life to have such a bossy mom.  It’s my pleasure to be your provider.  Your dealer.  Your bossy-ness life-blood.  Yes, indeed — I’m here for all your bossing needs.

As my son shouts his woes to the sky, I hearken back to the time Ian was 4.  That’s when we began to realize the extent of his special needs, as Ian was essentially non-verbal if you discount a constant repetition of “Eesh.  Eesh.  Eesh.”

I despaired.  I stressed.  I said things to my husband I’d like to take back.

I ate.

I begged God to help my son.  I begged God to help me.

I pleaded for patience and understanding.  I felt very alone.

I concluded I bond most deeply with children once they start talking.  Which made me freak out.

Did I say I freaked out?

Because I freaked out.  Freaky Freakish Freakazoid FREAKED OUT.

Slowly, Ian started to talk.  “No” was his first word.

Actually, “no” may have been all of my kids’ first word.  A portent of things to come.  And perhaps a teeny, tiny bit of their mother in them.

Ian’s 11 now, and he speaks at a low 4-year-old level.  The BEST part of that sentence?  He SPEAKS.

Like he’s speaking right now.  In his room.  At high, high volume.

Poor, tantrum-throwing kid.  His efforts are backfiring, even as he puts extra umph into his bossy accusations.  I know I should just be super, duper, extra irritated that he’s yelling his little heart out.  I think that’s part of the point of all the yelling.

I mean, don’t misunderstand.  His Majestic Attitudeness doesn’t thrill me at this exact moment.  I feel a discernible bloom of irritation in my gut, just under my breast bone, rippling in spirals through the rest of my torso.  (Is that unusual?)

But, oh, Child.  The speech.

The speaking.  The talking.  The verbal expressing.

If someone would’ve told me 7 years ago that my Ian would be having a timeout in his room yelling, “My mom is SO BOSSY!  Ahhh!  My mom is SO BOSSY!  Why?  Oh, why?!  WHY is my mom SO BOSSY?”… I would’ve kissed them out of gratitude for the hope.

Big or small — major or minor — adjustments are hard.

Sometimes, my kids need attitude adjustments to remember that their mama is worthy of respect and kindness.

Sometimes, their mama needs an attitude adjustment to remember to live into gratitude.