Dear Son: I Often Find It Hard to Relate to You…I'm Sorry and Thank You for That

Dear Son,

I’m biased, I know. But women…well, we’re awesome. From our multi-tasking superpowers to our total immunity to the ‘man flu’, I think we’re pretty darn rad. Not to mention, all the other xx features like our foresight and planning, execution, communication skills…and the ability to grow a human being right within our own bodies… we come pretty fully equipped.

Like I said…I’m biased, I know.

But truth be told, I didn’t walk through life with a strong awareness of the difference between the sexes. I never tied my own abilities to my gender. I just assumed we are all more or less the same. 

But as I watch you grow, I sometimes find it hard to relate to you and I'm sorry for my shortcomings. But while some serious apologies are in order, so are the thank-you’s.

I’m sorry that I find it maddening watching you try to get anything done. Homework time and you can’t resist squishing that pink eraser right there. Stare at your paper… 182 minus 23…. Squish…squish, squish. Squish. Meanwhile I’m acutely aware of the seconds ticking past. Tick…squish, tick, tick, squish….and all I can see in superzoom is those chubby, little fingers grasping a soft, pink eraser and 182 minus 23 is still there.

I’m sorry I’m on edge watching you clean up your room….pick up one toy at a time and put it away. A minifigure battle comes next. Bam, slam…damn, why can’t you just get it done?

I’m sorry I just can’t understand why three step commands are beyond your capabilities. It is possible to grab your hoodie, put on your shoes, and leave the house without forgetting your backpack in 30 seconds or less. I’m sorry for all that but…thank you.

Thank you for reminding me daily to take it slow. That there’s nothing like a minifigure battle to break up the monotony of clean up time. That it’s important to stop and enjoy the little things…whether it’s smelling the roses for some, or squishing a little, pink eraser for you. Because if I’m perfectly honest here, I do have that very same memory from my own childhood buried under a pile of to-do’s. So….sorry and thank you for that.

I’m sorry but your verbal skills really need some work. How was your day? And I get a one-word answer. Let’s talk about what you thought about the movie, anything beyond ‘it was good’ and you draw a blank. Forget about talking about feelings. Who did you play with today? ‘The usual,’ you say. I know you have the words for just about everything. So I’m sorry but I don’t understand why you’re so stingy in sharing them. But then I remember how on the first day of school, your hand always slips into mine. You’re nervous. The way your sweat-streaked face shines when we run through the park. You’re having the best time ever. How you fall into me on Fridays after school. It’s been a long week. And the way you lean on me on movie night. You love me loads. I’m sorry that I wish we could be more chatty but I’ve learned to listen to you more powerfully than words. So….I’m sorry and thank you for that.

I’m sorry I really don’t get your imaginative play. Why does everything have to be a fight to the death?? Why is every stick a weapon? Your room looks like a battlefield, a graveyard of decapitated and dismembered toys. I’m sorry I don’t understand why you don’t spend your time inventing stories that are beautiful….little worlds where everyone gets along. Kitties and unicorns and rainbows and all that. Maybe candy for everyone. Your games just seem so violent and aggressive. But then, in every one of them, good always wins. And there’s no unicorn more beautiful than that. Mea culpa. My bad. I’m sorry and thank you for that.

I’m sorry I don’t understand why you can’t sit still and…I don’t know, color. Let it occupy you for an hour and a half. You can spend more than 90 seconds on it. Seriously, you can. I’m sorry but I really don’t get why you’re constantly running off to the next big thing. Mud pies, aliens hunts, catch a lizard, chase a cat, and pretend you’re a wizard and it’s not even breakfast time yet. Can’t you just calm the F down? But then you grab my hand and take me along with you. I feel your excitement over every single little thing. The birds sing louder, the world looks brighter, and it’s pulsing with some fast-paced molecular magic. And for a moment, I feel like a thrill-seeker myself. So….I’m sorry and thank you for that.

I’m sorry but I know you have an ear on each side of your head. So why is it so hard for you to listen? You’re playing and you don’t hear me. You’re reading and I don’t get a response. Hello? Are you in there? But I see how absorbed you are in your present, so thoroughly enjoying the moment at hand. And I realize that your ability to shut everything else out is actually a skill….a skill I need to work on. So I’m sorry and thank you for that.

I’m sorry but I don’t understand why you can’t cross a threshold without trying to jump up and touch its frame. Until I see elation splashed across your face like you just earned a trophy. So as much as it drives me crazy…yes, try and try again. Your commitment is everything. I’m sorry and thank you for that.

I’m sorry but I don’t get how you can be so unaware about what’s going on with other people. ‘How’s Jimmy doing since his parents split up?’ I ask. ‘What did Isaiah do over summer vacation?’ ‘How does Tad feel about going to a new school?’ You have no clue about any of it. Instead, you enjoy them for who they are, in the moment. Playing and laughing and having a blast. You don’t get tangled up in loads of complexities and there’s no drama with you at all. So I’m sorry and I thank you for that.

I’m sorry but I don’t understand how you can stand your own messes. There’s a place for everything in our home. But you just pile things up all over. Some drawings here and toys in a corner. But then, I see that you go back to it….pick up right where you left off. And I realize that the game…the drawing…that LEGO clutter just needed some finishing touches. Maybe they’ll never be finished at all. Because life is a work in progress and there are some definite gems in the mess. So sorry and thank you for that.

You’ve given me so many lessons. And I grow as I watch you grow. I’m also a work in progress and…I’m sorry but I thank you for that.

Tags : confessions   boys   

No Comments.