J has come a long, long way. There’s no arguing that point. I see it every day, and I can attest to the fact that leaps and bounds are the measure for his progress.
That, however, doesn’t mean he’s not human, and it certainly doesn’t mean he won’t try to get his way if he thinks it’s possible. But, heaven help me, I am the mother and I get to call some of the shots around here. Not too many shots because I respect the fact that he can choose like any ol’ Tom, Dick or Harry. I do, however, take out my thick marker and draw the random line here…or there…or maybe over there…
Many years ago, when Dada and I were choosing to make our lives OUR LIFE, we agreed that it was crucial (as we embarked in co-parenting these extraordinary children of ours) to not forget what it was like to be whatever age they were at any given point. So, very often, the urge to punt a child over a balcony translated to “I remember being nine, and THAT thrilled about Christmas morning,” or “I remember being sixteen and wanting my license SO BAD!!!!” With J, of course, the game is a little more complex…
We have in our midst a 21 year-old with a fully-grown body, and the sliding-scale emotional age that is par for the course in his situation. He can be tremendously cool about some things, and he can be five and on a sugar high about others. When the 21 year-old body (with the goatee and the deep voice) reacts with the thought process of a five year-old, well, it can be interesting.
J gets overexcited about things. He hasn’t yet figured out how to react. Sometimes, when he’s extremely happy, he goes into SIB, and all the while he is telling you how happy he is, and how much he loves you. The strategy is now to control the SIB until I can get him to sit down and focus on telling us how he feels, and why.
This sounds a lot easier than it is. We are, after all, also human, and we get frustrated with the brief spats that arise when J is overstimulated with something we’ve yet to identify. But we’re getting there. We’re figuring it out.
J has realized that school is about to start. Anywhere you go there are reminders of the school year that is about to start, and we know he understands that it doesn’t include him. That there would be a hint of nostalgia, some regret, a tinge of oh-man-why-not-me, and a definite undercurrent of “crap, I’m stuck at home” is totally understandable. We know that is playing a part in the minor eruptions that take place from time to time.
The calendar is, for the first time since 1999, completely bare of school-related notes. The only thing highlighted are the home-game Saturdays for WVU, and the days when parades and other activities might snarl traffic beyond all manageable proportions. Friday is move-in day…we’re doing our grocery shopping/Friday outing today. A) The store shelves won’t be bare, and B) we won’t have to deal with crowds.
My dad was a ham radio operator. I remember sitting next to him as he gently turned the dials on all his equipment, seeking the signal he needed, wanted. Sometimes the slightest movement would make him lose that signal, and he’d patiently go back and lean forward to listen for a voice (garbled though it might be,) or a bit of Morse code. Even when I couldn’t make out what was being said, he would smile and feel satisfied that that was as good as it would get, and it was what he needed at the time, and he’d jump in and participate in whatever conversation was going on…
I’m taking that lesson and I’m running with it. I turn the dial gently, and I listen carefully, leaning forward to get a better idea of what is happening. I do the best with the signal I get, and I jump in and do what needs to be done.
Every single day.