So, I lost it last night. Lost. It. That bit that keeps our brains intact and rational? It fell out.
I love decorating. I love moving furniture around and seeing who finds a home where. Right now, my bedroom is small. Okay, not small, just too small for me. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of making everything fit. This time it meant moving pieces of furniture to different parts of the house. Items from one room found themselves in another room altogether.
This meant unplugging a tangled mess of electronics.
You can see where this is going. But it’s not getting there how you might think. It didn’t go bad because I’m a woman and can’t understand electronics. Granted, I hate the very word and stay away from all things connected by wire whenever possible. But that was not it.
It went bad because I decided to embrace my inner hippie and show my son that I had confidence in him. Now, how him staring at electronics and Yu-Gi-Yo cards would instill in me confidence in his electronics’ photographing skills, I have no idea… Anyhow, not only have I done this unplugging everything thing before, I’ve perfected it. But I pull out my phone, and instead of taking photos of every connection, inlet and outlet, I hand my phone over to him. I tell him to do it. Here’s a small task that’ll help him build his confidence, I say to myself.
Except all of his pictures are crap. Trash, people. Okay, there’s one decent one among the eight. Eight photos. One decent one.
Then that little bit in my brain fell out and I went nuts. I know what all you softies are saying. Poor kid. He’s was trying. But rest assured, he wasn’t. He rarely does when it comes to manual labor, or anything related to it, like walking. He has, on top of this, a tendency to rush. I warn him against rushing things all the time.
So, the first line out of my mouth is, “You see! This is what happens in the real world! The real world has consequences for sloppiness. Your teachers let you slide because you’re smart and a nice kid. Life doesn’t care about your brains or your feelings. I told you to do a simple thing. Now look at this mess we’re in.”
I ranted and raved. I threatened to throw away the XBOX. I stormed out.* I slammed my bedroom door like a teenager. Not me as a teenager. If I ever slammed a door in my parent’s house, no matter what age, I’d be murdered and buried in the back yard. But I admit that I threw a tantrum and slammed the door like an outraged teenager that is not from my family.
* Now to back track and be clear: it wasn’t his laziness or lack of due diligence that set my nerves ablaze. I was highly annoyed by it, yes. But it was when he said that he ceased to see a problem in that his level of “effort” had created 4 times more work than the careful way would have that my marbles went rooling across the floor. He gave me that blank stare. That ‘I don’t see the problem here’ stare. Was he serious? Yup. I was speechless… at first. And then I couldn’t stop talking. I had to escape outside to regroup because I was getting ready to become a legend.
When I come back inside after staring at the clouds and breathing deeply and wishing for tequila, something has changed. I expect teenage sense of injustice type of remarks, or some coldness. I mean, obviously, I’m the crazy mom now, right? But I see none of that. He seems unnaturally calm and focused. Like he senses he’s taken things too far and almost broke his momma. I say a couple of awkward things; so does he. He makes a good suggestion, and I tell him so. We start working together in a quiet and peaceful way. He seems a little older somehow. I’m kind of weirded out because, well, I was scared of my own self 10 minutes prior, and now my son is resembling a man somewhat. I don’t know exactly why this is happening, but it feels like a scene in a movie I’ve seen before. Something about coming-of-age and parent-child relationships and there’s…
Nevertheless, this situation has solidified in my mind that this kid needs to develop some skills. You need to develop your skills. You need more life skills. I say it and say it, but nothing really happens. Common Sense is just lurking in dark corners watching him, too shy to come out and say hello. Well this ain’t Pleasantville no more kids. This is the hood and I’m about to drag Common Sense out of his corner and force an introduction. Tomorrow we go camping.
I’m gonna let the forest teach him some lessons because I need the forest to take the wheel, Dear Reader. Forest take the wheel.
He’s never been camping before. He’s actually terrified of getting murdered while camping. Don’t be alarmed. It can all be blamed on an unfortunate incident of him watching a crime show he had no business watching. So we aren’t going hardcore camping. There will be other folks in viewing distance. Yes, it’s the punky type of camping, but it’s a step in the right direction. First, get him over the murder fear, then throw him to the wolves, or whatever we’ve got out here in Florida that’ll get his adrenaline pumping.
The boy needs a little appreciation for the comforts he’s been granted. He needs to know what accomplishment without electronics feels like. School be damned. This boy can’t take a proper photo.
We just got back from shopping. It’s chili and water and insect repellent for the next two days. We out, y’all.