The hardest part about parenting

can sometimes be the really small things, the smoothing out of the little bumps and heart bruises your children get through the course of everyday life.
Today was not an easy one for my children. Cooper, the youngest, tangled with a branch and dog paws and ended up with several nice scratches. The result was he was grumpy and grouchy, and when it came time for him to empty the silverware container of the dishwasher, he was having none of it. He folded his arms and told me he did NOT want to do the “sliverware” because it took toooo long and he was tired of ALWAYS having to do the “sliverware”… well, the usual coaxing and discussion got us nowhere, so I put him in the quiet spot to, well, basically get over himself. This of course brought on some sniffles and tears because when we are a boy, we hate a quiet spot. He was ready within 30 sec to do the detested “sliverware” and soon was all giggles, but I know that for that 30 seconds he felt really lonely and sad and wanted his mommy and there she was making him learn to behave like a civilized being, and help out around the home. I hope his future wife appreciates this. His bump for the day was not getting around mom with tears and big blue eyes.

My middle son had a bigger bruise. His beloved teacher saw a duckling in the road on her way to school. She got out, looked for a nest/parents and could see nothing. So she brought the ducking to school. It was a really little duckling, and I know she knew it might not make it. But she also knew we had a pond and a pair of ducks that might be persuaded to adopt the little thing. So when I arrived at school this am, there she was, with this cute little thing. Well, she and the class bonded to it in the short time they had it. My dear husband arrived at the school at noon to take it home. Unfortunately, we were not able to keep it alive. So when Eli arrived at home this afternoon, his dad had to tell him the duckling had died. At the time he seemed to understand and cope with the news, but later that evening, he lost it all… he cried and was soooo sad and wept because he had not gotten to hold it at school and he would miss it, etc. My heart ached for his heart. We just lost our dear cat, and he was so stoic about that. He told me tonight that was because she was old and in pain and he knew it was the right thing for her. But the duckling should have lived. It was so unfair in his eyes. No amount of hugging and holding could take away all the heart bruising he had, but I sure did try. His bump today was learning that life is sometimes unfair, and moms cannot fix that.

And then my oldest son…well, he is 11, almost 12. Sigh. He is at that phase where everything is an argument, just because his inner body clock tells him to argue. He doesn’t understand why he does it, he just does. His little brother says “Look, I have on shorts and short sleeves today because it will be warm!” and he says “No you don’t”. So of course, little brother argues “YES, I DO have on shorts, see” and he says “Nope, you don’t”… and so on. As a parent, this is a real conflict. All the books tell you this stage is coming. So you feel relieved that yep, right on the dot of half past 11 he learned about sarcasm and arguing. But on the other hand, it is So Annoying So we find ourselves a bit short with him when he really trods on those last nerve fragments. Well, today I was working with another student from his class who incidentally is also going through this stage. (I am tooo tired to do this work. Why are you making me do this now. I used up all my energy on the playing field…argue argue argue. It took more energy to argue with me than to do the problem he eventually conquered!) That student informed me that his teacher had to fuss at my son. Sigh. I totally understand where that teacher was coming from.. but I also hate that my son had to be fussed at. I HATED being fussed at by my teachers.. it was so embarassing, humiliating. Didn’t happen too often, but I remember every time it did. So I relived some of those moments today as I tried to walk in my Zach’s shoes. At home, did I fuss at him for irritating the teacher, or empathize with him about the experience. Well, I did neither, since I work late with students on Tuesdays. I let dear husband handle it, man to man. And that was Zach’s bump..being dragged along that bridge to adulthood, having mom let go.

I hope tomorrow is a better day for all my boys.

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