Monday, March 15, 2010
Love is a Battlefield
Originally uploaded by Heaven`s Gate (John)
Any attempt on my part to indulge in my grief these past couple of days has been quickly quashed by my 11 year old son. As I may have mention previously, my 11 year old has ADHD, and also suffers from a seasonal affective mood disorder. Life with an 11 year old boy is going to have it's rough days, one way or another. Life with my 11 year old becomes a bit more complicated every year during the winter months. So why, as we are entering the season of the beautifully pollinated blossoms of spring time, is he suddenly acting so manic?
I love my son, he is very sweet, very loving, very intelligent, and very talented (that's if you can tolerate the heavy riffs of the classic rockers played on the electric guitar). The flip side of this beautiful child is that he has a temper unlike any other person under this roof. He doesn't seem to have an off switch like the rest of us. No matter how much trouble he is getting himself into, he fights and fights, meaning he digs himself deeper and deeper, irregardless of the consequences. He has always been this way. And although his temper is quite unpleasant, and he challenges every fiber within me in the patients department, this is who he is.
I'm sure that as he matures, he may learn to better express his anger, and find ways to calm himself down. At times he can surprise me with his ability to do just that. He will come to me and say sorry, and ask if we can start over. I always say yes, we can do that, but I cannot just pretend that you were extremely unpleasant for the past half hour or so. As all parents know, the person who our kids seem to turn against the most is the person that also trust the most. Oh goodie! That would be me.
In these past couple of years my 11 year old became very close to Michael, and much closer to me. He has always been the one who can be very expressive with his love, and also the one who needs the most assurance about how we will manage our emotions during these difficult times. I can't help but feel that he is sorting through his own feelings of grief, and he was also very aware of my level of grief this past week. There were many days that he came down to my bedroom to talk about something, and found me in tears. I know this troubles him. For a child, especially latency age boys, it is difficult for them to feel okay expressing their feelings. At the time of puberty, they begin wrestling with their preconceived notions about gender roles, wondering how a boy/young man is supposed to act. My 11 year old is not there yet, but he wants to be there so badly. He is a small guy, and is watching most of his friends begin puberty, and growing very quickly. It is hard being the small guy.
In the case of both of my sons, they appear to be at a crossroad, yet taking very different turns. My older son, 16 years, has a difficult time when other express their emotions, he turns away not knowing how to respond, yet at this time he is also the most stable right now of the three. He has been doing great in school during this past month. I am trying to help him learn how to be around others, and how to be a bit more comfortable with his, and other's emotions. My younger son has always been more comfortable expressing his emotions, and is usually very appropriate in his response to others' emotions. Yet, he appears to be having more and more problems at school. He is having difficulty containing his emotions, and is becoming very reactive in his responses. I think his emotions are currently feeling too big for him, and as he would say, he just freaks out.
In the past, I thought the most difficult transition from child, to adolescent, to young adult, was my daughter. Her emotional responses to life appeared dramatic to me. But then, I'm a man, who grew up with all brothers. What do I know?
In any case, raising the three of them, especially in these months of mourning, and transition, have caused me to feel like I am constantly walking through a minefield. I find that I am so carefully walking through this rough terrain, trying to keep each afloat, and stable, without setting off another. And just like a room full of babies, you get one crying and soon you will have all of them crying. Now, if my boys happen to get wind of this post, let me be clear, I am not saying that they cry. Oh no, god forbid. I am saying that when one explodes, they all do.
Love is a battlefield.