Monday, April 14, 2014

I've got you

Ben has been difficult lately.  Huge understatement.  After we moved for the second time in a matter of six months I decided that I wasn't going to find a new pre-k for him to attend for half the year and that I would just keep him home and homeschool.  This has been part of our problem.  No break from each other.  I say from each other because I know he enjoys breaks from me just as much.  Throw a pregnancy in there for me, and I know that I'm not making things much better.  I'm irritable and I know it.  Then there's my kid.  He's stubborn.  He's too smart for his own good.  And in lots of ways he's too mature for his own good.  He wants to be independent and that includes making decisions for himself (i.e. he doesn't want me to tell him what to do).  We haven't been the best pair lately, him and I.  He always thinks I'm being mean.  ALWAYS.  When I don't even think I am in the least, he thinks my tone of voice says differently and then he reacts and acts honory because he's upset with me for being mean, and then I get upset because he's always accusing me of being so mean.  It's a vicious cycle.

He has been really unmotivated lately, and my energy level isn't always sufficient to provide motivation for him in addition to accomplishing all my other responsibilities.  So we have drifted into a bit of a rut.  He gets into these kicks where he becomes super motivated to behave better or to work more fervently to accomplish the academic goals we have made to get him kindergarten ready.  But because he is seeking some sort of external reward for these changes, they never last long.  I try to talk to him about true motivation to be good, to do good, and to seek after good and worthy accomplishments must come from within, but I feel like I am failing at this.  Man parenting is rough.  The older he gets the tougher he gets.  I can do the physical part.  I can run our errands, take my kids on fun outings, spend entire days at the park or pool.  But the emotional part; the part where I have to go beyond just getting angry with my child, inflicting a punishment, and simply moving on, to taking the time to correct, redirect, and teach him with love and patience.  Now that's the exhausting part.  But I know in my heart that it is so much more important than anything else.

I had this nightmare about a month ago that I often reflect on.  It's actually been quite hard to shake.  Ben and I were driving in a car on a very windy road next to a body of water.  As I took a turn too sharply I just knew that we weren't going to make the turn and we were headed into the water.  I warned Ben of what was to come and told him to unbuckle his seat belt, hold his breath when we hit the water, and then swim up and find me.  He told me he was scared and I assured him it would be okay.  We hit the water and by some miracle the car we were in didn't have a top and we both easily escaped the vehicle.  Ben was a few feet away from me, struggling to keep a float in the water.  I swam over to him, grabbed him in my arms, and told him I've got you.

Then I woke up.

As I write this way too late at night I'm in tears because not in my memory has a dream had such profound meaning to me.  He and I are on this journey together, and I'm the driver.  I was so mad at myself all day thinking about that dream; because why the hell was I driving so fast.  I had precious cargo in my car and was driving an unfamiliar road with no way to judge how my vehicle would handle the twists and turns.  But I gave myself credit that I recognized that we were in trouble before we were and although I couldn't change the course, I had long enough to brace myself and warn my child of what was to come.  I was able to instruct him what to do and get him to take off his seat belt so he wasn't dragged under.

I woke up before I was sure that we had gotten out of the water, but remembered that the water was calm, and that I had Ben firmly in my arms, and had begun to swim towards shore before waking up.  I'm pretty certain that we made it.  I'm pretty certain that we will make it.  I'm learning how to better handle the twists and turns, and how better to advise and teach my child, and no matter what, no matter how difficult the day, always assure him of my unwavering love for him.  Always making sure that he knows that I've got you.

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