I try to be my “best self” online, but sometimes that just seems too Pollyanna. Then again, I am a “glass half full” kind of girl. All this to say that I really haven’t put it “out there” about all the struggles we’ve been having lately with a certain 13 year old boy whose first initial is E.
But I’ve certainly put it “out there” verbally, confiding in my co-workers, girlfriends and a marathon session with my Womenade friends last Tuesday. Every time I say something about E “turning 13 and his head spinning around” I feel a little twinge of regret. My mother-in-law insists that there is “power in words” and that, somehow, if I speak it, it will be. But then there is the part of me that thinks, if I don’t tell anyone what is going on, who will pray for us and just generally cheer me on and up?
But I digress . . .
I’ve got a laundry list of things that are going on with E that I do not love, but when I compare that with the much BIGGER issues that close friends are dealing with, I simply want to scream at myself to quit whining. He’s a teenager. This is normal. We’ll make it through. He’s going to be an AMAZING man.
So anyway, I had this marathon session of swapping stories and getting advice from the Womenade ladies on Tuesday, then on Wednesday after LOGOs a lady at church comes up and tells me that E has told her about his issues and she is here for me, for him, whatever she can do, etc. etc. What issues had E told her about? Oh . . . that he has insomnia, no appetite, and he is BI-POLAR! What the heck???!!?
I inform her that E is not bi-polar, thank her for her concern and promptly come home and call a pow-wow with E. (After consulting with Mark, sharing my gameplan, and making sure we are on the same page.)
Mark had mentioned earlier in the week how we know that E thrives on praise, but that he hasn’t give us much to praise him about lately, and that we should be on the lookout for opportunities to praise. At the moment he said this, I sort of blew it off, but on Wednesday night when this all came up at Logos, I recognized the truth in his words, and the opportunity that it presented.
So we called E into the front room for a private mom/dad/E chat (a regular occurrence these days). We asked him why he told Lori he was bi-polar. I pointed out that most of his behavior and his comments in recent months pointed to one thing – he was seeking our attention. And then we told him we were going to give it to him. And not the kind of attention he had been receiving recently (negative). We told him that he DESERVED our attention as much as his sisters, and that we recognized being the middle kid had its disadvantages. We also told him that we LOVE HIM as much as we love his sisters. I then proceeded to tell him all of the things that I love about him, that make me proud, that make him special.
- I told him what a great artist he is. (He’s a budding manga artist)
- I told him how incredibly smart he is. Definitely the smartest person in our family.
- I told him that him how thoughtful and caring he is, and that I think God put him in his (troubled) girlfriend’s life at this time, for a reason.
- I told him how much I appreciate the way he helps out at home. That he is the only kid who does his chores without excuses or complaining. What a great job he did helping his dad tear down the brick patio to make way for our new deck. And what a fantastic husband/provider he will be.
- I told him that I love that he loves Sci Fi (especially Star Wars) because it is something we share in common, that I shared in common with my dad. And for some crazy reason I started bawling like a baby at this point. At which point Mark chimed in with “Do you see how stressed your mom is about this? Do you see how much she loves you??”
It seemed that there was a bit of a breakthrough. There was a lot of crying, but a lot of laughter too. The best part? When I told him I felt like he hated me he answered with, “I’ve been really, really mad at you; but I could never hate you.”
I’m hanging on to that.