I just woke up from yet another dream that me and my teen were arguing about something. You see, I have some righteous (or so I think) concerns for my boy. One, bee a critical thinker. So, both me, my wife, and his mom often engage him in discussions about race, politics, class, gender, so many things. If I’m being honest though, part of it is because I grew up talking that way with my parents and I’m familiar wit it. I do truly hope that from his family het gets points of views that are different than what main stream movies, media, etc are saying. And I’ve told him I don’t want you to think like me, I want you to take what Im saying and form your own opinion. Having an informed opinion is important, i think.
Two. I really want him to know what it means to work hard and sometimes this desire overlooks the hard work he does do and the fact that the nature of work is changing. I’ve had him cleaning the bathroom, the living room, his room, doing his laundry, taking out the trash, I’ve given him jobs where he can earn money or pay me back for something I bought that he wanted. But sometimes, I can be a little too pushy and demanding. And I’m trying to do better. He sometimes bitches or moans at some extras I make him do and I have to remind myself I did too when I was a kid.
Three. I want him to choose a path forward (after high school) that he’s passionate about. I know at times he’d rather just play video games and stay in his room. And sometimes I forget what it was like to be a teenager and press upon him, adding to the pressure he must feel from all of us and all of it. I don’t want him to serve the system of exploiting people though. I’ve been very vocal about that. Be aware of this or that, challenge this or that. But even I get bored of hearing myself repeat things so I know he must.
I haven’t been complete drill sergeant or a stoic figure who expresses little emotion, comfort, or love. But I have to remind myself to not get too angry when he refuses, gets annoyed, pulls away, or resists; and tell him. Tell him I’m proud of him, that I care for him and that I love him. I want to dismiss the myth that all teenagers are jerks, because they’re not. I do believe they are going through a lot during those years. I remember hormones raging, feeling self conscious, afraid to speak up, and just wanting nothing more than to hang out with my friends, my guys, to laugh, have fun, and make and see dope art in the form of music, graffiti, djing, paintings, so many things. I remember short answers with my parents and just wanting my own space to be free of rules and responsibilities. So I get it. I have to confess that I have let my frustration at perceived inaction get to me at times, and I’m trying to listen. That is ultimately what my dream was about. Forcing him to do something, and instead listening to him tell me how and when he wanted to deal with it. The issue I was mad about was not big, his words were/are.
Ooh, my toddler is awake and she’s demanding attention. If you’re a parent who’s been there or afraid of going there, what are your thoughts or advice? Like when do they start eating breakfast again, lol.
If you’r new here, this is a series I’ve been writing for several years off and on about being a dad, co-parent, struggles, triumphs, mistakes, and more human shit. I’m trying every day to be a better dad, husband, co-parent, and human.
I think there was a saying that if you want to make god laugh, show her/him your plans. I’m probably getting that wrong. But it seems like this entire year has other plans for our plans. Sure some people may just be coasting along like nothing has happened but I think a good majority of the worlds population is adjusting, pivoting, changing, etc.
Take for example my baby girl who is now 20 months old. From the time she was born up until about the age of 1 I stayed home to care for her while Mama worked. Of course I still worked doing what I could at night, in between naps, etc. But she is a fully formed toddler now, asking for things, expressing happiness and discontent. She walks, runs, eats food and spits it out. I thought at the beginning of this year I’m about to make all kinds of new projects in addition to client work, but with childcare closed and our family distancing the time to create and work was cut in half. We’re blessed though, making it work. Me and Mama take turns from 8am-5pm. I’m on morning shift, Mama’s on afternoon. Trying to work and care for bebe girl has lead to some hilarious moments. Especially since we’re potty training. The other day I was answering emails, watching my girl like a hawk for any sign that she might go pee (she had no pants for the first 10 days), all the while making lunch for me and my wife.happened the other day. And as soon as I look away to turn down the stove, season that, she pooped. Haha, right in the middle of the kitchen. So I took a breath, cleaned her, the poop, the floor, my hands, and proceeded to make lunch.
But for my teen, I can’t imagine how hard it is. I talk to him regularly and ask him how he’s doing. I make sure to check on him and he’s in good hands with his Mami. But, leaving the normalcy of the last 12-13 years of seeing other children in school came to a screeching halt. Sure, there’s so much that happens nw days over text. I know kids message each other sometimes more than they see one another and that he plays video games and talks to friends via games. But, it is still quite anxiety inducing; this whole culture. I’m lucky he still opens up and shares what makes him happy. We’ve got a book club going on where we read together. And I try to honestly check out some of the things he shares with me even if I don’t understand. And despite all this, he’s still doing great on his assigned work. I’m just glad its not his graduating year, or the prom he’s missing. I do wish I could encourage him to have his friends over though. Maybe in a few months, I hope.
Me, I’m tired, horny, feeling a bit overwhelmed at times, hungry, contemplative, robotic, and blessed all at the same time. Give thanks that I still have a roof and that there are so many stepping up. Thats it for today.