Laughing may not cure everything, but it sure helps me to see the lighter side of things through this parenting journey of life.
Some examples of late:
- Things have been a bit bumpy with Carson, 12, at school of late as he adjusts to the new faces and environment. Transitions are tough for him, resulting in some challenging days. We have confidence in his team at school. It will just take some time, but the good news is there have been far more good days than bad ones.
My obsession each morning is to get him to school in happy spirits and ready for a good day. I pray what happens inside after that will be smooth and successful, but I view my job as getting him to school in a good psychological place. After a successful drop off each morning at the door, I feel tremendous relief as I head back to my vehicle. In the vein of laughing at myself, one morning this week I was taking a big exhale of relief when I went down hard. I must have been looking up to the sky or something. I wish I could blame it on a curb or an animal, but I tripped over my own feet evidently and fell, hitting my head on my truck’s tire. Graceful it was not. I’m sure someone saw it and had a good chuckle.
Though I had a new ache to worry about, all that mattered was getting my boy into school on a good note.
- Through an immersion trip, Beckett, 14, spent several nights camping along the river near his boarding school this week. The thought of him camping out cracks me up.
Eight years ago, as part of the Boy Scouts, we camped out together. He was much younger then but sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag clearly was not for him nor was becoming one with some of the wildlife. It was just not his thing and has not been something he has enjoyed since. He is just not into roughing it at all.
In advance of this week’s immersion trip with his fellow ninth graders, Beckett seemed to have mixed feelings. On one hand, I think he was dreading the whole camping aspect, while looking forward to hanging with friends off campus.
Knowing his apprehension, it was awesome and hilarious for us to see him on the school’s Facebook page holding a hawk in the woods. He’s smiling and looked happy, but we know him well enough to understand what’s going through his head. It was likely something along the lines of, “get this thing away from me.”
- Pam and I volunteer each Saturday at River Soccer Club’s TOPSoccer program, which pairs volunteer teenage buddies with special needs kids for a session of fun while playing a bit of soccer.
The goal of the program is to allow the parents to relax and watch their kids have fun with their buddy doing some soccer drills and games. It’s a light-hearted program that can be special and memorable for all involved. We have been light on buddies this fall to help so Pam and I have been taking on more of an active role than previous years.
Flexibility and patience are a must when working with special needs individuals. Our life with our own special kid, Carson, has provided us with a wealth of experience with both. We spend most of our life rolling with the punches in an effort to set him on a successful path. We try to apply what works with him to other kids through this program.
We end each session with the “big game,” which is heart warming to see the kids trying to work together. There are highlights and lowlights each time, but always some good laugh sessions too. Though I should be helping other kids, Carson insists I hold his hand and run up and down the field with him. Whenever I try to roll to another kid, he freaks out. He’s been clingy in these sorts of settings since the pandemic.
With me stuck to Carson, the other buddies encourage the other kids and steer them in the right direction on the field. It’s a lot of fun. During the game last week, I was surprised by what I heard from a young boy with Pam. He was dropping nothing but expletives. Pam seemed surprised but was trying her best to just redirect and keep him focused on the game. At one point, I heard her say, “now let’s not say that.”
Later while eating lunch and reviewing the antics of the day she filled me in on what he was saying exactly. She said he started off laughing and repeatedly saying, “Dad broke the (f-word) computer,”. He then moved on to repeating, “(f-word) this (s-word), I’m ready for lunch.” He would say this while laughing and smiling. Despite what he was saying, he was having a ball.
We ultimately agreed at least he was having fun.
- Whitney Fleming Writes is a website I follow, and she has a great way with words when it comes to parenting.
This week she posted this:
“The only thing I know for certain about raising teenagers is I have no idea what I’m doing.
Every day I’m just hoping I didn’t mess up too badly, trying to do a little better than the previous day.
Stumbling, bumbling, struggling forgiving, talking, ignoring, guiding, praying, wishing, wondering, stressing.
Loving them the only way I know how: with all my heart and everything I have.
And hoping that it’s enough.”
Accepting there will be wins and losses and embarrassments and failures is a good first step if you ask me.