February 3, 2012: Nobody's Perfect
I just dropped my fifteen year old off at school for early morning weight-lifting. It was painful. There is one thing that is very obvious in my life and that is my kids are not perfect. They are perfectly flawed; just like their mother. The final debate (one of many since about 9:00 last night) with my fifteen year-old, Ben, was that all of my talking on the way to school caused his muscles to tighten up and restrict him from lifting (and he was dead serious). Well, of course, what was I thinking? Rather than discussing why he chose to spend a half an hour the previous night arguing with me over the ownership of an I-Pod that he and his brother were fighting over and how the situation could have been handled better, silence was necessary for his collective effectiveness in the weight room.
My mom said it best years back and I have always remembered her statement. "Zach is 90% like you, Sandy. Grant is 90% like his dad, and we have no idea where Ben came from." A very true statement. Ben and I are wired so differently that I typically have no clue where he is coming from and am in awe on how to even respond to his comments, ideas, and actions. The son of the forever planner who has a self-proclaimed masters in organization (if there was such a thing) spent 30 minutes following the child around the house this morning reminding him of tasks that should have been part of his daily school morning routine during the last ten years. Who would think to hang up a towel after a shower or turn off a light while leaving the room? Wallet? "Oh, yea, I left it in Austin's car. I think...." (he has lost his wallet no less than 10 times since the beginning of the school year). Backpack? "Oh, yea, I'll go back in the house and grab it."
The good news is that he is a minimalist and really doesn't need his wallet often, as he spends little money and loves the little things in life that don't cost money. The phone is a necessary accommodation for my very social teenager. And he has been through at least 5 cell phones in the last 2 years (a terrible coincidence in phone malfunctions...texting in the rain on the trampoline...hmmmm???). And the ripped sweats that he has chosen to wear to school on dress down day will certainly be a problem. "Mom, do you have safety pins in your car?" he asks as we are a block from school. Sounds like another check is in order on the infamous card that leads him one more check closer to a detention. I am still astounded on the last detention served which included 5 checks over the course of a week for the same book without a cover. "Oh, Mom, I just kept forgetting about that." <sigh>.
So will my Benny Lane ever pass the muster in my book on his organization skills? Not a chance. Will he ever have anxiety problems or lose sleep over a to-do list spinning in his head at night? Highly unlikely. We all have strengths and weaknesses. I am a firm believer that although we need to manage our weaknesses and work on keeping them at bay, our happiness in life and ultimate success is tied to maximizing and embracing our strengths. That being said, Ben Lane is the kindest child of my three (sorry, Zach and Grant...I shouldn't compare, but my human weakness). If he is your friend, you are one lucky person. He has a heart of gold and loyalty that ranks as high as my organizational skills. My mom also tells me that Ben is the child who will surprise me the most. Although I spend most of my time in general disbelief on some of his actions, I also sit back and watch him naturally do things and excel in areas that are foreign to me. So, yes, I am putting my money with my mom. But in the meantime, I will keep my thumb on him and try to guide him in the right direction (although it does have the sensation of hitting my head against the wall sometimes). And on the flip side, Ben is going to have to tolerate listening to me talk on the way to school despite the negative effects on his muscle system.