Tag Archiv: sons

The Misty saga

We don’t get things for the farm that we can’t eat. Pigs not fun anymore? The freezer awaits. We aren’t in France, so horses have been out. Until this year. Somehow a burning desire to give kids a great birthday equalled Misty. You really haven’t lived until you have picked up kids from school, driven them home and sent them to the barn to meet the horse they thought they were never getting.

Besides in-edibility, I didn’t want a horse because they’re scary. My research said that our kids would be able care for the horse themselves, so I put this aside. Even more compelling is the common knowledge that pioneer children raised ponies unaided from the age of 6 or 7, but I didn’t depend on history. I did research.

Here’s what the research did  and did not mention . . .

1. Thirteen year olds can take care of horses . . . if they have grown up with horses, understand them, and are comfortable taking authority when the horse disagrees.

2. Ten year olds can do a lot . . . if they don’t develop sudden onset terror of horses and refuse to leave the house on threat of torture or a trip to Goodwill to donate all their Lego.

3. You’d be surprised what an eight year old can do. . . you’d be surprised too, how contagious that sudden onset stuff is.

4. Five year olds can’t do much. I agree.

We had a choice. Give up on the best birthday present ever or get re-enforcements. This is how it stopped working that I only saw the horse from the kitchen sink.

Learning and working with thirteen year old is showing me a new side of him. We’ve never done anything like this together. We listen to advice from horse people, then try to apply it with Misty. He needs me, but he can do things I can’t. There’s nothing to argue about because we’re on the same team. More than anyone else, it is he and I that are spending the hours. Seven or eight extra hours in a week is a sacrifice for me, but it is for him too, and he isn’t complaining, so neither am I.

Eight year old was back on board the second I got involved. And she can do more than you’d think. Ten year old was delivered grumbling to mandatory horse lesson this weekend. Yesterday he helped with Misty for twenty minutes. This equals previous compliance times ten.

The hardest part, I tell my husband, is leading team horse, when I’m still afraid of horses.

You’re afraid of Misty? That’s so funny. She doesn’t bother me at all.

Says the man who only has to look at her in the field from fifty feet away because we need his time to do other things.

Originally, that was supposed to be my job.

Trying to Remember

When my daughter told me to write about Ivan, my son added without looking up, “Write about Remembrance Day.”

Remembrance Day brings out my split personality. It’s the day I came to Canada. It’s boy two’s birthday. Maybe if I lived in the States and called it Veterans Day I would always remember that it isn’t about me. Coming to Canada was a big deal for my then twenty year old self. I remember it like an Israelite remembers leaving Egypt. Scary at first like you wouldn’t believe in the desert. Wanting to go back. Then wandering in circles for a few years while the promised land waited patiently for lights to dawn on marble head.

Mid gratitude reflecting on what the day has meant for me, I inevitably pass a veteran and am filled with shame. NOTE TO SELF: This day is about THEM! My brain believes in gratitude and remembrance but knowing what to do about that seems hard, so I let it get lost in the details.  Besides, it’s boy two’s birthday. There’s celebrating to be done.

Boy two does not mind sharing his birthday. He thinks it’s special to be born on Remembrance Day, the same way he thinks it’s special to be short and bow legged. (He claims this puts his legs at a better angle for tree climbing.) He was not impressed that I did not take him out of school to go to a Remembrance Day service.

Writing a letter two days after the day doesn’t fix it. Mine is an imperfect attempt to do what I tell my kids: you can’t undo the wrong thing, but you try to make it right.

Dear Veterans,

I am not wearing a poppy because they always fall off and poke me. Seeing you overwhelms me with the size of what you did. I have read many more books on events during WWII than I am years old. For some reason I just listened to six hours of an American History Channel WWII series while driving. I don’t see an old man, or whatever age you are, when I walk by you, I see some mother’s son risking his life for other people. I imagine shaking your hand, looking you in the eye, saying thank you. Instead, I fumble in my purse for change and send the kids to buy a poppy sticker for themselves. I nod at you. Say something inane to the kids about staying with me in the parking lot and move on.

I don’t like the way I do it either. I have no idea how to properly say thank you for the United States that I grew up in or for the Canada where I found home. I promise to let the kids skip school next year to stand in front of the flag with you even if it is cold and raining. Everything I get to remember on November 11, says thanks to you.

Sincere admiration and thanks,

From a woman who ought to have said something sooner

 

further to growing up

Found the time to explain the comic to my older son. About how the boy has just lost his leg and everything the boy is feeling (worthless, like people will only ever feel sorry for him) is what he says to the dog. The dog, having long forgotten about his missing leg, is just happy with the joy of life. It wins him over. Gives him hope for himself.

Stunned silence from son.

I don’t bother adding how we are all broken and wounded and afraid to believe that joy and love are for us. If I add this idea, he will never speak again.

“Wow,” he said finally. “So there’s like a whole other level going on there that I didn’t even get.”  More silence.

“Wowsers,” he said and walked away.

Growing up

The following is either evidence of parental incompetence (failure to raise empathetic offspring) or a serious indication that brain development is a significant reality for at least one thirteen year old male.  By way of explanation, I found the following cartoon and sent it to my son.  (Found on Kathy Schiffer’s blog http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kathyschiffer/2013/11/perfect-young-cartoon-fella-sees-disability-in-a-new-light/   but as she notes, it is from Brazilian webcomic Mentirinhas)

Read the cartoon for yourself and then I’ll go from there.

 

As I said, I sent this to my son. I liked the cartoon. It made me feel human. I’m not sure what I expected from him, but I didn’t expect this:

Mom – thanks for sending this. It was really funny.

I read it twice, then hit delete. I did not want to read it again. Funny? Not, Moving? Thought provoking? Inspiring?  Really? Funny?

A few weeks ago, I read my first ever blog post to this same son. (The post covered my mad attempts to thwart the mating intentions of equines.) “I love it,” he said.  “Good,” I said. “I hope people at least find it interesting and a little bit funny.” His eyebrows furrowed confused. “Must be an adult thing. It’s good, but I don’t see anything funny.”

I guarantee that if I sit down with him (this part is definitely on the do list) and point out the emotions the boy in the cartoon was feeling and expressing, and then draw attention to his transformation from bitterness to hope, my son will find it meaningful. In fact, he will like the cartoon a lot more. But at this point without a nudge in that direction, emotion, nuance . . . they’re really not that obvious or even accessible to him. Or maybe they are, but laughing is just so much easier than hurting?

I don’t have all the answers, I just find kids interesting. There’s so much to learn looking under those rocks in their brains. About brains. About them. About us.

I’ll ease him into being comfortable with a little empathy and then just standing there being him, he’ll ease me into laughing at both of us and not taking this sacred trust of mothering thing quite so seriously.

Costume update

So Mr. 13 is bowing out of the celebrations this year. I got involved in the brainstorming last night with the girls. Ms. 5 was adamant that they wanted to be something scary. Ms. 8 listed off all the scary things they could think of, which would, incidentally, have given them nightmares about each other for a week. Luckily, they went to bed cheerfully diverted. Not sure what the forecasted rain will do to their plan to be professional violinists . . . but really I am only posting on this because of Mr. 10.

The formerly mad scientist announced yesterday that he was going either as a ninja or a spy. Both seemed to involve track pants and a hoodie pulled down over his head. From there the general malaise deepened. I offered suggestions. My husband heard the ten or so rejections and came down to try and help as well. I thought he and I were rather persuasive on the merits of being, a) one of the men in black, b) a s’more or c) Indiana Jones.  A and C involved inquisition from Mr. 10, followed by excitement and enthusiasm about how he could pull it off. A lot of time later, still no decision. Exasperated, I give Mr. 10 one minute to make a decision – because how hard is it to choose between a man in black, Indiana Jones, a ninja, or spy?

“Got it!” he said thirty seconds later. Sly grin. Arms folded across chest. “I’m going to be an Egyptian Writer.”

Come again?

Mr. 10 has a bacteria infested very large and perfect feather that he found in the field this summer. For some reason, I had not thought of a costume based on this.  The Egyptian Writer plans to have his feather and a scroll covered in hieroglyphics . He will be sporting the flesh coloured pants from the hand-me-down bag that we have marvelled over but never worn. He also plans to fashion an Egyptianish toga type covering for his top half out of the blue sheet that ripped en route to the wash last week.

The boy brings new meaning to that whole verse about being in the world but not of it.