Monthly Archives: November 2015

A Teen Sleeps In

I’ve been spending  time with a boy in my family.  Like many of us in our teens, he has his struggles, particularly with social skills.  And now he’s in a school where many of the kids have problems: neglect, drugs, alcohol, abuse, mental health.  It must be a lot to handle because when I go to pick him up, he’s closed down; his arms stuck close to his body, his eyes darting place to place on the school grounds, or looking straight ahead.  It’s almost as though he is hunted.  I wonder what it’s like to be in a setting where you feel uncomfortable for 6 hours straight.  It takes him about an hour before he loosens up and starts talking.  I don’t push it and I do let long minutes of quiet lay between us.

Yesterday, he said, “you live a pretty peaceful life, don’t you? You get to do whatever you want, whenever you want.  You don’t have to get up, or go anywhere or anything.”

“That’s true but there are other things that keep me from doing everything  I want to do” I said.

It’s a simple conversation that reiterates a common teen theme,  “I want to do what I want to do.  This is my life.  I want to own it.”  He’s individuating and starting to recognize that he wants to be in control of his minutes, hours, and days.  And he doesn’t want to do anything he doesn’t want to do.  It’s like the 2 year old toddler who says, “no” to everything because he’s practicing making his own choices.

I want to talk on and on about every choice you make being a choice that eliminates other choices, or how we need people because we’re social beings and every time you include someone in your life, you enjoy the benefits of love and companionship but limit some of your freedom.

But I decide to keep it simple and keep the conversation on a literal theme; sleeping in.  He can sleep in on weekends and I can’t even though I wish I could.  He doesn’t understand how it feels to ache from being old, and how it compels you to stager into the dark mornings.  But he recognizes that part of his “freedom” is sleeping in on Saturday mornings.  Hopefully that is the beginning of an  appreciation for his personal freedoms and an opportunity for us to talk more about “freedom” in the future.



Safari Hunts for Memories

This morning with coffee, my husband read from a book he kept when our two younger kids were toddlers. It’s his book of occasional writings, funny little things the kids would say before they were grown up. He read a dinner prayer where our youngest daughter thanked God for “trees, family and forks”.  And then a question from our youngest son, “… why don’t Cousin Larry and Balki have kids?” We both chuckled and shared our dismay. How in the world could we forget such precious moments? It’s bewildering.
This morning’s reading of his little book of remembrances sits in contrast with my pride for getting rid of stuff. Last year I attempted to delete 50% of all my stuff. Yup! clothes, books, buttons, dishes, fabric, mementos, out the door. “How did I do it?” you ask. I decided that organizing and taking care of stuff was taking up too much of my time. I wanted freedom! I was sick and tired of hunting for anything and everything. No more household Safari Hunts for me. I was done!
But I have to admit after this morning’s reading, that I’m a little concerned. It’s possible that with some of this “stuff” I tossed, I also tossed some of my grey matter. Because maybe it’s not just that we are driven by a capitalistic, consumer culture to buy, buy, buy. But that these “things” cause in us a reflection; a moment of feeling. And when many things cannot be remembered at the age of 62, seeing something that has been cherished or thrown on the heap is just enough to cause us to remember.