Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Meditation, Part 2

Actually, I don't know what part it is, but doesn't Part 2 sound impressive?

This is the story about how helpful meditation can be. I'm not doing it every day but several times a week.

It was a recent Friday. Probably the first Friday after school started. I felt more exhausted than all the students and teachers put together. It was probably all the driving, combined with the first-week paperwork, and I had been working all day, four days that week. I was waiting, getting overheated, at the rendezvous point Austin & I had picked out for him to meet me after school so we could go get -- ta da!! -- his learner's permit to drive.

Having your firstborn be on the verge of getting a learner's permit is a momentous occasion. Huge. It's like watching them take their first steps all over again. A lifetime of memories is kaleidoscoped into this moment. Darn, now I need to figure out how to spell two words in one posting. (Got one right, one wrong & fixed.)

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, yes, the most important times in the life of a parent. A learner's permit has to be in the top five for when your child is still a child. (Birth, hs/college graduation, walking being others) So I see Austin at a distance, strolling with his friends, who look over at me. I get the feeling he's sneaking off. He calls me and says something quite garbled, the gyst (jist?) of which is he wants to get a drink (soda) with his friends, and does not want to go to the driver license office today. So, OK. Wow, I thought this was really important to him, too, but apparently not.

I go do a workout, but I'm not feeling good. I'm feeling pushed out of my own child's life by his friends. Frankly, I'm fuming. And how could he pass up the chance to drive, or wait another day?? I pick up Andrew, do some shopping, and I haven't heard another peep from Austin. I do something I have threatened to do before: I drive home without him. While I drive, Andrew figures out the score and calls his brother, who is (of course) hanging out at Joseph's house.

Austin says that this is unfair, my leaving him, because in the past I was the one who called him to pick him up when I was ready. But so what? Rules change. Get over it, boy. But now he's on the verge of going to the movies with his friends, and that was not the punishment I had envisioned. So I drive back into Floresville to pick him up.

Driving, I am low on energy, low on fuel (not having eaten), and really tired. I start to meditate while driving, which can be tricky. The way my body feels about it all starts to dawn on me as I relax into it and hear all its complaints. I remember that the hardest thing about parenting -- and the most important -- is acting like a parent, especially when you're feeling all emotional and strung out.

I can't be the one throwing a tantrum, much as I would love to. I have to act like an adult to my teenage child, who sometimes has some anger-management issues himself. UUUGH. The 15-minute drive is just enough time for me to compose myself, wipe away some tears that found their way into my eyes, and become a rational parent once again. Or pretend to be a rational parent, which (guess what?) is just as effective. I still don't know what the score is, but being mad about it will not help.

It turns out it's all been a misunderstanding. Austin swears he told me over the phone that he couldn't get one of the forms required by the driver license office, the verification of attendance in school. We did get this form over the summer, but we were informed that was no longer sufficient the first week of school, when we made the first attempt to get his permit. They also said a mere passport was not sufficient ID. They needed his SS card too, although that is one of the required documents to obtain a passport, which is usually the trump card of all IDs. Only in Texas, folks.

So it was not that he didn't feel like going to get his permit, but could not.

I wish I could say I always catch myself before I fall, but quite recently, I yelled at Andrew so forcefully that his hair was gusting away from his head. He went and buried himself in the covers in bed and refused to come out for a while. Both my kids hate hate hate for me to yell at them, and that word (yell) encompasses lots of things, just speaking angrily too. But of course they hate it. I hate to be yelled at, too.

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