The warmer weather is trying to get and keep the attention of Mother Nature and, in similar fashion, Little League season has started where junior players seek to get and maintain the approval of their coaches, team mates and parents on fields everywhere. Any seasoned parent on the sidelines knows this time of year also marks the beginning of the end of your weekend freedom. Now some parents embrace this–either because they love baseball, or they coach, or they have a compulsive need to win…whatever floats your boat, I say. Other parents (like me) simply smile and accept this because they love their children and would give up anything for their happiness even if it means shivering through a 5pm April game or sweating their butt off during a 2pm August playoff (some kids can play through a summer league).
I took both my kids (11.5 and 9) to see Bully and I am so glad I did. For those who don’t know, Bully is a documentary that follows five kids and their families who are being effected by bullying in different ways–some more grave than others, all heartbreaking. I took a little flack for it from some friends as it was before the NR rating had changed to the PG-13, but here’s my POV: if I let my kids watch the news (kinda) and read The Hunger Games (yes), then they can see this movie–which, btw, is far more relevant to their lives than the news and more appropriate for them than Hunger Games.
I was away for a few days in paradise with just my daughter, (read more about that here). We had morphed a family vacation into a girls getaway leaving our “boys” at home to bond over video games and baseball. I’ve already written about the adolescent dynamic that mystifies and terrifies and fully was prepared for its head to rear and to even enjoy some of its wrath as I sat down wind on the beach.
Disappointments from childhood are the most complicated to unpack. I say this without reservation and with total authority.
When I was twelve, my mother was diagnosed with a (then) rare but very treatable form of cancer. It shook us all to our core since she was the one who “lived clean”–juxtaposed against my Dad–she had no history of drinking, didn’t smoke, avoided the sun. We found out that it had also metastasized (spread) and she was going to have to have surgery to remove the cancer and aggressive treatments of iodine therapy to remove anything left. During iodine therapy she couldn’t have visitors and couldn’t touch certain types of people so I could not see her. The therapy coincided with a pre-planned annual vacation we were to take, so my father decided instead of being home and not visiting my mother we would go and I would bring a friend with me.
I’m getting ready to go on vacation for spring break and nothing is better than the anticipation of having free, uninterrupted family time to relax and enjoy each other. It’s times like this that I am reminded of the vacations I spent as a kid in the Caribbean with my parents, as they were probably the happiest of my entire childhood and because of that they leave me with a deep ache and a profound sorrow for the loss of my Dad.
Asking for what we want is primal. And most of us have been practicing it for many years. As babies, we asked our parents to fill our needs and depending on how well or how receptive they were to them, thats probably how adept we are at asking for what we want today.
Then there’s asking for what we deserve. This is a profoundly different thing because we have to have a clear understanding of what that is, then be able to articulate it with courage, conviction and in a way that the recipient will be able to metabolize. Lots of times, I find myself jumping ahead… Trying to articulate that which I have not fully developed my own thinking around. Someone said to me recently that we often call a person making demands petty… When what they are really being is specific. They have likely applied some rigor to understanding what it is they deserve and can specify what that means to them. That’s the opposite of petty… it’s actually quite substantive and important.