Ok, yes, I’ve decided to add to the noise. The noise about the now infamous nipple on TIME magazine’s cover which I swore I would not write a post on, but then decided I had to when I saw Jason Biggs parody on twitter. Here’s why…
My son got hit last week and it may have been the best thing to ever happen to him. Let me explain…
My nine-year-old son has played for four years and today is a good player. When he was younger he was one of the better players (t-ball, coaches pitching) and he IS a pitcher in a division of kids who are largely older than him. He also has a vision issue which has him wearing sports goggles (and which we discovered only two years ago-see picture above). What has held him back this last season is fear. He is afraid of the ball not when he pitches or is playing defense but when he’s hitting. I can relate. Fear holds me back too. It’s the single greatest obstacle I put in my own way. Maybe you can relate. He can get on base, but he’s a walker. And it frustrates him because he knows its not due to him not having the ability. He knows he’s afraid too.
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.
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.
Tomorrow we are having a birthday party for my littlest one. My baby. Although his birthday isn’t officially until Monday, this party is one of the “primary” celebrations we will have for him. See there are a few different kinds of parties. There are “school parties”–these happen at school, there are “family parties”–just family, and there are “kid parties”–kid only celebrations. Then there is the Mack-daddy party, the kid-family mash-up. That’s what we are doing tomorrow. Now you may think that based on how I’m talking about my little boy he must be a tiny tyke… Well you’d be wrong, in one way… ok in a major way. But I wouldn’t totally disagree either.
Adolescence has struck our home. And since we have two, the chances are lightening will strike twice. I’m new to this stage of motherhood and since I was the first of my friends to have kids and some of my buds have decided not to have them as of yet, aside from a kind ear and the fact that we went through adolescence there isn’t much advice based on experience in my close circle yet. I know what I know from growing up a female, and although I don’t want to discount that, my own childhood is a bit fraught ( I’m going to leave it at that) so I’m trying to be conscious of NOT projecting my experience on her.