New schedule, new settings, one less parent (the one who has the deeper, firmer voice and is all-protecting in their eyes) can only mean one thing: stress for little people. We’ve been on the road just about 2 weeks now and a dear friend and mentor has encouraged me to check in with the kids.
Sammy Whammy was displaying signs of anxiety (i.e. being more aggressive than normal while simultaneously wanting to cuddle…tough combo) so I decided to check in with him first. Because he’s really a man trapped in a boy’s body (see my Ode to Sam) I thought playing outside would work.
So following his lead, we played ‘slam dunk’ (he’s waaaay better than me)…
and ‘take my picture while I do all these cool tricks.”
(during this trick he calmly said “please hurry before I die.” Perhaps a slight exaggeration of the danger factor.)
After playing/sweating profusely in this Southern humidity, I asked if we could talk….er….man-to man. I really said that. He gave a patronizing ‘sure’ and sat down next to me.
Me: How are you doing?
Me: How are you feeling?
Me: What are you enjoying about our vacation?
Me: Well, is there anything bothering you?
Sam: [long pause] my hair is pretty sweaty.
So it definitely would’ve made for an awkward tv interview, but it’s a start.
For me, one of the challenges of parenting is helping the children (and myself) identify what they’re truly feeling, express it moderately, and take productive steps forward. It can feel scary knowing that my children have a front row seat to my messed-up-ness, and I wonder if they feel the same way at times? My hope is that we are able to offer each other a safe place to grow into who we were created to be-individually and as a family.
Our conversation ended with a hug before I said I had to go inside to use the bathroom. Sam replies, “Oh it’s ok, Mom. Just pee on the grass.”