It was all I could do, on Friday morning, to get my youngest to wear his designated outfit for school. He was supposed to match his two other twins for twin day. Two days prior I had received the phone call from another parent telling me that her son had made plans to be twins with someone else; but they would change their plans to accommodate my son. So when he asked me, again, if I had spoken to the other parent; I had to let him know that his friend had already made plans. It was later that the mom told me they would accommodate my son. His friend never told him a thing.
And so my heart sank for this child; totally understanding. I watched him sit amongst the Chris Burden Urban Light exhibition at the museum; knowing his mood was still somber from the days before. As a parent I’ve learned that the kids need to coordinate these things; but apparently I needed the reminder. The hard way.
Katy Perry’s song, “Roar,” played in the car and I cranked it up. I turned to this son, who likes to dance around with me, cajoling him to sing; hoping to dispel his mood. The catchy pop song began to work its magic and as he sang the lyrics, tears filled my eyes. I need to teach my sons to be confident. To know that whatever life throws at them that they can pick themselves back up. I don’t want him to feel like it’s the end of the world when he is excluded. I want him to rise above the ashes and find his own way. To own it. To be thankful for it. People come and go but if you know who you are and can atone for your actions, you will always shine.
You held me down, but I got up (hey!)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, your hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready ’cause I had enough
I see it all, I see it now
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter
Dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar!
Slowly I could see the light return to his eyes. I didn’t question him further and decided to let things go. I am hoping this son will find his voice. To sing it loud.
It is painful to watch your kids maneuver through the little cruelties of life. My eldest had undergone many transitions with our multiple military moves. He has learned coping mechanisms and I continually help him with social cues. It is a slow process but he is more adaptable to change than his younger siblings. If left to his own devices he no longer thinks a friend will make things right. He is able to be on his own and find his way. This son is going to be okay. It is a plus that he had now found a niche.
Meanwhile I continue to discuss body image issues with the tweener. As we walked away from an outdoor kids marathon event, this son brought up the size of a former girl teammate from another school. Unfortunately, he chose to make these observations, aloud, with a fellow female classmate nearby. These hidden cues about image and beauty create unrealistic expectations and is especially damaging during these tweener years, when the hormones begin to surface. And so I berated him. This is intolerable. Cornered within our vehicle the hubs drove quietly as the son questioned back. What’s wrong with that statement? The girl didn’t hear me.
Au contraire my son, I retort. Let me be clear. I hear you. I am a female and remember those years when innocent remarks like crater face marked my psyche. All girls find fault with our frames and appearances because we are socialized to put ourselves down. We learn to hide our insecurities with clothes, disguise them with make-up, throw-up in bathroom toilets, shovel food into our mouths, choose risky behavior for attention or take substances to dull the ache. Never, ever put down a girl for appearance, I raged, because if that’s what matters then I have failed you as a mother! My sons heard me roar.
Frustrated I quickly walked in the drizzle towards the buildings, wondering if this outing was a mistake. The wear and tear of the past week had finally worn me down and even the thought of Katy Perry’s song didn’t get me out of my funk. I had thought our fun Friday night had dispelled my ill temper but, alas, this was reality. This is the every day of my messy life. It’s easy to get tunnel vision.
But sometimes this focus allows me to remember what’s important. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Amongst the gray drizzle I found the silver lining.
The kaleidoscope of color was a stark contrast to our mood as the hubs completed membership forms. It had been years since my three boys sat at our dining room table creating arts and crafts. I recalled the mess they made, finger paints on wooden chairs. Handprint Valentine’s day cards, rock mosaics, water painting on easels…the years flashed before me. The hubs and I sat quietly in the corner observing the artistic creativity of kids and parents, alike, as the rain drizzled outside. An hour and a half flew by.
We ventured into the Art of the Americas and beyond. David Hockney’s painting Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio beckoned to the middle son while the eldest walked back and forth in front of Julio Le Parc’s Mural, Virtual Circles.
The heaviness of the week fell away as we gazed at objects of antiquity and beauty. The hubs was drawn to the limestone artifacts of Egypt and Mesopotamia; a reminder that we are just an infinite speck in the vast world beyond.
There is more beyond my own life and it was in admiring others’ works of art that I could appreciate my own.
The boys & hubs in front of Matta’s, Burn, Baby Burn.
And though my creations are flawed, they are also beautiful. It doesn’t matter what they look like because I know what lies within. They continue to grow towards the light; blossoming. These are my bubs, my creative works in progress.
Had we followed the directions of our GPS for a dinner destination we would have been stuck in Hollywood traffic. At the last minute we changed our destination. Unknowingly, we would’ve been within a mile’s radius of the Oscars. The Oscars were last night?
Today I am tasked to find $1 frames for the boys’ tempura based paintings. They want to hang them on our walls to admire their works of art.