On Monday night, at 11:30 PM, I stood beside the hubs; trying hard not to topple his telescope or our digital camera sitting upon our tripod. Our dear elementary school teacher had emailed parents of students, past and present, that the blood moon was coming; a total lunar eclipse. We had been gazing at Mars; which prompted the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by the author John Gray, Ph.D., to enter my mind. As we watched the shadow of the Earth eclipse the full moon, I shared with my mate how I feel like we live on a completely different planet from our teenage son.
We think he is possessed. The man/boy/child’s mood changes are giving me whiplash as he transitions from docile to rage in 0-60 seconds. The testosterone spike is definitely affecting his ability to reason and as I caught myself arguing, I took deep breaths. My posture straightened. I mentally have to remind myself. I am the parent. Get a grip.
The son noticed that I raised myself to my full height of five foot and 3/4 inches. I am dwarfed by approximately four inches and he can easily take me. His eyes grew wary as I eyed him and lowered my voice to a whisper; standing my ground. With a level voice I quietly stated his choices and as he angrily strode away, I deflated. I am not enjoying this phase of parenting. Not one bit.
I have had some clarity after our spring break “mandatory” vacation. My mission in my life right now is clear; raising these boys to become upstanding adults. I don’t want them to be what I am; I want them to be better. But to be able to do that I need to firmly plant my own feet in the ground and know what I stand for.
Various religions think the recent blood moon is a prophecy for what is to come; possible blood shed with the country of Israel. The end of the world. I watched as the shadow of our planet engulfed the shiny bright orb in the sky; transfixed. We are but small infinitesimal beings in the vast universe. I had a similar thought last Friday while attending a Communion retreat for my youngest son. As we toured our church I stood underneath the cross upon the altar. I had no idea how large it was since we normally sit at the very back of our church. I felt small, humbled. There are bigger things than ourselves.
I want respect from my children; not by screaming at them or threatening corporal punishment. For the past year I have questioned my purpose in life; as I’ve undergone transitions from the life I used to live. These changes are not easy. But I’ve discovered my inner compass and I hope to guide my sons to find theirs. If we co-habit different orbits in our household, so be it. I hope a mother’s love can be the gravitational pull that brings them back to the same place; the same planet.
Tonight I will stand with our fellow elementary teachers at a district board meeting. I have nothing to contribute but my presence, right here, right now. If we want to improve education and have our children become, The Smartest Kids in the World to compete in the global economy; we need to rethink our practices. As author Amanda Ripley found in her research for her book, the countries who have successfully created the smartest kids worked from the top, down. If we don’t put our teachers first by giving them adequate compensation, our students will never get there. Why aren’t they paid like doctors and lawyers? We place our children in their care each and every single day. Besides ourselves, these individuals shape our children and impress ideas upon them for a lifetime (both good and bad). We don’t need the quantity of teachers in our country. We need to separate the wheat from the chaff and find quality.
In the manufacturing sector we are sensing the changing times. Vendors who chose to go overseas are beginning to return; choosing Made in the USA. When a market is flooded with inferior products, people are willing to pay a higher price to get quality.
Quality is not a given talent. It is taught. It all begins with education; both at school and at home.
As I walked my trail, this morning, I thought of the uphill climb. I am digging in with purpose and standing my ground. My stride is steady.
Later that evening, as I laid my head upon my pillow, I felt the teen son’s shadow. With a soft apology he asked if he could lay in bed with me. This is the son who never asks. Upon waking the next morning I noted the son still asleep next to me; the hubs allowing our son to take his spot in our bed. It’s the littlest things that make each day have worth.