I feel like I need to be very careful as I write this so that sometime in the future, no one's feelings are hurt if they were to go back and read this.
With that being said, I need to admit, I do not understand the way my son's brain works. His personality is very different than mine, and therefore his strengths and weaknesses are very different than mine are and were at his age.
When I was a child, I was very CONSCIENTIOUS. While my mom and dad can attest, at times I was lazy, often self-centered, and not necessarily the best at being helpful around the house. But, when it came to impressing adults of authority, it meant everything to me to demonstrate that I was responsible, capable, and basically worthy of any praise to be given. I kept things very neat (in the classroom), was very organized, and thought ahead when it came to preparing for most anything.
That is pretty much the opposite of my son. And, I've got admit, it's just killing me. I feel like we need to officially need to change his name to "Oh Brayden" as that is what you pretty much say all the time when you watch him or hear about "the latest" of what he's done or not done.
Today was a classic example. He just said it was one of his best days ever. He participated in the "Gilham Triathalon" in which 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders are able to ride their bikes to the pool nearby, swim two laps, and then return to the school to run around the track. As a result of his participation and some other year-end activities (working on a rocket that his class will be launching on Friday) - he barely spent any time in the classroom. However, upon talking to him, I was acutely aware of how he forgot his backpack on the triathalon (in which I had to nag him constantly to pack this morning), had to use a kickboard during the swimming (because even though he won't sink, his form is so bad it looks very concerning to an onlooker), lost a contact along the way (because his goggles were in the backpack) and lost his bike lock and therefore didn't lock up his very valuable bike. When I asked him where he was in the group picture, he said he didn't know they were taking a picture. When I asked him which rocket was his, he showed me the broken one and said he hoped the teacher would be able to fix it.....
And thus describes a typical Brayden day. Now, on the flip side, this boy can make almost anyone smile, if not fully laugh (even when they shouldn't be laughing). He can look at a day that I see as full of "failures" and call it one of his best days ever. I love that kid so much, it hurts - and yet, right now, feel so incapable of being the right kind of mom to him.
I was thinking about this last week and came up with the analogy that ties in the title of this post. I think with parenting, I had always hoped that you steer them in the right direction, set them in their tracks - and then watch the progress. Much the same way as you would get a car into an automated car wash. Sure it takes some careful steering to get it in the tracks, but once you there, you put the car into neutral and coast. With Brayden, once we get into the tracks, it's like he's grabbed the steering wheel and is wrenching right and left while also messing with the pedals. We're really battling to stay in the tracks at all. Which is probably what realistic parenting is really more like, but I guess, not what I expected. And so,- I remind, yell, pull my hair out, occasionally enable, nag, worry, instruct, complain, and generally lose my sanity on a daily basis trying to help this wondrous little boy become, eventually, a contributing member of society - and all-around great guy. It'll happen, I'm sure of it, but man, that track that we're in looks oh-so-long......