Conflict with one’s kids is nothing unusual. I think of it like the plates of the earth shifting and causing earthquakes. It’s just a part of growth.
This morning I had to wake the boys for school for the first time in nearly 2 weeks, since Christmas break started. I chuckled a little to myself when I flipped the light on in Ryan’s room just as he said, “No, don’t!” (Too late.) I laid Alex’s clothes out for him because I knew, much like me, he wasn’t going to be mentally awake enough to do it for himself. (I at least had a shower slapping me in the face first to help me wake up.) When it was time to come down for breakfast, Alex still insisted he didn’t have to go to school, until finally we came toe to toe. It’s an interesting proposition, facing a 12 year old who’s got two inches on you, but I’m the mother-person here and I’m supposed to be in control. It was still slightly intimidating, looking up at him as I let him know who’s boss, but I wasn’t about to back down. After all, I’m the mom.
Of course, this all put me behind schedule. I would have left on time if it hadn’t been for that slight head-butting detour, but as I walked out to the car, it occurred to me that I’d bet Kelly Preston would give anything for one last confrontation with her son Jett Travolta, who died last week. I can’t fathom what it must feel like to lose a child, so my heart breaks for her and her family. He was only here for 16 years, and looking at my 12 year old towering over me, I know just how fast the time goes. It seems like yesterday they were watching Sesame Street and eating sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Now they’re raiding the refrigerator and complaining that there’s nothing to eat. Or like Ryan, they’re cooking their own dinners.
CNN had a lovely pictorial of Jett, and as much as I may have my own opinions about scientology and autism, my heart goes out to their family. Jett looks like he was a handsome, likeable kid. I don’t want to have to imagine what they must be going through now that he’s gone. When they turn a corner and expect to find him there, and they don’t. When they open his bedroom door and nothing in the room has been moved. When they wait to hear his voice, and they don’t. I hope they’re able to find peace in their hearts soon.
When Alex stormed out of the kitchen with his breakfast, I felt good that I had a chance to talk to him this morning, even if at the end of it all, he called me “stupid”. (I know his word choice wasn’t in context. He “TV-talks”.) This afternoon when his bus arrives, he’s going to walk down the bus steps and see me and smile, and I’m going to love every minute of every fight or every laugh we’ll ever share because I’m grateful to God that he’s here.