Saturday, May 23, 2009

Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder

I'm flying out to California to continue cleaning out Mom's house along with my siblings, which isn't such a fun reason to leave Mama and 3B for a long weekend. However, I always look forward to hanging out with my siblings. Nothing feels better than blood on blood.

But, even if it's to go see my family, I can't stand leaving my family.

Being away from Mama and 3B heightens my sensitivity to families and children around me like a blindfold heightens hearing. As I walk through the airport, I find myself waving and talking to all the toddlers. Before we got on the plane, a little boy who was traveling with his mom dropped some trash in the can next to where I was sitting to charge my laptop--the things we do for technology, right?

When I got on the plane, the little boy was already on, sobbing in his mother's arms. I said hello to him and waved and he stopped for a minute to talk. His mom explained that he was scared, which made me feel even worse for the little guy. But what could I do? I went on back to my seat and listened to him crying and screaming until we finally got in the air. it was heartbreaking.

Probably doesn't help that as I was listening to him cry, I was watching the car smashing scene between Xavier and his dad in Roll Bounce, which brought tears to my eyes as it made me think of how 3B is these days.

No, he hasn't taken a bat to our car, but he does get that worked up--so worked up that it scares him. Just before we walked out to drive to the airport, he grabbed a pack of loratadine out of my bag because it was shiny, looked like candy and he's two. I jumped over and grabbed them back out of his hand, explaining that it was medicine and dangerous, but he just opened his mouth and screamed as loud as he could. With his second scream, he started to cry.

I know that screaming is verboten in our house, but I also know that 3B is behind on his sleep this week, was tired when he woke up this morning and didn't nap at Mrs. K's today. I also know that he misses me as much as I miss him, and probably wasn't looking forward to dropping me off at the airport. And I know that when he gets like this, he also hits, throws toys and bangs on furniture, windows, and whatever else is nearby. He often hurts someone, a toy or himself when he does this, and that usually scares him.

So I asked him if he wanted to hug about it, and he came over for the biggest hug I could muster as I let him cry it out.

That's not what I would have done six months ago. Back then, I would have given him a warning and he would have ended up in time out. We all would have been more stressed out and even later leaving than I had already made us. This is what I've learned from my son. OK, and from watching Mama.

3B reminds me that I also used to flip out and destroy projects just because one tiny element wasn't perfect. I'd smash models and tear up papers. If I'd known to hit something, I would have done that too--and I did when I was a teenager. He reminds me that Dad came into my room one night, angry that I hadn't cleaned my room and with his arm swept all my valuable possessions off the top of my bookshelf onto the floor of my room.

3B reminds me of when Mom told me that she loved her parents, but there were things they did that Mom vowed she would never do. She said that she was sure the same would be true for me, and she was right.

I don't want to pass along my short temper and quick anger to 3B--if it's not too late. And I'm counting on 3B to teach me how to avoid that fate--with some help from Mama, the parent sensei. That's another reason I miss them so much when we're apart like this--they're my guides. How will I know how to behave when they're not around to keep me straight? Sure, they're always on my mind and in my heart wherever I go, but it's not the same as having them here.

Then again, if 3B were here, I wouldn't be able to enjoy this delectable absinthe drink 36,000 feet over Kansas City.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!


  1. s short12:15 PM

    What a candid note about learning from our children! I, too, am a student of patience, with my child as teacher. In my kitchen, I have this dollar-store scroll that says, "In time the butterfly emerges. In time, we know that 'patience' is another word for 'power.'"

  2. So true what we learn form our kids. My oldest will laugh with me over how he is the guinea pig. Most of what I learned, I learned from him through trial and error. Of course there is plenty more to learn from each subsequent child too. In the end Patience is the real key word. Now if only I had some.

  3. I wonder how the experimental model ever makes it to adulthood. Good luck with the next one and tempers. She could turn out exactly like her Mama, which would be a good thing.

  4. My short-temper is on my long list of things to fix. I can see reflections of it in my boys and I want to nip it before it nips them.

  5. Glad to know I'm not the only one cheating off of my kid's homework. So, when you all get this patience thing figured out, be sure to let me know.