My Mother has paid us a recent visit and I have yet to record the experience. Over all, it was pleasant; and though I spent four out of the nine days she was here in the hospital, I think the rest of the family would agree.
I learned alot about her while she was here. One being that she develops emotional attachments to things and gets offended when others don't do the same. For example....she made jewelry for my girls and gave them to them when she got here. Well, Lauren just wanted to carry hers around, puting it on and taking it off many times throughout the day. Well Mom didn't like this idea and insisted that she didn't care about them because she wasn't keeping them put up. I told her that wearing them was her way of showing that she liked them, and I didn't want to make her put them away. She then said "Fine, then I won't make her anything ever again if that is how she is going to treat them." Which didn't make sense to me, because I would feel flattered if she wanted to wear them all the time. I think my Mom likes things better when they are "put away", as in not being used for their intended purpose. For instance.....books that stay neatly on a shelf, jewelry in the jewelry box, antiques on a shelf, towels and sheets folded neatly in the linen closet, games in their boxes, shoes in the shoe box.....I could go on and on. As if it's a disappointment when they get used. Like they aren't allowed to serve their intended purpose, or "these shoes aren't important to you unless they last you for three years. If you wear them out in a month, I'll know that they are not important to you." (Isn't that backwards???) I use to share this mentality until I had children of my own and thankfully realized how rediculous it is. I will spare my children the burden of "saving things." I know that emotional attachments to things only brings disappointment. I have a freind who once said "I learned a long time that you have to choose between things and children, I chose to have children." What great wisdom.
She also mentioned to me (several times) that Caleb has such a hard time in life and why is he such an angry child? That he needs to learn to share and not get so mad when the other kids take his stuff. What????? He just spent 3 hours making this intricate Lego masterpeice and he shouldn't get mad if Lauren or Harrison destroys it? (Maybe this is another example of emotional attachment to things, if so I guess I am a hypocrite and I should not have defended him). Anyway, I said "Mom, he is the oldest, he is 10 and just wants to have his own stuff left alone. He is very good to his sibs. He plays well with them, but also wants his own time, too. What is wrong with that?" So she says...."Are you always going to defend him? When are you going to admit that he is a brat and do something about it? You shouldn't play favorites, you know." So I then replied "Mom, I don't favor him or treat him any different than I do the others and I won't ever think of him as a brat. I just know him, his heart, his needs and his frustrations and am doing my best to raise him and make him feel important. Yes, he expresses anger in a much more noticable way than the other children, but it is something we are aware of and working on. We all have our weaknesses. He is not a little adult with all of his passions bridled, his emotions always under control or his temper in check. (Most adults don't, BTW). He is a learning, growing, changing person who has only 10 years experience in life. I think he is doing great!" She then gave me the "Well, whatever. I guess we will just agree to disagree, then." We then had a phone conversation after she was home when she again said "I don't know why Caleb is such an angry child, do you?" She says it as if it is a label that he should be locked into, like it is a disease he has and he will never escape it. Does she want to condem him? That is how I feel when she says it. I am sick of her bringing this up. I personally don't think he is an angry child. Am I missing something? Is she misunderstanding him? Am I blind? When she says this I question my relationship with him. Do I really know him or am I just fooling myself? Does she (with all of her age and wisdom) see something that I don't? Is he going to grow up hating me as his Mother and the rest of the world just because they are there? NO!!!!! It is not like that. He is a son of God, a special and sincere person who loves, laughs and lives. We did take him to a behavorial clinic a few months ago just to find out how we could parent him better. Mind you, this process did not stem from him being angry, this has never been a concern for us. We had him evaluated because we were concerned about him worrying about so many things (adult worries) and because we felt like he was having a hard time focusing on things that had to do with him. There are two important things that we learned about Caleb during this evaluation. One being that he often feels "brushed aside" (so easy to do to the oldest of five kids) and the other thing is that he feels like he doesn't get enough one on one time with us. This is a time management issue that we need to change. As we have worked on these things, Caleb has gotten better in alot of areas. When she brought this up (again), I just decided that she wants him to be angry. And maybe he did act up more when she was here (I didn't notice it). Maybe he just feels like she doesn't like him.
I love this child and am honored to be raising him. I know that he will go far in life and need not listen to those who want to get in his way. I will protect him from those who want to put dots him. (Think of the Max Lucado story :)