Call it the Fall winds, the thrill of the spy themed Christmas music he’d been practicing or just the excitement of being in a crowded room of children dressed as masters of espionage, but Stink was HYPER AS HECK on Thursday. He dashed out of the practice room like a bat out of hell. Every person he’d pass he scream, “Eat! Your! Vegetables!”
Rest assured, that trio of words was not some wonky verbal tic. It was likely something from his script or some improv that tickled his fancy. He was probably just reliving the high. But honestly, it was inappropriate to say the least. I’m all for eccentric theatrical artists. I’m not a fan of scaring young babies out of their strollers with bug eyes and legume threats – especially if the veggies are not GMO free. I mean really, for gosh sake, I live in Los Angeles surrounded by lots of organic minded mamas. I could get sued.
I was annoyed. I was frustrated. I was tired. But I was also, in retrospect, elated, because one thing I was not was embarrassed.
Not ONCE did I think, “What will other people think of my child’s behavior?” My entire response was based on the interest of my own child to act with respect and dignity for himself and those around him because good behavior is important to function in this world. Other’s reactions are inconsequential.
For someone who started this blog out of the need to suppress tics for Stink’s sake, my sake and, truthfully, to not have others have the wrong opinion about my precious boy, I have come a long way.
If any of you are worried about what other people will think about your kids, I want you to know that I’ve been there. I still dip my toes in those waters when people don’t circle the wagons around him when he needs it most – when friends let him down – when my own “friends” make veiled excuses why their kids can’t hang with my kid as much for whatever social climbing b.s. they choose to participate in.
I get sad about human behavior, but I don’t get sad about my kid, because in the end, he is on this earth to make a difference as Stink – not a shadow of someone else who, for this small moment in time, might seem like a “cool” kid but in the long run will be facing their demons while my eccentric art kid is at Harvard or Art School doing a thesis on the “Dance of Vegetables.”
Today, as I finish up (I do mean finish) the epilogue to my book, I am ending a long few years of silence… of breaking away from the noise and clanging of social group chatter. I am coming up for air refreshed and more balanced than ever before. Although painful at first, taking time for me was incredibly liberating, because it forced me to face a lot of demons in my life, from my marriage, to my own writing abilities, to my children. What I discovered, in going to battle, was how to draw boundaries and rise up stronger than ever before with an amazing husband, children and a few true friendships by my side.
So much good has come out of this refinement process, but the greatest has been to live in future. People might quote meditation as being the best thing because you’re present, but for a mother of a son who might have a hard day of ticking, the idea of living in the presence of incessant head nods and throat clears sounds like hell. During these times, while of course working to accept the moment, I find it so helpful to look at his future – one where he has risen above social norms and become stronger and greater because of adversity. When I look at my son as the beautiful adult he will be because of the tapestry that T.S. and his eccentric personality has painted, I am much calmer in my present.
In closing, I am reading Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly.
In it, she speaks of her famous T.E.D. talk on vulnerability. She lectures about how, in talking to people about connection, she often hears about their deepest shame. She reveals that it isn’t until we face our shame and love ourselves from the inside out that we can connect to others.
I have a lot to learn and love about myself and others, but when my son vollies inside jokes at unsuspecting strangers and my only thought is “Stop that!” and “Oh, that reminds me, we need to buy brocalli” I know I have transformed more than I could ever have dreamed possible.
I encourage you, too, my readers, to dare greatly, focus on the future, and always eat your vegetables.