Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Sweet Hour of Peace

Nick and Adrian took snowboard lessons today.  Thankfully, the instructors took over when the boys started asking me questions, trying to rpe me into tying their boots.  It was easy to answer them.

"Oh, I don't have any idea," I said.  "I've never been snowboarding."  It's true.  I left Adrian with boots that weren't laced up tight enough.  Okay, I could have figured out how to manage the newfangled wire tighteners on the boots, but why?  I'm not going to be with them half-way up the mountain to help them get the things adjusted the right way. 

"I can't do it with my gloves on," he said.

"Well, then take your gloves off," I said.  It seemed heartless.  I just don't want them asking me to do things for them that they should, for safety's sake, do for themselves.   Okay, I'll admit that wasn't the only reason.  Self-reliance is a good word for eleven-year-old boys who are both only children.  No, that was not my only reason either.  I get tired. 

I get tired of hauling junk, toys, costumes, rocks, that I didn't carry out of the car, but magically end up in my hands when they get too heavy.  I get tired of being the garbage receptacle when something needs to be thrown out.  I have actually seen Nick take more steps to reach me with garbage than he would have to reach the garbage can. That is so not going to happen.  I get tired of tying boots, packing snacks, attaching lift tickets, and fixing snagged zippers.  When I do these things for them, do they learn?  I don't think so.  But the sad fact is that I simply get tired of fixing the world for them.  I'm beginning to feel the lowly servant, the valet, the doorman, the slave.  Plus, there is attitude in an eleven-year-old that is completely missing in a toddler.  Oh, you will not do that to me.  No you won't.  My son is the one who uses attitude with me, not Adrian, though I have seen him do it to his own mom.

I used to do all of these things automatically.  There's nothing worse than letting a four-year-old hold onto the wrapper from an orange popsicle in the back of your car until he can find a garbage can to throw it away.  Orange dribbles stains do not wipe off easily from gray leather seats and years later, that stickiness is still in the cracks where you have to put your hand to find the lost Lego part that just fell off and disappeared.  You're not going to make a toddler carry all those diapers, wipes, snacks, and warm clothing either.  Toddlers are a way off from tying their own shoes, or even putting them on the right feet.

Yet, something happened along the way. 

The boys grew up, and, when things get complicated, they still expect me to tie their shoes, carry the icky garbage, and haul their gear when they pack too much.  Thankfully, the diapers have gone away. 

I try to remember that boys used to go off to apprentice when they were seven or eight.  That might not be a bad idea, at least for a few days so I have time to go see the Gauguin exhibit without once hearing anyone yell 'Mom' as if I'm in trouble.  I'm leaning toward Nick going on more Boy Scout camp outs on his own as well.  Oh, I love camping, but I could use some quiet time, some time for which I am not in demand.  Is that the universal complaint of mothers whose chicks are growing too big for the nest? 

I wanted to hug the snowboard instructor who came up to me and firmly told me I could go relax, then got Adrian on his butt with his boots off to adjust them.  I watched for a minute.  He didn't tighten that wire for him.  He took his own boot off and showed him how to adjust the wire.  (Adrian knew how to adjust the wire.)  Then I saw Adrian take off his gloves and put his boot back on, tighten the wire, and tie the 'complicated' laces.  He wasn't too happy about it.  Ha!  Then I went off to find an espresso and a book with my name on it.

Oh, I could see them vaguely from where I sat and I casually walked in the right direction when my sweet hour of peace was up.  The boys were already sliding down the snowy hill toward me, peeling off extra layers of clothes after their effort.  I love spring skiing for that.  (I am a cross-country skier by nature.)

They had grins across their faces. 

"We're going on the lifts for our next lesson!" Adrian said.  Now, aren't you glad you can adjust your boots all by yourself when you make it up there?  I didn't say it.  I just grinned back at them.

Thank you for listening, jb

No comments:

Post a Comment