I’ll bet parenting isn’t the only thing that create sudden surges of, “oh yeah…I remember that.” In my case, it was a teen thing a couple of years ago. Maybe you can relate.
The other morning I was watching my son make a jug of iced tea and had an experience of validation. He and I had both been up coughing most of a couple of nights with a virus. This is the time of year that we either get really concerned about him getting sick, or try to forget how sick he was as a preschooler at this time of year when he had spinal meningitis.
It was also a morning where my husband and I were waking up knowing that we have some huge and challenging decisions to make by the start of the new week. The challenging part being that I was waking up coughing my toenails off trying to take care of my sons, and he was waking up in another state trying to remember what time zone he’s in and saying Hail Mary’s that he’ll be able to catch an earlier flight home.
There are times when this particular son of mine really, really reminds me of my father. My father is also the middle guy of three children, and there is a large gap between he and his younger sister. My son is the middle of three boys. So, despite the sister thing, I often figure that a lot of our family dynamics now are what life was like for my father as a boy .
Let me list some of the qualities that my father and son seem to have in common:
So what does all of this have to do with tea making and validation?
More than one person has suggested that I am my father’s daughter in all ways. It’s true. We often both entertained and annoyed my mother by doing the same things in the same ways on the same day. I inherited a lot of his looks, thought patterns, interests, skills, and habits both good and bad.
Back to the cold tea. My son needed a cold drink and there was nothing that would work. I was coughing and having a hard time catching my breath while even talking, and he couldn’t remember how he’d planned on making the perfect jug the next time he had to do the job. I had parked myself at a table near him and was trying to use some hot herbal tea to get my bearings, and remember what day of the week we were actually on. I was trying to be patient with helping him remember exactly how he made the last jug.So as he worked on remembering his last jug of near perfection, and navigated a very large mountain of dishes in the sink,I had one of those moments when you fall in love with your kid again. He’s a teenager, so I couldn’t gush. He’s particularly non gush anyway. He had his back turned once he got rolling so I could watch him very closely and mentally gush to my hearts desire.
He used precision, thought, and carefulness to get it just right.
It was just a few moments…but so intensely sweet.
I thought to myself while watching: “Is this my father or my son here?”
The validation, I suppose, was not just a little moment of reconnecting with the most frustrating and most endearing sides of both my son and father. It was also a few minutes of positive self-reflection. It was a nice reminder that this slow and careful behavior that the three of us have under pressure is, well, graceful.
Yeah. It was. Nice reminder that is.