I am down in Kentucky with my son Cody for a baseball tournament. There are 2 moms and 5 teenage boys. We spent about 7 hours in the car yesterday (OK, two cars) and then we've had two baseball games so far today and at least 2 more. Hopefully there will be even more games because that means they are winning. So far they have won both their games so it's great.
I just love watching the interaction of the boys together. It's really like a completely different culture these teenagers. They seem to grunt and mumble yet they understand each other. I just went into their room and the floor is covered with dirty clothes and there is quite a smell seeping under the crack of the door. Yet, there they lie, on their computers and phones, watching TV and goofing around together. Happy as can be. Not bothered by any of it.
The other aspect of this trip I am finding fascinating is to watch the relationship the other mom I am with has with her 2 boys. The way she talks to them, the way she treats them and the way they treat her. It is so interesting to see another family dynamic.
I catch myself going back and forth between thinking "Ugh! Why does she let him do that?" to "Oh look how sweet it is that her son is carrying that chair for her and she didn't even ask. Where the hell is my son and why isn't he helping me?" It's like going back and forth between judgment and jealousy.
I am so happy that I am aware of my thoughts enough to be able to catch myself in these moments and take a bit of time to reflect on them. I've been thinking about trying to learn some lessons from these moments together with all of these different souls to make this trip successful on a whole new level.
Here are the top 3 lessons I have learned so far:
1. Love always wins
Watching my friend interact with her sons there is one common theme that runs throughout every word and every action and that is love. You know she loves her boys...she adores them and she lets them know every chance she gets.
She seems to treat them as if they are still small boys at times, excessively worrying about them, doting on them, doing things for them and really taking care of them.
Now, I LOVE AND ADORE my son yet our relationship is more of an adult relationship where I expect him to be mature. He knows I love him, I tell him several times a day but it's different.
I think there are positive traits to both styles and I think I've learned that it's OK for me to let go and give him the kind of love I gave him when he was little...in small doses. :o)
2. Boys will be boys and it's OK
I was raised to behave. To be polite at all costs, not to make a scene, not to be loud, and not to "get into trouble." I find myself getting frustrated at some of the things these teenage boys are saying and doing at times. Now I assure you it really isn't anything terrible. They aren't breaking anything, being disrespectful or what-have-you. They are really just being boys.
I watch as my friend sits by and lets them be who they are and doesn't feel the need to step in and tell them what they should be saying or doing the way I am compelled to do. I watch as she smiles and relaxes as they do things that would normally make me cringe (yes, I have high expectations). :o)
I have been stepping back and letting my son be his own person. It's funny because on one hand I'm learning to love him more like a boy and to respect him more like a man. Wow, that's huge!
3. I am proud of my bravery
I am used to being who I am and I guess I don't always give myself credit for my positive traits. Being on the road with my friend and watching her make decisions based on fears has been enlightening. It's been so funny to watch our reactions to different situations. Usually I am thinking, "Wow, that's so great!" or "How cool!" and she is thinking, "Oh, that is so scary." or "That freaks me out."
I used to be there girl that thought of every worst case scenario and thought it through in my head over and over again. I would catch myself driving down the street imagining a car crash or thinking about something happening to my children. I have worked very hard for years to release myself from that and while I knew I conquered it, seeing someone else do it really shone a light on my healing.
I am heading off to sleep knowing that I am learning, growing, and healing and I am grateful for the lessons I am learning. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!