Thursday, 25 February 2010

Jigsaws and Bridges

Another parental achievement deftly pulled off after more than a few months of teen angst. These successes have felt very few and far between with son constantly feeling "less than" and having "less than". Whilst any attempts from us to build him up have been rebuffed or minimised as he sunk deeper and deeper into Xbox giving lip service to all the homework and studying he reckoned he was doing for his GCSEs in a matter of months.

Today he is sweet sixteen. The "sweet" is an interesting adjective because he has been quite sweet this morning! As we are sending him paintballing with a few friends that is his main present, though now have negotiated postponing until the weather is just not so freezing or wet. Disappointing stuff when he wants everything and he wants it now. But if we spent all that money and it was just a disaster from beginning to end it would be a waste. With that backdrop trying to salvage something of his sixteenth was a challenge. A couple of days ago I was near one of those outlet centres where the prices were still not special enough, but  a sports shop had some great deals on clothes and for once I have chosen him a hoody and two tee shirts that he seemed genuinely pleased with, and then travelled round finding a store that sold zippo lighters. He had wanted one for his birthday, and although we had categorically said no, I knew he only wanted it to flick and light and he was neither into smoking or arson.

It was a huge measure of how much we trusted him after all, and I think he was pretty wrapped up with his little gifts. For me, with the difficult relationship I had with him since his drinking episode last summer, it was like a small wooden bridge had been created which he and I could both begin to make tentative steps across to the other. Feeling brave I launched into voicing an idea that involved him selling his Xbox and us putting the extra money towards either a customised skateboard or a BMX bike, and paying for him to go to one of the big skate parks once a month. Once I had clarified his paintball outing was safe and nothing to do with this, he actually embraced the idea. We'll talk some more about it when he comes home tonight, and has his chosen Chinese takeaway for his birthday dinner. He has gone off to school smiling and with a spring in his step. Gosh. My baby is growing up. And me too.

These last few months have been so very interesting in my life with little jigsaw pieces falling into place until, suddenly, the bigger picture has shown itself. And the extraordinary thing, for which I have been so especially grateful, is that each of these pieces have been borne by friends. A piece from November suddenly comes into it's own in February and so forth until what I have now is a very different  me having found a direction in my life and not just thinking or talking about but instead out there training and getting qualified and experienced. More about that another time as it is so amazing to me I want to travel just a bit further along the path before saying more.

Recent times have shown me as starting projects or activities with all the gusto necessary, theorised and explained as being right, and then melting away into another good idea. So that is a huge fear sitting there as to whether this is the same. Only time will show. Meanwhile I am doing things that I am feeling confident about to some extent, with only more practise needed. I am soaking up information and retaining it very easily, and generally everything is flowing so easily. That has to be a good sign.

Talking of travelling, I have some very exciting weeks ahead as I am honoured that I have been asked to accompany a dear girlfriend of mine to another country where she will have some important facial surgery. It will be another of life's adventures to be there for her through this time. On the flip side, I will not have been away from my darling Mr Doris for this long before so that will be an effort and a half but should make the reunion more special.


Anji said...

I'm pleased that you've had the time to blog before you go off.

I know exactly how you feel about your 16 year old, mine was 19 at the beginning of the week and I've been through exactly the same. Olivier did sell his Xbox and I think became nicer for it, though he was into football and car driving games so I don't think he was filling himself with violence. I could have written the same post a year or so ago, it's strange seeing it all written down by someone else!

I'm glad that the jigsaw of your life is fitting together so well.

Have a good trip and I know that you will look after your precious charge for us.

Jo said...

Happy Birthday to you know who!!!

Gawd...I'm no rubbish...I really should have remembered. :-(

Anji said...

The Simon Brett play on Radio 4 friday lunch time had a bored teenage boy whining on about his xBox. Seems that they are everywhere!

Anji said...

Happy Easter!

Anji said...

Just popping by to say hello. Hope all is well with you and yours.