This morning, I tore up one side of my ten-year-old son. Then tore down the other.
He seethed. I seethed. We shot daggers from our eyes at one another.
We’re firmly implanted in his tween years – and are experiencing some new highs and new lows.
He complained strongly about going to camp, so I’d spent the morning oh-so-NOT -gently reminding him of how freaking awesome his life is.
And how entitled he is behaving.
And how tired of his behavior I am.
Something I said about entitlement must’ve struck him because he looked at me and said, “Can I help with the laundry?”
I pretended his reaction wasn’t shocking and threw him some towels to fold. While we steamed at each other and folded in stony silence, he gave up the reason for his asinine behavior all morning.
I just hate the swimming. I hate it so much. It’s too cold in the morning to swim. It’s so stupid. Why does camp have to have swimming?
Moms. Come on. Do you feel for this kid or what?
But I didn’t want to continue being negative and angry, so I said, “So don’t swim, Jack. I don’t care. I just don’t care if you swim.”
<Snivel. Snivel. Wipes back of hand across nose.>
But. But. But then I get a red wristband.
And the kids with the red wristbands get made fun of all week.
A ha. Gotcha now, kiddo.
A “be the bigger person” tirade or encouragement to rise above the jerks of the camp world would fall flat. And, most importantly, I wanted this kid out of my house so I could start my own day.
“Ok, Jackadoo. Here’s the thing: you’ve got choices.”
Here, he rolled his eyes. Poor kid gets away with ZERO victim talk in this house.
I trucked on, impervious to his tweeny eyes.
“Get in the damned water and do the stupid test. Get your green band. We both know you’re a great swimmer. Be uncomfortable for 15 minutes. Then choose – or not – to swim the rest of the week.
“Or, don’t get in the water. Stay warm. Take the red band. And be upset the rest of the week. Five days of uncomfortable. This seals your choice, though. You’ll have no other options.
“Both are uncomfortable. Both are not your favorite. Both are hard.
“Choose your hard. One hard thing is over this morning after 15 minutes of discomfort. The other hard thing lasts all week and will wear you down.
“You ALWAYS have a choice, Jack. ALWAYS.”
During tumultuous emotional storms, we don’t feel like we have any choices. Often, both choices are difficult.
And whether we choose to move through the hard or stay stuck in it determines our LIFE.
Stay stuck in the current hard situation – and you’re there forever. Comfortably uncomfortable.
Move through it and do the hard thing – and find ease on the other side of the hard.
(PS: Guess which hard Jack chose?)
There’s no way out except through. Need support?
You know where to find me.