there there's another topic that has been on my summer itinerary, as well: raising sonz. with all of the joy and good times, there have been the occasional thorns in the garden.
just last night and this morning, i received the gift of cold eyes from my beloved sons when i tried to say that midnight was time to go to sleep, as there's alot to do tomorrow (today). then this morning, again, when i pointed out that there is serious reading yet to do for their school which starts in a week.
i'm sure that there are gentler ways of expressing these parental concerns. like many parents, i guess, i can be a bit of 'a bull in the china shop' with less than subtle communication with my children.
even then i'm not sure the boyz wud cut me much slack. they're so big, smart, adolescent and testosteroned that this may simply be a fact of life: boys need to rebel and establish their independence or dominance from their fathers.
i think shaku does it gentler or, possibly, there's that affectionate, childhood bond w/ our mothers that rides through these rough waves easier. sons and mothers is a different universe, it seems, than fathers and sons. just ask d.h. lawrence, for example. maybe mums are better able to express their nuturing nature when encouraging the boys or the separation from one's father is a different process. maybe i need to be a bit more observant and thoughtful when trying to direct the boys.
or stop trying to direct them and, as josh said this morning, simply let them fail. something we read yesterday was all about failure being the best teacher. g-d knows where it was, but i think it was something samuel beckett said about the fact that w/o failure there ain't no thing like success and w/o knowing where the bottom lies, you'll never find your way up -- or, something like that...
but, as others know, sometimes the parenting role is not always fun and one's left feeling sore after the encounters as the love is displaced and the frustration grows (on both sidez). as our adored children head into the rough and inspiring waters of teenager maturation, they do get harder to 'stage manage' and it's not always easy to simply let them float when we see the rapids ahead.
although smile stage left, our parentz went through the same (or more, maybe much more...) with us, no?
the boyz need space and time to become themselves while we parents represent domestic authority that they aren't interested in nor willing to easily accept. they are well on their way to becoming young men already at 17 and 16.
what's paul newman's classic line in 'road to perdition'? 'sons are put on this earth to torment their fathers.'
yet, the house is quiet now (we're at bruce's still...) while i hope they are reading, as we discussed. they each have their assigned reading. josh has a novel on post-vietnam. ez has two substantial books ('all the kings men', the huey long novel, and a national book award winner on the american civil rights movement in detroit, 'arc of justice') with a short paper. these need to be finished within the next ten dayz, plus they both have their varsity football camp/try-outs which begin tomorrow at nmh and continue through next week, as well as moving into school.
everything at nmh will be new for ezi and his friend, suraj, who joined us from nepal the other night for his first experience out of south asia!
vat's a father to say? when these boys are good, they're very good; when they're truculent, they're very resistent. the affection gets suppressed and the feeling of being a burden on their lives more acute -- while, of course, serving as the atm machine for their lives...
as my dear, wise friend scott said a decade ago, 'little kids; little problems. big kids; big problems.' but it's all resolveable, i believe, as long as i step away from the confrontations and try (forever try...) to not engage with my own personal frustration.
the ego battles are a large part of this, so best to avoid it all the time, at all costs, as much as possible. no 'egoizing' as they say in one of the property-less utopian worlds presented in 'the dispossessed'. or, just keep the ego under control. 'anicca', non-attachment, as the buddhists advise.
or, more poignantly, as dear george sang so exquisitely when we were young, 'all things must pass'...
or, one more, blood, sweat and tears, singing, 'god bless the child who's got his own'...
these kidz definitely got their own!! ;-)