I did promote that this week we would be fully back with print and podcast! But – as my post headings infer, we’re getting through this big move and transition and schedule change and and and – one day at a time. So here we are. No podcast. I had plans, but they didn’t make it to fruition. Soon though, soon.
Wednesday is about Gabriel.
The older kids get, the more your heart breaks for them, because being human is hard and cruel and they still don’t know it and you never want them to. But they sense it. They get whispers of it. And it is confusing.
Gabriel is goofy and loving. He is imaginative and earnest. He is careful and nervous. He loves his sister. He is annoyed by his sister. He watches over her and teaches her things and plays with her and wants to get away from her and wants her to stop playing with his toys. He shares with her, he comforts her, he shows her things. He includes her.
“Fae. Faaaaeeeeee. Look Fae! Look at this! See?”
Gabriel is also annoying. He whines. He demands. He throws tantrums. He is defiant. He is stubborn. He is crazy in the way toddlers are crazy. If something doesn’t happen the way he expects, he is difficult. He repeats an act 5 times until he is satisfied that you have seen him do it the way he wants you to see him do it.
He sings his own made up songs that are narrating his life. He dances. He shows me his dances 700 times a day. He sings along to songs in the car.
He requests snuggles. With blankets. Before he gets up in the morning he asks, “Can I snuggle with mama in mama’s bed?” But lately it’s changed. “Can I snuggle with mama in our bed?” Yes. Always. Every day.
He doesn’t like to be rushed in the mornings. This reality is hard for everyone to deal with. He gets upset if we have to do something RIGHT NOW. He will freeze and do nothing if you get mad at him. It is not an effective way to handle Gabriel. Flexibility, softness above sternness, listening, patience – these are the things that Gabriel needs, these are the things Gabriel has taught me.
The transition to a new home and a new school has been a lot for him and he is doing so well. He is also being extra difficult. Extra frustrating, extra annoying. But also, my heart breaks for him. He has no control. He just wants a little control, but he has none. Everything is new, the rules have all changed, his little brain is grasping at straws.
At Gabriel’s old school he was very much loved. People there had known him since he was 10 months old. So when annoying little boy things start to develop (As they do in every child. We can’t all stay sweet sweet 18 month olds forever), I know that they had already been charmed by him. This new school, that is not the case. They get a Gabriel that is trying to figure out what they are saying to him (Spanish immersion), while navigating new friends, a new classroom layout, and new expectations. He also has a cold and a cough that is keeping him from napping. I see all the things these new teachers could see: He refuses to eat most of his lunch, he doesn’t nap well, he is whiny and difficult, he doesn’t feel like doing the art projects and instead decides to sit quietly and cut up the paper, when you’re giving him a direction sometimes he interrupts you and does a silly dance and then asks you to watch him doing the silly dance 5 times.
I see all of the good and all of the bad and I hold my breath on his behalf that he is liked and loved and finds friends and is happy. But even if he was the most trouble and the most annoying, which he is not, but even if he was an absolute terror, I would still feel complete heartbreak if people didn’t like him.
When I feel the urge to apologize for his inconvenience (and don’t) the words that are swirling in my head are this: You have to know and understand how much I love him. Please be kind to him, because I love him. Please be gentle with him, because I love him.
It sounds so… simple and shallow. But it is so deep. His hurt is my hurt. His discomfort is mine. Except I feel it a million times more in my attempt to absorb the impact.