Tag Archives: Destiny

Happy heart

Mythankfulboy did not feel especially well last night.  He came into my 67 degree room and asked if the heat was on.   He didn’t seem to have a fever, but definitely had a cough developing.  He doesn’t want to miss school, though.  In middle school he would have wanted to go to school for social reasons; in high school he doesn’t want to miss the coursework.

When he was ready for bed he popped his head into my room and said goodnight with a wave.  I said, “Woah woah woah – where are you going?”  He said, “Oh yeah!” and came in and sat down, saying, before his fanny hit the chair, “I’m thankful for DLC (something to do with an expansion of the video game Destiny), and that you picked me up from school today.”   He then stood up as though to leave, and I told him to wait for my contribution.  He stopped, and walked over to lay his hand on my arm and listen.  I told him I was thankful for getting a few things accomplished, both at home and for work.  I thanked him for, earlier, in the afternoon, turning his frustration at being asked to leave his game into helping me work with a happy heart.  He grinned, winked, and left the room to go to bed.


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Posted by on September 22, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Inherent dignity

Mythankfulboy got in the car yesterday after baseball practice and seemed reserved.  I asked how his day was.  He said, “Well, I got in trouble.”

It has always been true of B that he cannot have anything making him feel guilty hanging over his head.  When he was little he couldn’t even manage a “Hi” before he spilled the beans on whatever had happened.

So, yesterday I asked what happened and he said that he had had his iPod out in class when they were allowed to, but he hadn’t heard the teacher say to put it away when everyone else did, so it was taken until I go to the school to pick it up.  We had an incident a few months back when he had been showing a teacher a video on Youtube and allowed it to keep going as he walked away from her and into the hallway when an administrator took it from him.  At that point the administrator told him that if anything else happened he wouldn’t be allowed to go on the big class field trip for the year.  I reminded B of this yesterday, and he said that no one had said anything to him about that yet.  And this kid got to participate in a special dodgeball tournament for being a exemplary student a month ago – these are seriously mixed messages.

Part of me says, yes, the device should have been confiscated, but to ban him from going on the educational year-end field trip seems pretty silly.  Part of me says that he knew the consequences and now he needs to suffer them.  To add to this latter point, I told him I wouldn’t pick up the iPod until Monday, despite the fact that I could have gone today.  This isn’t really that big a deal because he has a computer and an Xbox through which he can communicate with friends, but I figured some minor inconvenience was worth it.  Of course, it also inconveniences me because he might have a baseball game this afternoon but it might get rained out, and he would usually text me to tell me what to do.  Oh well.

So, he was reserved all evening, except, of course, when yelling and laughing with friends while playing the latest iteration of Plants vs. Zombies (PVZ).  At our chalice lighting, he was thankful for PVZ as an alternative to Destiny, his usual game of choice, because he’s waiting for a new version of Destiny to come out to relieve his boredom with the current version.  I was thankful that Donald Trump was trounced in the Wisconsin primary, but, because that broke our gratitude rule that we’re not to be thankful for things that cause other people pain, I amended to say that I was grateful New York and Vermont were standing up to Mississippi’s law that discriminates against the LGBTQ community by banning non-essential travel to the state.  This led to a mention of Paypal’s decision to pull plans for a new facility in North Carolina following the state’s passage of a bill that keeps its cities from being able to write non-discrimination policies, a reaction to Charlotte’s city council passing an ordinance allowing people to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify.

I mention this in detail here, because I hope that someday, when B reads this as an adult, he will be flabbergasted that states ever behaved in this discriminatory way, and he will recognize the ways that corporations and governments can use their clout to try to shut it down.  I hope, should he have children, that he can be glad to pass along a country that made its way through and beyond hate based on gender identity and who we love.  This morning on the car radio, among the audio clips of people reacting to the Mississippi saga, someone made reference to the “inherent dignity” of all people, and B snapped his head around to grin at me, recognizing its similarity to Unitarian Universalism’s first principle: “The inherent worth and dignity of every person”.

Preach on.


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Posted by on April 7, 2016 in Uncategorized


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On the same team

Mythankfulboy and I get along really well, which is spoken with great gratitude and trepidation since he is a young teen.  Still, I offer this thought to preface a description of a brief period of tension and angst we had over the weekend.

Over the weekend I had a fever, and was in a bit of a fog for most of Saturday.  In the afternoon sometime I realized that B had been gaming (Destiny on Xbox One) pretty much since he’d been awake.  He’d checked on me as he passed by for food or the bathroom, but otherwise he had been gaming.  So, I asked him to come in to where I was sitting and I asked him to calculate the number of hours he’d been at the console.  He calculated, “About 5”.  I said, “Then that’s plenty, don’t you think?”  He wasn’t sure how to answer this.  He knew the expected answer was “Yes ma’am”, but everything in his adrenaline-pumped being was saying “Uh, no.”  What he actually said was, “Ok. Can I just finish this one thing?” then he returned to his room, finished that one thing, and joined me in the living room where he proceeded to talk over the Hallmark Christmas movie into which I’d been sucked.  It crossed my mind that I should have waited until my movie was over to take a stand, but instead I just told him to hush and let me watch my movie.  So he pulled out his iPod.  Ok, well, I wasn’t going to fight that screen when I was screening, myself.

When my movie was over I built a fire in the stove and moved to the new location.  He joined me there and, after some quiet fireside contemplation asked, “Can I just ask why, if it makes me happy, you don’t want me to do it?”  A good question, right?  I chuckled and gave him the not-all-things-that-make-us-happy-are-good talk, mixed deftly with the gaming-turns-your-brain-to-mush talk and the being-able-to-postpone-pleasure-is -correlated-with-better-life-outcomes-according-to-the-marshmallow-study talk.   He harrumphed and went to bed at 8:00.

The next morning I asked him if he wanted to make monkeybread with me, and he happily bounded into the kitchen.  After a few minutes of working side-by-side, I asked if he was still mad at me.  He said, “Well, yes.  I mean, I don’t know.  What’s the difference between angry and frustrated?”  I told him that angry was when frustration overtakes you, and you go from feeling like you can deal to feeling like you can’t.  He never really said if he was actually angry (based on that definition), but he expressed, again, that gaming was something he loved to do and he wished I wouldn’t put a time limit on it.  Then he suggested that he be able to game several hours, as long as some of the time was in the morning and some was in the afternoon/evening.  I told him I thought that was a really good step towards self-monitoring, and that I could work with that, but I still needed to say no more than 4 hours on weekends.  The only reason I allow that much is because I hear some really wonderful things being discussed and managed socially when he’s online with his friends.  Earlier today I heard him chastise someone for using the word autism in what must have been a derogatory or flippant way (“Man, autism is a trigger for me when you use it like that.  You’ve gotta find a different way to say that” – we may need to talk about the word “trigger”, but I thought he handled the situation fairly well).  He also has no problem with my listening to his side of the discussions – he doesn’t have much choice because we live in tight quarters.

So, the discord was over just like that, but his questions are still with me.  Why not do whatever makes you happy?  What is the difference between angry and frustrated?  When you’re a teen, who should be in charge of your time?  I’m reminded that his brain is gearing up for independence, but isn’t there yet, and he still needs – craves – boundaries, assurances, and information he can trust.  So, tonight, as I listen to him talking, planning, and giggling with his game-friends, I am grateful that he and I are still on the same team.

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Posted by on November 25, 2015 in Uncategorized


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When being a good parent hurts your heart (from 9/14/15)

Being a young teen in a split family in which one-half has remarried and acquired additional kids stinks.  At least it does for my young teen in our split family in which the-other-half has remarried and has acquired additional kids.  Nothing untoward has happened, and nothing crazy, and I can actually say that I like his stepmother fine, but my 13-year old has a predictably small view of the world and is devastated by his dad’s choices on a daily basis.  Yesterday, post-baseball game, after sharing that he was annoyed that his step-brother (younger) wants to be a character from his (B’s) favorite Xbox game (Destiny), he was surprised to have both me and Mom2 (his friend’s mom and his mom’s friend) say that this annoyance was classic big brother/little brother stuff, and that he should reframe it, because this kid and he might do well to support one another in a situation for which neither asked. He argued briefly, then, clearly outnumbered and out-communicated, he dropped it and moved to something else, doing so with relative ease: resignation, perhaps.

Several hours later, though, I was sitting quietly in my armchair when he draped himself from one arm of the chair (on which he laid his head) to the other arm (on which his curled-up legs rested), snuggled the rest of himself in the fetal position down into my lap, and began to cry.  He said, “Dad promised me he wouldn’t marry her, then he did.”  Keep in mind, dear reader, that his father and stepmother will have been together now for several years, and married for at least a year.  I listened to what he had to say, and then I told him that I hadn’t been there to know exactly what was said or meant, but that, regardless, the whole situation was not his fault, nor was it particularly fair, nor was it going away.  I told him that I hoped that he could work on forgiving his dad, not because it was his job to do so, but because I thought that he might someday really want to have a relationship with his dad, even if he didn’t feel like it just now.  I stroked his hair back from his face and told him that I loved him.

Eventually, he untangled himself and got ready for bed. He then re-joined me (standing this time) and asked me for what I was thankful.  I glanced towards the kitchen with a grin, and he said, “Oh yeah – the dishwasher – of course!” (a new one, having been delivered the day before).  I returned the question to him, wondering what he’d say after this stressful day.  He paused, looking off into the middle distance for a moment, then he said “My game, and that you helped me get it”, referring to an apparently epic Destiny update he’s had for a few days.

This is heartbreaking stuff for a momma.  The job of setting your own emotional reactions aside and looking out to the future to what you hope your circumstances might evolve in order to inform your current responses can be daunting.  And while it’s daunting, it is the grown-up thing to do and is a hell-of-a teaching moment with your child about how to handle disappointment, disagreement, and a feeling of rejection.  And so I do it.  I’m really, really, thankful that he doesn’t dismiss his moms’ thoughts and advice, and I’m equally thankful for the Mom2 back-up.  This won’t be the last I’ll hear about this, but I think he will at least think about, and will trust, our words and our love in offering them.

Blessed be.

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Posted by on September 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


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