April 13, 2010
Did you ever watch Jerry Springer or Maury Povich or one of those talk shows when they had people on who would beat their baby mama? Or worse, beat their children? "Why do you do it?", they would ask. "I just love her so much that she makes me soooo crazy." Or , "why don't you leave him?, they would ask. "'Cause I know he really loves me", they would reply. Really? If you love someone, you don't beat them. I read that somewhere.
Why do I bring this up, you may wonder. Well, my opportunity to test the theory came last weekend.
As you know, CJ has been preparing for a month or so for a drum solo competition. There were times when he was not as into practicing as I wanted him to be, so we worked that out through hours of discussion. It was not actually hours, but I am sure it seemed like it to him. Then we battled through illness and homework and all these things to get him to the point where he felt ready, and really was. Then I came home from work Thursday night, and he needed pants and a belt for the competition. I had just come home from 11 hours at Target, but I knew that was where we could get him some pants. We headed back out, ate some dinner at Frisch's, and then went to Target. Truth be told, we had a good time shopping because CJ is a real hoot to hang out with, but it was still two hours that I could have been lazing on the couch. Nonetheless, he was ready.
Then Beth worked out getting CJ to the competition. Both Beth and myself had to work, so Grandma had to become involved. Thank goodness for Grandma over the years as she has provided many hours of assistance and "free" babysitting. All systems were go for a great drum solo.
I called home from work, and CJ answered. When I asked how the competition went, he started with, "Well,..."
Now, my dad and my brother, and myself have an Erskine male tradition of starting not so good sentences with the word, "well". It is never a good sign. We knew grilling the family meal was not going goodly when my dad would utter the phrase, "Well, hell", from the back yard. We knew it was going to be KFC for dinner. If someone asks us a question like, "How did your drive home from school go?", and we started the answer with "Well, ..."; it may be likely that Mr. Police Officer was involved in our trip home. If Beth asked me how the soccer game went that I had just finished coaching, she knew enough when I would say, "Well, it could have been worse."
So I knew things had not gone great with CJ's solo. However, he continued the sentence by saying that the reason it had not gone well was that he had lost his sheet music. You have to have the sheet music to give to the judge for the competition. It is a rule. He had lost his.
My first reaction was not good. My brain starting setting off fireworks to rival that of the 4th of July. However, one huge deep breath later, I asked CJ if he was okay. He said mom had told him it was a good learning experience and everything would be okay. My anger had not subsided, but two things popped into my head that kept me from popping CJ's head off like a Barbie doll through the phone.
The first was that I love CJ very much. He is the most awesomest kid in the whole world, and his head is one of his most redeeming features. The second was that I was 13 years-old once. If I were to chronicle the stupid mistakes that I made when I was 13, it would rival that of the Odyssey trilogy. (probably not a trilogy, but it was a tragedy, right?) Besides, mom had acted calmly, so could I. So I kept my cool, told CJ I was sorry this happened to him, and I let him live.
So the next day, I got home from work and CJ showed me that he found his music at school that day. He held it up proudly. I looked at him, I looked at Beth, and I felt the sarcasm rising. Many questions popped into my brain. Should I make a remark that showed I was displeased? Should I whap him with said book? Who invented liquid soap and why? Is a low growl appropriate?
If you were thinking, I bet he did another good job of being calm and not using sarcasm on CJ at that moment, well...