How is it that something as simple as a coat hook outside of Jack’s classroom has become my new higher power?
Hang on, I’m gonna get philosophical.
Maybe that’s humanity’s issue with God. We get so disatisfied with the results we are given, mainly because they don’t seem to be in line with what WE want, that we are so quick and willing to grant that worship onto the strangest of distractions in this world. Some of us gamble, some of us drink, some of us watch too many sports, some of us gossip, some of us fancy ourselves of elite intellect. These past 2 weeks if I’m not actively seeking a conscious connection with God, it’s because I am too busy worrying about Jack’s interaction with the coat hook outside his classroom.
There are some things Jack has trouble with. His development has come in leaps and bounds, but some of the more abstract things about language and simple interactions elude his growing mind right now. He doesn’t understand why he cannot get his backpack off the hook by simply pulling down on it with all his strength.
Jack’s teachers have spoken of an “acceptable frustration”. That he will look for the easier route and that it’s up to Mom and Dad to eliminate that route.
He likes to eat with his hands?
“Jack, use your fork.”
It’s quicker in the morning to just dress him?
Get up 15 minutes earlier and verbally guide him to dress himself.
He’s thinking of buying a timeshare in Miami?
Remind him how much he hates humidity.
So, yeah, we both get frustrated. I watch him trying and direct him to lift it up off the hook and I start to think “He doesn’t get it.” I get more worked up then he does, and before I know it I have lost THE MOMENT due to my reactions to a curved piece of iron.
I start fantasizing about all the other, more viable, options for backpack hanging. I start romanticizing about the good old days of 6 months ago when these damn hooks were but a thought and “cubbies” were the thing to do. Finally, I land on the most unfair of conclusions: it’s Jack. He just doesn’t get it. Within milliseconds I am projecting a million different scenarios and most have some level of gloom. I know I can’t stay there. Can’t go down that rabbit hole because before I know it I’m diagnosing my son and living life like the next 5 years have already happened. I’m a prey to misery and depression and the thought “Well, what’s the point of all this anyway.” starts to creep in.
It’s about this time when I put my hand over Jack’s, I look him in the eyes and I go “It’s okay.” We lift the backpack off the hook together and we leave that ancient machinery we lovingly call a “coat hook” behind us. We are onto bigger and better things.
Jack and I have a pretty great day and I (and hopefully we) don’t carry that frustration with us.
The truth is Jack DOESN’T get it and neither do I. I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time, especially if it has nothing to do with reciting Batman facts. I’m a bundle of experience and over reaction somehow wrapped into a bag of meat of which I have tenuous control. In all that, I am also a father. I have dominion and legal responsibility over another bag of said meat. I can’t know something I havent yet learned. I don’t know a damn thing about something I have no experience with (despite what I’d like to believe), so I rely on those I love and those that have experience with what I’m attempting to do. I’m trying to raise my son, so I call my father. He puts it in the most beautifully simplistic way:
“So what, George?! He’s a slow learner. He’s a Ricciardella.”
I love that so much that I wonder if I could’ve gotten more comforting words and yet I do. Jack is not only MY son. So, I talk to my wife and I recount Jack’s frustration and my reactionary frustration and how the world is sure to come to an end because of MY morning. Allison simply responds:
“Growing up is hard.”
And I’m at peace again. I’m made whole again and can get back to work. All this, despite not knowing if Allison was referring to Jack or to me. It doesn’t really matter.
Oh, and I bought that new dining set.