Monday, November 11, 2013

Study Skills


On this Veteran's Day morn, my son is sitting a few feet away from me doing his EMT homework, which today happens to be all about weapons of mass destruction, chemical, biological, explosive and otherwise. How sobering this is for his mother, who must once again make peace with the fact that in any emergent crisis, no matter how threatening to life and limb, my son will be running toward.

He has been so diligent in his study. College was the best thing for this boy. I see how much he gained from it, how self-directed he is, how responsible to his commitments, and how much he also learned about his own style of study. If I could only describe how far he has come since middle school, when he felt as if his brain would explode with nightly homework, and the stress dynamic in our house centered completely around what he had been assigned that evening and getting him through it. Since then, he's learned he doesn't like to be isolated from company when he works, but would rather sit in the midst of the activity, his headphones in and playing piano music on Pandora, the wordless music and peripheral action siphoning off his excess attention, allowing him to focus.

Last night, as his dad watched football, at a certain point he set himself up at the kitchen counter and settled down to work. He's continuing his assignments now. He just muttered, "Now I have to take the exam, fuck!" and then groaned under is breath, "Ugh, sixty questions! Faaaaack!" But he's doing it. He's doing it beautifully.

Are we bad parents because we don't particularly care if our kids swear in our presence? My own mother would be appalled. Our kids know when to dial it back though. For instance, they would never use profanities in front of their grandmother.


I don't often get very good pictures of my son because he is not a willing subject. I have to sneak any pictures I do get, sometimes pretending that I am merely texting or browsing on my phone. The compromise is my son is very clear that I am unapologetic in this subterfuge.



12 comments:

  1. It's sort of weird how much I think about "our" children. Yours and Elizabeth's and Rebecca's Page and so forth. I feel a connection, a motherly connection. Or, perhaps, more aunt-like. Hell- grandmother-like! And you know what? I am SO proud of your kids. For absolutely no earned reason. But still- there it is. And I am proud of your boy.
    As to the profanity? Here's an old one of mine that you may find amusing and it expresses how I feel about our children cursing. http://www.blessourhearts.net/2008/07/educating-our-young.html

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    1. Oh Mary, I know, because I feel that way about your grandsons too, and also your children. And I loved that post! You wrote it the very time I began blogging, but had not found you yet.

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  2. Totally off topic, your son is so beautiful. And I completely get both things you are saying here- the motherly fear that your son will run towards, now, and the looking back to middle school and recognizing the beauty of where he's at now. It's so amazing. xo

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    1. Maggie, it is indeed amazing. I'm so grateful right now.

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  3. You are totally my she-ro. Totally.

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    1. Kimberly, and you are mine! I love watching your beautiful sons grow and be. They are already such wonderful humans!

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  4. Angella, I can imagine that you are filled with pride and some trepidation for this boy of yours who is embarking on such a noble, selfless career. Your children, both of them, are the epitome of what I hope the future is going to be about. They are full of wonder and it is no surprise to me. Sweet Jo

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    1. Sweet Jo, I am always full of wonder when I consider them. We are so fortunate, their dad and me. Thank you for this kindness.

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  5. i think we as parents learn so much from seeing our kids grow, mature, and, yes, struggle as painful as that is. i wouldnt relive those homework days for anything (let alone the broken heart my boy wrestled with in grad school--i thought that would kill me, to witness his seemingly endless sadness). but we find out that they do, indeed, have the tools to deal with life's not-so-fun parts. and that allows us to let them go bit by bit.

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    1. Susan, you nailed it exactly. We want to protect them, but as they show us they know how to navigate, we hold a little less tightly, as we must. Hugs, dear friend.

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  6. How proud you must be! And deservedly so. Would you be troubled to hear that I don't mind hearing even my little girls use an occasional swear word? Forbidden words seem ridiculous to me. Like yours, they know not to do it at school or in front of Grandma. That homework thing, that's exactly how it is at our house. So much stress wrapped up in it.

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    1. Vesuvius, it doesn't trouble me at all to know your girls have free reign of language. In fact, i love that. And homework? Well, no one told us about that when we were deciding to have children. The all-consumingness of it came as a total shock! But it does pass, and quickly too, so try to enjoy the parts you can enjoy, the shared enterprise, the connection and breaking through. Love.

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