When your kid is the kid that other kids’ parents don’t want their kids hanging around, but when you know that your kid is teased and bullied incessantly, and you also know those parents have a reason to feel that way, because when your kid and their kid are together they turn brainless. And when you know that you, yourself, don’t necessarily want to hang around with your kid when he acts like this, and you, yourself, are embarrassed by his immature, obnoxious behavior, and you, yourself, struggle every single day to keep it together when you, yourself, are dodging a nearly constant barrage of arguments, and you’re fighting a homework fight, and a grade fight, and a phone fight, and also reading about resilience and grit and the importance these have for success, and you’re watching your child lack these things and realizing you only have five years, actually four and a half, to try to instill the grit that you haven’t been able to instill since birth.
And when you see other kids succeeding — really succeeding — and you have tried harder than any of those parents to try to help your kid succeed, but sometimes it’s not just how much they try, or how much you try, or how much they want something. No, sometimes it’s just genetics, or brain makeup, or something more than you’ve been able to provide through therapy, and coaching, and reading, and consequences, and pleading, and time outs, and tears, and yelling… so much yelling. You never thought you’d be a yeller, but here you are yelling like your life depended on it, because in a way, it does. In a way, you yell so you can release the years and years of tension built up. In a way, if you didn’t yell, the pressure cooker inside you would explode, and you might actually die right there, in your kitchen, while making dinner, helping with homework, and making lunches, if you don’t yell that minute.
…On these days, you can’t focus on the positives. You are always trying to see the positives, every day looking for the bright lights, because you have an ability to see bright lights where most other people would see Mammoth Cave black. Because you’ve been trained to see the flickers of hope that are barely there, because your flickers are not flickers at all, they are fireworks. Because you have to see the fireworks. Seeing the fireworks gives the hope. And after the fireworks there is always rain, even when you feel like you’ve gotten through the worst storms; there are always more on the horizon. And that’s why there are friends and weekends away and wine and yoga and workouts and junk food and travel and The Book of Joy so you can have mini escapes that you need so desperately and that you need to not feel guilty about indulging in, because damnit if you didn’t have these escapes, you wouldn’t even see the flickers anymore. You need those flickers. Today more than ever.