It has been months leading up to that night when I was kneeling before him asking him if he was going to listen to me. Crying as he said he would, realizing that his actions have resulted in yet another Emergency Room visit, and to his despair, more stitches.
I knelt before my son, angry and baffled why he had not listened to me not 2 minutes before. Had I known what I was thinking today, I wouldn’t have expressed the anger that I was experiencing in that moment. There are times that I forget that my son is just that, a boy, who won’t listen to me and will at times hurt himself despite my constant warnings.
It has been months leading up to that night when I was kneeling before him asking him if he was going to listen to me. Crying as he said he would, realizing that his actions have resulted in yet another Emergency Room visit, and to his despair, more stitches. It wasn’t just that night in the shower when he was jumping up and down, goofing around, like boys do. It goes beyond that night.
At baseball practice, surrounded by 10 other 5-year-old boys, all who like to show off, my son sits on the bench to pout that he isn’t getting to play the position that “he” wants to play and doesn’t want to take the field when I ask him to. His teammates are starting to take note too. There is not a practice that goes by when one of his teammates remind me asking, “he doesn’t listen to you does he?”
From the field, it comes home, when I take off my shoes in what I consider to be a safe space. That safe space turned into a war zone from the LEGOs that have started an army under the couch. An army that continues to grow every time I kick one of them across the floor. Another recruit has joined the army against my feet. A recruit that didn’t have to join the army. A recruit that I had asked to be picked up so that it wouldn’t end up in that army, or worse inside a vacuum.
I look now at that chin from the night that I looked into his eyes, eyes that were truly sorry for not listening to me, and I realize that boys will be just that, boys. No matter how much I try to protect him, he will be all boy and somewhere down the road, shortly if he has anything to do with it, we will be on our way to another Emergency Room visit. This time with something worse than just a few stitches.
It is easy for me to forget that my son is 5-years-old with 13 more years under the roof that we provide for him. He isn’t going to tell us about everything that happened at school that day because he has me as a father. A boy myself once, who refused to tell my parents what I did that day in school. A boy who didn’t listen to his parents.
I don’t remember a lot about that kid 27 years ago, who missed an entire season of baseball because of stitches in my hand. Stitches that have left a scar a constant reminder of the pain that I went through at that time. A reminder of how hard I need to work at protecting my kids from harm. But a scar that reminds me at the same time I am protecting them, I need to let them live their lives and be the boys that they will always be.