Tuesday, April 16, 2013

People Are People

It's been a tough couple of months for lots of reasons.  I've talked and whined and written about it plenty.  My husband's incredibly busy with school, we have two small children in the trying throes of toddlerhood, my mom is sick, we're trying to balance everything with no money and little support, I've been in this damn boot, and now... the accident.  And the resulting pain/soreness/stiffness/aching.  It's a lot.  It's too much.

It's been enough that I broke down in tears multiple times in one day a couple weeks ago.  Half because everything I have to do 739 times a day (lift 30lb children, load and unload dishwashers, load and unload washing machines, pick up and/or move 3487 trucks and cars and trains and blocks, lift 30lb children some more) hurt like hell, and half because I was/am exhausted. 

Most days I can handle it.  I can remember what really matters, or at least postpone thinking about the stuff that's hard.  But for a few days a couple of weeks ago, I was out of places to put it.  I didn't have any storage for hard left.  So it poured out of me in the form of tears.  

The kids were concerned initially, but then mostly ignored me.  They're little and they've seen me cry before.  I always explain why I'm crying ("I'm sad," "I'm hurt," "I'm really frustrated") and then usually go hide.  Which is what I did this time.  But then.  Then the most amazing thing happened.

The Big One came back in the room after the initial check-in, dragging a blanket.  He tucked me in.  "So you can feel better, Mommy. I'm sorry you're sad and ouchie.  I love you."  And then he hugged me, oh so gently, and stroked my shoulder, and smiled at me with the most beautifully empathetic look.  

And then I really started crying.

Because here's the thing.  I KNOW my boys are sweet.  I know they are loving, and kind, and wonderful.  But sometimes... sometimes I see them being boys, and I get worried.  I see them wanting to kick and hit and destroy and hurt, and I don't understand it.  And it scares me.  

People roll their eyes at me and give me the ol' "boys will be boys" speech.  And I understand that that's true to a point.  As much as I've tried to resist the idea, boys and girls behave differently.  They just do.  But it still scares me.

And then awful things like the Steubenville rape case and the Boston Marathon bombings happen, and my brain is filled with worries about whether or not I'm doing things right.  Whether or not my boys- my sweet, kind, wonderful boys- could ever be capable of that kind of violence.  And what scares me so completely is, I think the answer is yes.  

Not because I feel that my boys would commit such a hateful, awful crime.  But because I think everyone is capable of terrible things.  People do terrible things every single day.  People with parents, with children, with brothers and sisters, with pets and grandparents and people who love them.  People who have been raised in every possible way, with every possible advantage or disadvantage.  People do horrible things, and I don't know how to stop it.

So.  Instead of sitting around feeling helpless and hopeless, I think about what I can do.  I teach my boys empathy.  I can teach my boys that hurting other people is not okay.  I can teach my boys that power is not the ultimate goal.  I can teach my boys that sex should not used, but should be shared between two people mature enough to care for each other and stop if there are any questions or hesitations.  I can teach my boys to use their words instead of violence.  I can teach my boys to stand up for others- to speak up for anyone who cannot or will not speak up for themselves.  I can teach my boys that sometimes doing what's right is hard and might feel terrible at the time.  I can teach my boys not to be slaves to their bodies, to their hormones, to the media.  I can teach my boys that people- ALL people- deserve respect and kindness.  

And possibly most importantly, I can show my boys what all of this looks like.  I can model respect, kindness, and doing the right thing.  I can show them that they don't have to be what other people tell them to be.  I can show them that fear doesn't have to control them.  I can show them what love and acceptance and respect look like.

And I can think about what I am already doing.  I can think about the look in the Big One's eyes when he came to check on me as I sat on the bathroom floor crying.  I can think about how he chose to help, to make me feel better.  

I can believe that my boys will never, ever allow themselves or their peers to act with such hatred, such disregard, such ignorance as the people around the world who commit and allow violence and hatred against others.  

No comments:

Post a Comment