I visited the boys’ therapist. Alone. To clear a few things up without little ears in the room.
When talk turned to Tornado E, the therapist said he was an angry boy, who bottled things up and had a hard time communicating. Kindness won’t come easy to him for he’s self-centered without much empathy.
He doesn’t have anti-personality disorder or anything. I’m not raising a future serial-killer or dictator. I’m raising a dick.
And I have my suspicions on who I can blame, but that’s not really important. No, the important thing is to make sure that kid doesn’t grow up to be a dick.
Every day I pray for help to raise my boys to become Good Guys. We have the Kindness Tree. I remind them the family motto is “Built to Survive the Unusual.” And that to survive the unusual, to survive the adventure, you need three things, intelligence, courage, and empathy. I take my boys to church and send them to religious class and Cub Scouts. So when I asked the therapist “what else can I do,” he told me I was doing everything.
And that really isn’t good enough.
Because Tornado E is angry. Because he’s becoming biting, mean sarcastic when he plays video games with people. Because he is self-centered. Because he doesn’t talk about things. Because he still has accidents.
With some help from my mom, I sketched out a plan. An act of kindness every day from all of us, and I’m to try to do mine in front of the boys. Fridays I’m sending them to school with an extra dessert or snack to share. I’m going to devote 5 minutes of undivided attention solely to each boy a day. Since Tornado E is a natural comedian, I’m sending him to school with a joke in his lunch box, hoping to give him enough ammunition that he doesn’t have to rely so much on sarcasm to get a laugh.
It doesn’t seem enough. But it’s a start.
I told a friend.
Me: I’m going to turn them into the Good Guys even if it kills me.
Friend: That would be ironic.
Me: My dying isn’t going to get them off the hook. You don’t think I won’t come back to haunt them to make sure they become The Good Guys?
Tornado E’s teenage room as he takes another hit. I appear and snatch the joint out of his hand.
Me; Oh, I’m so disappointed in you.
Tornado E: (scrambling away from the bed where I sit) Holy sh*t, MOM! But you’re dead! Oh sh*t, what was in that weed?
Me: Jesus, don’t they teach you anything in school? Pot is a hallucinogen. And pot, Tornado E? Really?
Tornado E: But you’re dead! You shouldn’t be here!
He looks for a weapon.
Me: Yes, I am dead. And it took me a while to convince them to let me get back here. Granted, St. Peter was all for kicking me out permanently, but I stand by my nagging and annoying, and that’s a completely different story.
Tornado E: Dead!
Me: Right. So we have three choices in a theory. One, this a hallucination, which means you better march yourself to the nearest 12 step program and get yourself cleaned up and back on track. Two, I’m a ghost, which means I’m going to haunt you until you march yourself to the nearest 12 step program and get yourself cleaned up and back on track. Or three, I’m your guilty conscience, which means there’s more of me in you than you will admit. So march yourself down to the nearest 12 step program and get yourself cleaned up and back on track. And Christ, Tornado E, a D on your math test?
Back to reality.
I would make a fine ghost.
That and I’m not giving up on my boys, any of them.