My boys are growing up.
When my boys were infants, days old, then weeks old, then months old, I remember watching them grow every day in size and physicality and in awareness. It is nothing short of miraculous. It’s also a miracle that we all started out that way, even conservatives and liberals and even people from New Jersey.
I was work on Tuesday night. When I walked in the door, SMM (Sergeant Major Mommy) aka QotU (Queen of the Universe), was upset. She was abnormally quiet with a reflective look on her face. I knew something was wrong instantly. So, I asked, What’s wrong?
SMM proceeded to tell me the events of the day, especially Archibald’s day. Archie had come home and was very quiet. Archie is never quiet or reserved. Archie is energy made manifest and personified. He only slows down long enough to eat (usually) and sleep. Then, he started whimpering and crying. After some prodding, Archie had been “fired” by his clique of friends. He was devastated.
SMM and I talked about how to handle the situation. He is only 8, but, obviously, this was very traumatic for him. As adults, we know how people are. They come and go in your life, sometimes your decisions, sometimes their decisions. We didn’t want to downplay the circumstances which would invalidate Archie’s feelings, but we didn’t want to overly emphasize them either since he is only 8 and this situation will be played out in his life many times.
The boys were asleep when I came home and I knew I would have to address it in the morning.
Mortimer’s role in this play was the observer. Apparently, he saw what was going on and said and did nothing. I don’t blame him. It’s a tough call. If he steps in, he might be seen as an intruder. He was not a “member” of that particular clique.
As a daddy, I have a job to do. In the grand scheme of things, I have to keep them alive and mostly functioning so that they can become responsible adults and successful contributors to society. I have unsuccessfully tried to sell the boys in the past, but the squirrels, the zoo, and the Marvel superheroes didn’t want them. They loved them, but said they were too much work.
The morning comes as it always does dark with its chilly secrets. I woke the boys up as I always do by turning on some loud dance music and all the lights. Of course, they don’t stir. They are both heavy sleepers. I whisper, Time to get up, and they move ever so slightly in recognition of my voice. After five minutes or so, their eyes open.
I immediately sit on Archie’s bed and ask him how he is. He says fine, but without any of his usual crystal enthusiasm or energy. I tell him that I heard what happened and I am here for him, that I understood he had been “fired” from his group of friends, that I had had lots of friends through the years who had come and gone, that life goes on and the sun will shine tomorrow and the next day and the best thing he can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and just keep living. Yes, I understood that they “fired” you, but it’s their loss and in a couple of weeks they’ll change their minds when they realize they miss you too much.
He said, Ok, and laid back down. I also made sure that Morty heard everything I said and he was actively listening. The boys always seem to pay closest attention when I tell them about life or my life and what to do and what I did.
I approached the subject again after he had gotten up and eaten something. Archie is not a big breakfast eater focusing more on dinner. Morty is just the opposite eating more at breakfast. Such is life I suppose.
Last night, I had to work about an hour late. I got home and Morty was on the couch, as he usually is, reading his book. Archie had been upstairs with MIL (mother-in-law) and came bounding down the stairs. I thought this is probably a good sign. He somersaults onto the couch and I sit next to him. I ask him how he is and how was everything at school.
He says, Good. I say, Ok, who did you play with today? He said, my friends. Really? How did that happen? They forgot what they said yesterday and I wasn’t going to remind them.
Such is life at 8.