Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tween Angst...

Sometimes we adults can forget how hard it is to grow up.

Yesterday, I sent Jack out to get the mail. This caught his eye...

"Mom, do you think I can change my room?"

"Sure Jack. I think it's time. Why don't you take a look through that catalogue to get some ideas. Here's a pen. Circle the ideas you like."

Here's a sample of what appealed to him...

"OK, Mom, when can we get the new room?"

"First of all, we can't necessarily buy all of this stuff but I bet we can make it come awfully close by painting and using some things we have around the house. What you need to focus on is eliminating the things in your room that you no longer use cuz we need to make room for a chair and a desk. I think if we put your chest of drawers in the closet, that will free up space for a chair. So...why don't you start in your closet." (Note to reader: Can you believe this chair cost $400!! Let's pray I find a substitute...)

From upstairs:
"Mom, I think I'll tackle the stuffed animals today!"

"Good idea. Make one pile to keep and we'll put those in storage. Make another pile to give away."

(This was a no-brainer place to start since stuffed animals are so "baby" -- notice there are no stuffed animals shown in those catalogue photos. Jack's stuffed animals have been shoved in the bottom of the closet for a few years now because he's embarrassed to have them out but he still loves them...)

10 minutes later:
"Mom, I think I might need some help deciding what to do..."

"I'll help. Why don't you show me the ones you don't know what to do with it"

Jack brings down a HUGE pile of stuffed animals and puts them in the middle of the floor. He stares down at the pile then looks up at me with puddles of tears forming on his lower lids and says,

"This is hard." And a single tear drops.

"I know it's hard, buddy."

We then proceeded to talk about each animal; where he got them, why he loved them and then, the decision of what to do...I mean this poor child was going through a mourning process over his stuffed animals. It was trauma! My big, tough boy who hardly ever cries even when he's hurt...

After some snuffling and wiping eyes on the sleeves of his t-shirt, here's how it went down.

These guys are staying and going to storage...

Along with these beanie babies just in case Jack's kids want to play pet shop like he did...

Unfortunately, these guys will be leaving us to go live with children who will love them...

However, all bets were off when this next guy came up for discussion and the dam broke loose...

See this is "Baby Bear", the most beloved, the one-and-only, the one who's there through thick and thin...Baby Bear is a member of our family and goes on vacation with us and Jack still sleeps with him every night, even though he's 11 years old. (Shh..don't tell the guys at school.)

As you can see, he's had many surgeries over the years. Here's a picture of Jack holding him when he was three just after Baby Bear's first surgery...

OK so, after going through all of the stories, the sadness and the choosing, Jack picks up Baby Bear.

He looks up at me with bottom lip quivering and tears threatening and says,

"But, Mom, I would give away everything I have, so that I would never have to give Baby Bear away. That would be the worst." And he begins to sob. Big honking, heaving sobs.

I hug Jack who is hugging Baby Bear for a long time while he cries. After a few minutes, I say, "Hey, let's get out of this room and take a break."

"That's a good idea. I had no idea it was going to be this hard."

"Me neither. How about a cup of tea? That might make you feel better."

And so it did. A little tea therapy happens yet again in my house.


Heather J. said...

how wonderfully sweet - I'm trying not to sniffle here at my desk at work. I dread those days ... my kiddo still loves his animals and sleeps with a bedfull each night.

gocrazywithme said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I can so empathize with both you and Jack. I still have my stuffed horse, Tony, who is so old and ratty that he has none of his original hair, his mane and tail were replaced numerous times and I don't even remember what his original eyes looked like (he has sported green button eyes for at least 4 decades). His hooves are iron-on patches, and he has a wooden bead necklace on that I made especially for him. But his stuffing is still original (even though he's tried to lose it a few times) and he still wears the sweetest embroidered smile. Tell Jack that I for one think it's okay to keep a bit of one's childhood close, long into adulthood. I'm 49!

I found a link to your blog on CQ for Newbies.
Janet in Colorado

Allison Ann Aller said...

What a great story, told so well, too.

Jackl is going to be so fine! No worries for that young man. What a lucky mom you are...and he is a lucky son, too.

My 30 year old niece still sleeps with her "Blankie", which is in shreds. May that patched bear live long and serve your son well...

Debra said...

Tell Jack that what you can't see on the PBTeen advertisement is the footlocker under the bed loaded down with the good stuff that boys need to get through life--like the stuffed toys. Every boy (and girl) needs a secret trunk with just stuff that is meaningful to him/her.

I had a big overstuffed, padded (colonial style) rocking chair in my bedroom for years and it was pure pleasure for reading or just daydreaming. I think a dedicated chair is a great idea. Try Big Lots-one of my friends found one there for her daughter and made a slipcover for it. You might even be able to find one at a garage sale.

Sandra said...

This is such a lovely moment to share with your son, your children do forever surprise you. He sounds like he has a kind heart and that home will always be very dear to him. Tell him my very grown-up eighteen year old daughter still has some of her soft toys and I think that she will keep them forever.

carolyn said...

jack doesn't need to throw baby bear away! i'm 19 and i still sleep with chickadee at school, none of my friends have ever made fun of me and they all know. a lot of them sleep with blankets and bears still, and one guy i know still sleeps with three bears and a monkey.

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