My son stormed into our bedroom over the weekend resembling a twister with a hall pass, speeding out of Tornado Alley right into New York, blowing away half of Manhattan. And the reason? The HDMI port of his PlayStation stopped working.
In those first six seconds I learned that this is Armageddon for any 13-year old boy. It’s the meteor that blew the shit out of dinosaurs, the nuclear bomb that obliterated Hiroshima. Mr Twister crashed with full hysterics about how all hope is lost and as a result of this technological failure he will lose all his friends, his self-worth. The meaning of life is lost and he might as well just keel over and die. It’s a disaster of immeasurable proportion, a monstrosity larger than Godzilla, the incident that will destroy all life on planet Earth.
Did I mention that it was his HDMI port that stopped working…
*Just would like to take a moment to thank Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo for making parents lives so much easier by ensuring that our children remained focused on what is REALLY important in life.*
Now all of this occurred whilst I was still trying to rid my mind of the dream I had, whilst simultaneously prying my eyes open. It was before coffee, which implies that I was still waiting for my personality to kick in. Interestingly enough, I had the composure of mind to understand that the best thing would be to allow him to blow off some steam, even though he seemed to release enough steam to propel a rocket into orbit.
If you get a mental picture of a frustrated boy standing in one place, airing his views, I do apologize, for that means my writing skills suck. A more accurate image would be a Tasmanian devil released in our room, with all the expected hissy fits, aimless walking and a LOT of uncontrolled verbal diarrhoea.
NO my followers, we are excellent, educated parents and we DO NOT tolerate such behaviour, even though it might not seem to be the case. We calmed him down, with a dart of Valium and some leather restraints so that we could talk to him. I relinquished comfort and told him I’ll have a look.
Getting out of bed is normally very painful, not because of a medical condition, just because I really treasure that piece of furniture. Whilst walking down the stairs, scratching my crotch, (cause that is what men do when they wake up), I prayed that I would be able to fix whatever seemed to be the problem with the PS3. I didn’t do this for any selfish pride of hero complex, but only because we were out of darts.
Fortunately I found another cable that worked and therefore we didn’t have to submit any weird insurance claims for structural damage inflicted by a 13-year-old boy. Peace moved back into our house and Madness moved back next door. (That’s another story)
After saving the world, I did the paternal thing and discuss the outburst with my son. I told him that he should exercise more control over his emotions and he has to understand that bad stuff will happen in life, but he will have to manage those feelings in a more mature manner. It wouldn’t help to enter the darkest pits of hell every time something bad happens.
He agreed, apologized and gave me the biggest hug ever, with his eye stuck on the screen behind me that now popped back into action.
Getting back into bed I mentioned to my wife that we had a talk as I was a bit concerned about his reaction over something so trivial. She looked at me, shook her head and said, whilst still looking down at her magazine: “He gets it from you.”
“What?” I thought, but she continued in her this-will-blow-your-mind tone of voice.
“You’re exactly the same. When something bad happens to you that you don’t like or can’t control you go into that same place very quickly. You might not rant and rave like he did, but you do not handle disappointment very well.”
Dumbstruck. I didn’t react. Couldn’t. Just sat in our bed looking at this person next to me. The person who are supposed to love me, the one who should have my back, the one that understands my soul. She looked up with her sexy glasses and smiled…
“You know I’m right, my love. Fortunately you recover just as quickly and become your happy self. That’s why we love you.”
The moral of this story is that (1) Your wife is right most of the time and (2) Sometimes you see things in your children that you don’t recognise, or rather don’t want to recognise, until someone lovingly holds up the mirror. And the image you see is normally as clear as day.
Well pobody’s nerfect. So here’s to continuous self-awareness and improving on the things we don’t like.