Three things happened in sort of succession today. First, there was a little verbal tussle at the playground with a very good friend whom The Who really loves. But often, they miss the mark with each other and end up hurt and angry. In this case, I felt strongly that The Who had not been kind and empathetic–pretty much the two most important things. I believe that being kind to others and being kind to yourself are the keys to an entire life of contentment and success. And he wasn’t kind today. He was selfish. And then unforgiving. And, I get it. He’s five. But it doesn’t mean I don’t address it and encourage him to think about it and make it right.
So. Yeah. That happened. And we had a long talk about it in the car. And I explained the kind of response I expect from him and we talked about The Golden Rule and ultimately, I think he understood and took it to heart. And later, before bed, with some encouragement from me, but in entirely his own words, he wrote a letter of apology to his buddy.
Then, despite what should have been, by all accounts, an exhausting day, he had a very hard time falling asleep. He didn’t seem troubled or upset, but he was just — well — awake. He tried doing the Gratitude Alphabet (thinking of something for which he is grateful for every letter of the alphabet) and then he tried thinking of something in our house for every letter, but had no luck sleeping. In the end, I climbed into bed with him and swept my fingers across his temples the same way I did when he was an infant until his eyelids became too heavy to keep open, the same way they did when he was an infant and he drifted into sleep.
The third thing that happened was that I learned, during one of his insomniac visits downstairs, that he had misunderstood something a friend told him today. He has a play date with this new friend tomorrow and the friend is apparently going to the Monster Truck Jam with his dad tomorrow night. So, when the kid said, “we are going to the Monster Truck Jam tomorrow!” The Who naturally thought he meant during the play date. And he told me that he expected to be doing that at the play date since the kid told him so. I set him straight as gently as I could and although he admitted he was a little disappointed, he didn’t seem to be catastrophically so. I think maybe I am sadder at my own memories of disappointment and embarrassment due to misunderstandings than he actually is.
And now I’m down here in the quiet living room, wading through this sort of unidentifiable blue feeling. A combination of my disappointment with his behavior this afternoon, his misunderstanding of the play date events, and my empathy (or maybe projection) of his feelings about that. It’s complicated and simple all at the same time, but none of it is insurmountable.
Still, there it is: this general sense of hovering ennui on a Thursday night in early October. I think it’s time I put myself to bed.