There are so many extraordinary things about The Who, but the one I am continually awed by is his ability and willingness to express his feelings, no matter what they are.
He regularly expresses anger and frustration not just in actions, but words. “It makes me so mad when you…” And he is often able to differentiate between anger, hurt, and sadness. And even if at first, sadness and hurt are masked by anger, as soon as the question is posed, “Are your feelings hurt?” he is always able to tell the difference.
He is also often able to, unprompted, voice his preferences and how violation of them makes him feel. Last night, he said, “I have told you before that I don’t like when you do X. It makes me mad.” And I don’t know about every parent, but his ability to put words to things like that makes it so much easier for me to own my transgressions and apologize for them. I hope that the long-term result of this is that he grows up without pushing feelings down and burying them with something else.
Similarly, he also shows unbridled enthusiasm and excitement when he is looking forward to something. I never have to guess if he is jazzed about a plan or delighted by something that has happened. “I can’t wait for tomorrow!” he said before bed tonight. And last week as he donned a shirt and tie for a new friend’s first day of school, he gushed, “I am so happy today!”
I love his openness — his ownership of his truth. I hope it’s something that he holds onto for his whole life.