sometimes as parents we forget that our children are here to teach us just as much as we are here to teach them. or at least i forget this (and too often). this is especially true when things feel more chaotic, like after a move. my son does not respond to chaos well. you probably wouldn't guess this if you knew him, because he is very good at creating chaos. when he is feeling out of sorts he responds by making sure everyone else shares this feeling. it can be hard to remember to be patient and understanding when he is doing his best to make you feel completely frazzled and annoyed!
this week he has started making this annoying noise. a sort of laugh, that is a cross between fran drescher's laugh and a jack hammer... at the highest decibel level possible. we mostly ignored it at first (except when out in public), but it finally got the better of me yesterday, and i snapped. i told him he had to stop that terrible laugh because it was driving everyone (read: me) crazy. he informed me he learned it from a kid named harry at camp... which had ended last week. i made a snide comment under my breath questioning whether this kid had any friends with a laugh like that. my son, of course hearing me, brightly told me that harry was friends with everyone! I looked at him doubtfully, but then he told me that harry's "brain works differently" than other people's. i remembered that the camp was very inclusive, allowing all kinds of kids the chance to have fun together. my son had mentioned several kids like this throughout the duration of the camp but i hadn't thought too much of it. then he dropped the bomb, and told me that whenever you make that same laugh in front of harry... he gives you a hug.
ouch. this was definitely one of those high/low moments of parenting. the kind where you realize that your kid really is great, but also that you can be pretty lousy at this whole parenting thing. my son was reaching out to me, and i missed the signs. admittedly it wasn't the easiest sign to read, but i wasn't exactly taking too much time to look for it. it's also interesting that we as humans so often do things to push people away, precisely when we need them the most. i will do my best to keep this lesson from my son in mind for next time, but i'm kind of a "slow learner" and will most likely forget and need reminding again.
luckily i have a good teacher. one who has gotten lots of extra hugs lately.