I do not know if any of you could imagine being six years old again, but it’s been an interesting trip to watch Tin move into being a young boy while he retains a strong grip on level two. From questions such as “Do dead people live again?” “Why did my mother have to give me up?” “Why is my skin black?” in all their profundity, comes also complete and utterly juvenile questions such as “Why do I have to have rules?” “Why don’t I get to make my own choices for dinner (after given two)? “Why do I have to go to school?”
Someone recently said it is impossible to have a full time job and be the parent of a young child and I was musing on that thought, as I ran to a 1:30 appointment and brought a hot meal to Tin’s school so when he got into aftercare he wouldn’t be hungry, knowing that typically when I pick him up I usually am making the equivalent of “dinner” instead of a “snack.” When I brought the meal to school, the man at the front desk said very cheekily, “Lunch, now?”
Fast forward to us at home later that afternoon, the playmate leaving around 6ish, and my trying to get dinner on the table after learning that Tin did not eat the meal I left and you will see a mother in the throes of chaos. Flailing on the floor, screaming and hitting the chair, opening and closing the refrigerator, crying out like a wild animal [not me, but him], all this as I am putting pasta, chicken and a salad together for dinner. I calmly light the candle and ask him to set the table, he throws the placemat and stomps through the house. Threats are issued on both sides.
Dinner is on the table, and Tin is given a count of three to come sit down and eat or forfeit his evening and head straight to bed. I am mustering all the grace that can come via zen practice to be able to sit and enjoy my own damn salad. Tin plops in the chair, with many harumphs and declarations of his never going to eat anything that is in front of him, and I reach for his hand to say grace.
“Thank you for food on our table.”
I begin to eat, chewing slowly to lessen my about to go ballistic on this imp seated next to me, and I chew and chew and chew through the angry thoughts that are exploding – my own pathetic rant about why is it impossible to have a nice meal anymore around here. About the time I think it will be necessary to hurl the next threat or consequence in his general direction, all of a sudden, Tin looks at me through his oily tears and says, “Can I eat now?”
He then eats a full plate of pasta pesto, a piece of chicken, a salad, and asks for one waffle after another. All of this is consumed as if he has been denied food his whole life. After he smacks the last waffle down, he says to me, “You’re a good cook. Thanks.”
Right in front of me is the marvel of the human cycle. Recently, someone apologized to a group for going into six-year-old meltdown mode. Not so much as a day ago, I spoke with a relative who seemed to be evading me for many missives, but who responded gushingly with love and admiration. Just yesterday, I picked up the phone when an old lover called and we laughed as if there had never been a disruption.
in the world of second chances, most of us have the ability to shake off the past and be fully present. What we need is for those we have transgressed to be present with the new us.