My kids had last week off from school. I knew ahead of time that this vacation would be rough because it happened to coincide with Ash Wednesday. It’s hard for pastors to take vacations the week of Ash Wednesday. In fact, forget about it. Perhaps a day trip, but even that didn’t work out this week because of other commitments we had to be home for, and oh yeah, THE WEATHER. With snow and dangerously frigid temperatures it was hard to even go outside!
So we were STUCK. And the one who suffered the most from this “stuckness” was my son. My lovely, loving, eight and a half year old ball of energy. He expressed some interest in learning to ski, and my husband wanted to take him – in fact, hubby worked his butt off so he could have Friday to do it, but then the wind chills went below zero again and it was a bust. We know our son, and if he struggled in the least, plus was freezing, he’d hate it and never want to go again. So he had little to DO. He loves to play Sims (a computer game), but even that couldn’t occupy his busy body all week. My son needs to move like any other typical eight year old boy. My girls are of the age when they don’t need to move their bodies as much. My teenager was happy skype-ing and face-timing with her friends, closed in the safe privacy of her bedroom, and my twelve year old autistic daughter has developed a love for reading, playing video games on her Kindle, and when her body was restless she danced along with “Just Dance” on the Wii.
But the boy…
As I said, my son needs to move. Move A LOT. But the poor boy was reduced to dribbling his basketball on our living room hardwood floor! Part of me wanted to scream because it was giving me a HEADACHE, but what could I do – it was clear he was suffering more than me! Plus, basketball is the first sport my son actually seems to enjoy, so discouraging the practice didn’t seem like a good idea. BOOM BOOM BOOM – BOOM BOOM BOOM – BOOM BOOM BOOM. His basketball, and my brain… Physically bouncing off the walls – jumping down stairs, running up stairs, wiggling in chairs, hugging and climbing on whoever was nearest (the hugging is nice, but when he starts to climb up your body and hurts your back – not so much), bouncing on beds and couches and making mischief. Oh, to have that kind of energy! But to have that energy and be stuck in the house – it’s a scary thing. Kind of like being the pinball in a pinball machine.
I had my son when I was 40. Sometimes I feel like he’s gotten shortchanged because I don’t have the same energy for him as I did for his sisters – but then again, I don’t think they ever had the same kind of energy he does! I know I was definitely more willing to supervise outdoor play, and to participate with them in outdoor play. Perhaps it’s more of an after-effect of the depression that hit me when he was a toddler than my age – it’s hard to separate the two. In any case, it wouldn’t have mattered this week because going outside to burn off energy was out of the question.
So I’m grateful they’ve gone back to school today, not only because the introvert in me is breathing in the silence, but because my son will finally have something to DO.