Yesterday was my day to take B and his friend to the gym after school, but B had hurt his toe the day before (caught the toenail on something and then partially detached it), so he didn’t want to work out, and that meant that his friend did not last long in his workout. As a result, we headed back to his friend’s house to drop him off earlier than we usually would have, and he was really hoping a package had arrived for him with the newest Playstation game he’d ordered. He hopped out of the car and ran to the mailbox, where he stood with a small envelope, looking puzzled for a minute before he tore into it. Then he shoved the pieces of envelope back into the mailbox with the rest of the mail (yeah, he’s 12), and came back to the car with a lovely note from his team of teachers to his parents saying what a model student he was. We each read it and B and I congratulated him on it (we did have a laugh that they used the word “humble”, because he’s known for his braggadocio among members of The Crew). Then he ran around to the garage and the deck, etc., seeing if they’d left the package elsewhere. While he was doing this B turned to me with tears in his eyes and said, “I think I might cry.”
The long and short of this was that B was pretty sure there would be no such letter waiting at home for us, and it sincerely hurt his heart. I asked why he thought there wouldn’t be, and he said that he’d played around too much the first semester with his friends, and though it didn’t impact his grades, it didn’t make a great impression. He wished aloud that his teachers could just forget that part of the year. It was a good lesson for him in making a positive, lasting impression, and in school behavior, more generally. This is something he’s had on his mind lately anyway; he recently told me that he’d asked to move his seat in his math class so he wouldn’t be tempted to cut up with his friends (my words), and that, since that time, he’d maintained an A and his teacher had told him she was proud of him for his choices. I’m glad he’s thinking about and learning these lessons now, before grades become so important to opening doors after high school. I’m glad he regrets his behavior earlier in the year. I’m glad that he saw his friend get that letter and he didn’t get one, while it was also hard to watch him take it so hard. On the other hand, I was proud of how he handled himself, congratulating his friend when he really didn’t feel like it. Later we played a word game (Bonza) on my iPad in which you had to rearrange available letters to fill in a crossword puzzle – in this case, the theme was “The Seven Deadly Sins”. Once we’d gotten them all filled in I asked him if we suffered from any of them. He said he didn’t think so, going one by one until he got to “envy”, and then he said, “Well, I was envious of A’s letter.” I said, “You were, but you handled it with grace, and that envy will wear away because of it.” He nodded, clearly hoping that would be true.
The rest of the evening B spent off-and-on trying to convince me that he should get more time gaming on the weekends than I am inclined to give him. He knows that if he pushes too hard I will withdraw all support for gaming, so he was trying to be gentle, but was nagging nonetheless. When I leaned on the side of his bed to do the chalice lighting, he said, “I can tell you what I’m NOT thankful for!” I said the chalice lighting was not for what he was not thankful. He sighed, “Oookaaay” and said he was thankful for Xbox. I said I was thankful for his tucking my blanket around my feet when I napped in the chair. I soon left, both because we were done and because I was annoyed about his pushing about gaming.
About an hour later, I threw the dog up on B’s bed before I went to bed myself. B roused just enough to say, “I love you, Momma”. I kissed his forehead and said, “I love you, too, Honey.”