Jersey Boys (and Their Frenzied Moms)
In a flash of panic, after a long week of nagging and searching and feeling out of sorts, I exploded. I yelled and stormed around like a tyrant. Almost instantly, I knew I was wrong. So did my son, but he forgave me anyway — because what the kid lacks in organization, he more than makes up for with heart.
Today, before my son’s first basketball game, I can’t find his jersey. It was just worn at basketball practice two days earlier, but we all know that doesn’t mean much.
I do a quick check of the hamper — nope, not there. Heart pumping, ears ringing, and now here comes the anger. My mouth just starts blurting out the hot lava in my mind. A volcano of the week’s ADHD frustrations begins erupting.
“Ugh, why do you have to be so disorganized? What is this mess? Why are there pencils in your LEGO bin?” Bins get dumped as hoards of paper shoved in between marbles and knick knacks fall to the floor. Treasures kept on his ADHD island fall into further disarray. “You are going to pick up this mess when we get home!”
I perform another check of the hamper, tears starting to form in my eyes. Self doubt and negative self-talk stream through my mind. Why is this always so hard? Why can’t I have it together? Ah! We are going to be late. What do I do?
Suddenly, I remember. I did laundry. I run downstairs, open the dryer full of still-damp clothes and there, staring back at me, is a fluorescent green basketball jersey. Yay! I found the jersey! “Here throw this on. Sorry it’s wet. Go go go… get in the car.” Heart slowing down. Mind clearing and relaxing — and then suddenly I realize… I lost it.
[Free Handout: Get a Grip on Tough Emotions]
From the driver’s seat I see those big brown eyes looking back at mine in the rearview mirror. I swallow the lump in my throat and say, “I am so sorry.” I recognize an immediate softening in those eyes. We pull up to the game and a smile crosses his face. He jumps out of the car, his fluorescent green jersey still damp, and he plays his heart out.
On the way home, getting back into the car, he turns to me and says, “I am sorry I am so disorganized. I will do better. You are the best mom.”
My heart both glows and sinks. I say to him, “No, buddy, you are best kid. I’ll help you get organized when we get home. I made the mess, too.”
In that moment of feeling defeated, I forgive myself and absorb the lesson learned. We move on. We go forward and we learn our lesson for next time. Not only to check the dryer first, but to forgive ourselves and say we are sorry.