Sunday, October 28, 2018

Lessons Learned, the Hard Way

Wash your hair. Brush your teeth. Please, for the sake of the world, put on deodorant!
Hundreds of times I have given those commands to my sons. Well, not so much “commands” as directives. I know I taught them basic hygiene at a young age, but why is it they insist on not complying? Is it a boy thing? I would never have dreamed of not wearing deodorant or not brushing my teeth before leaving the house. I think it’s simply because they can, and they know it will drive me nuts. At least my 22-year-old is past the “stinky” stage.
One son (who shall remain nameless) went to a recent dentist appointment and was shocked by the findings. “I didn’t know flossing was such a big thing,” he said. Yes, I wanted to do the “I told you so” dance, but I had to keep my anger in check. It’s one of those lessons that need to be learned the hard way. Yes, there is still hope, and their teeth are not exactly rotting out of their heads, but I get so frustrated. So many times I have said, “Son, you don’t want to have dental problems with your hemophilia. It’s just not worth it.” But my words have fallen on deaf ears.
The crazy part of this is that I immediately blame myself. Maybe I didn’t teach the importance of dental care the way I thought I had? Did I nag too much? What could I have done differently? I’ll go crazy with those questions and need to let them go, but I still feel like a failure as a mother.
Don’t we do that too often? If our children are not performing to a high standard and struggle with math, or are not athletically gifted, or don’t have college offers to pick from before their senior year in high school, then point the finger at me. I have failed.
I was a straight-A student, always turned my work in on time (if not early), and excelled in school. My husband was the same. I always expected my sons to have the same standards. But it doesn’t always happen that way.
I wanted for both of my boys to enjoy school and thrive, and at times they do, but there is an important lesson I have learned: My journey and theirs are completely different. I did not have a severe, chronic illness with which to contend. Not to excuse things, but they have each had significant struggles due to hemophilia, which affected their schooling.
My kids are in good places right now, and I do not take anything for granted. Their hemophilia is managed well with no significant bleeding episodes, they are both in school, and life is good.
I invite each day as a fresh start. As long as I have breath, I will do everything possible to help my sons succeed. There will be more bumps along the way, that is for sure. Right now, I give thanks for this season. My family is in a place that fills our needs. We are happy.
I think a cavity or two can be handled.
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