Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Real life for a Jedi...

I am happy to be able to report that B's first day back to school post-break went very well. Having the Go set to take to school helped a lot- he was really psyched about teaching his friends how to play. Checking-in with him on the way home yesterday, I discovered that he wasn't being triggered by OCD thoughts at school nearly as much as before the break. I think that being home for a week really broke their power to trigger anxiety, since he wasn't exposed to them daily. It was a very pleasant surprise. More disconcerting was his "I'm going upstairs, Mom" after snack & homework, & never seeing him again until a bit before dinner when he asked if he could play on the "c" (B-speak for "computer", specifically internet)... During the afternoon I could hear him playing with legos, then the tv was on for a bit (he knows he can only watch PBS or a dvd/video) but he neither needed or wanted my company. Considering how we'd been joined at the hip before the break... it was very surprising. I suppose he got his fill of mom last week :) At least, that was yesterday... I'll keep an open mind until he's done it for a few days in a row :)

Also, happily, I didn't need to go out & buy Japanese candy or new manga to survive yesterday. Well, actually, the Shonen Jump magazine I had ordered from Scholastic arrived, so I spent the time between loads of washing reading that. Unfortunately, it's much too violent to share with B :( I'm especially sad because they had the newest installment of Hikaru no Go in it! But by far the greater part of the magazine was devoted to hyper-violent fighting, with every weapon imaginable, & I'm not going to let my not-yet-10-year-old see that stuff quite yet. I know I'm swimming upstream with this policy, but I'm committed to keeping him from becoming overly exposed, & therefore immune, to violence like most kids his age.

I guess that's just one of the daily tests of being a real-life Jedi :) As I've gotten older, found myself in a life-partnership with another person, had a child, I've found more & more that I feel strongly about & feel the need to reflect in the living of my live. We talk about having "values" in our society, but I don't believe it's enough to just have them. They must be lived in order to bring them to life. I suppose that's really where I got the idea of being a Jedi myself. When I think about the way the movie-Jedi, like Obi Wan or Yoda, are portrayed, I often see an unrealistic picture of people who are serenely safe in their rightness, above mere mortals. Think of Obi Wan sacrificing himself in "Star Wars" after battling Vader, just to spur Luke on to becoming a Jedi himself. That's not really how I imagine Jedi to be. I think that's why my favourite movie Jedi is Qui Gon- constantly getting yelled at by the Council for not upholding the damn Code :) He knows what it's really like to be a Jedi, I think. He knows that life is messy & he jumps right into the middle of it anyway. He's a role-model of compassion & faith-based action. Compassion is a two-way thing, too. Self-compassion is terribly difficult to learn in our culture because it's not terribly valued. It's okay to beat ones-self up for being a mere human... But how can we live & model true compassion unless we learn to be compassionate with ourselves? When B calls himself a "git" for misreading a situation or hurting someone's feelings, my heart just breaks- & I get mad, too, because it makes me feel as though he's giving-up on himself, by labelling himself that way.

This happened just this morning, actually. It wasn't quite as smooth as yesterday- B was pretty surly when I came in to get his clothes out for the day, but I had the presence of mind to toss his whoopie cushion in as I left his room, saying I'd found it under my pillow last night (I had...) which really got him giggling. We were ticking along... until right before going out the door, when we couldn't find Rufus' belt pack (to keep him safe during gym class). B decided he must be a git because I reprimanded him for cussing-out the belt-pack for being lost, & even after it was found he couldn't calm down, just kept muttering angrily, until I couldn't take it any more & yelled... As soon as I realised what I was doing I recovered & then hugged him. I apologised, & realised that it was B calling himself a "git" that had pushed my button... & then remembered something I learned in recovery. I explained to B that feeling like a git was not the same as being one- that it's ok to feel like a git, but it doesn't mean it's true, & said I felt rather like a git for yelling. He seemed to get my point, but we were both pretty subdued & sad on the way to school. I made sure Cherie knew that we'd gotten off to a bad start when we got to school, & she suggested a game of Go to B, which really got him smiling & me feeling better about leaving him.

But even after a visit to my therapist, then to Barnes & Noble (I decided to try Shojo Beat to see if it was any better than it's male-oriented counterpart, plus I'd wanted to find a kids' Sudoku book for B), & then to Starbucks didn't lift my spirits much. I felt like a failed parent & a failed Jedi for snapping at B. After burying myself in manga for a while, I resurfaced & realised that Jedi have bad days, too. We are not machines, nor are we saints. We are people trying to live our lives with a guiding purpose, with compassion, & with integrity. If I want B to have compassion for himself, I absolutely must model compassion for myself. Another reason I am very lucky to have B in my life- without my young Padawan, I wouldn't have nearly as much reason to learn the lessons I must teach.


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