I have on numerous occasions mentioned how marvelously and inherently and beautifully different the boys are. I think one of the most difficult ideas to comprehend about parenting is how profoundly and inexplicably deep the love for and from a child is. I remember when I was younger and my friends would tell me how much their kid had changed their lives and I'd be all, yeah, whatever. Now, I understand that. Another concept that was hard for me to grasp was that I would love them so damned differently.
Now, I realize that I have been down this road here before. You might remember the towers in this post, or the striking disparity between a school assignment and a couple of Christmas trees in the first Twindifference. You may also remember the book I have mentioned, I Love You the Purplest, from my last post. All and all, though, it is a theme I need to stay on, probably because I need help understanding how you do it; how you come to terms with it; how you accept it, this incongruity, this seeming imbalance of love.
Lately there has been a lot of bickering between the boys and it often comes down to a perceived slight from me or Mom. This led me to understand a fundamental mistake I
Anyway, the mistake with Nick I'd made was that I thought we needed less time together, or, more accurately, we spent enough time together. Actually, he might need more time with me, but the time he needs with me is time throwing or kicking a ball, or riding a bike, or climbing on a shed. He learns love by seeing it in my eyes, in Mom's eyes, in your eyes, or in the smile of a good friend or grandparent. He knows, just as I know, love is a verb, an action verb, and that is how I must express my love to him.
Not through cuddles and snuggles, but through pitches and lifts into trees.
Not through holding hands but through busy hands, dirty and useful, imagining, exploring hands.
Not through words of love but through silly jokes and pratfalls, funny voices and doubletakes.
It is through acts of praise, deeds of integrity, and actual physical commitment that I reach him. I can't tell him about my love for him I must show him; show him that I honor him; show him that I cherish him; take him down the road of integrity not just point the way. I am sorry, Nick, I get that better now and I will work harder on it.
He is watching me, and, you know what's weird? I thought the other one was watching me...
I sit here shaking my head and marvel at my own audacity. How could I not see that the kid who made this:
needs to be loved differently than the kid who made this?
Zack made a home, solid and true, with a fence and a rooftop garden. He has a destination, for now, a place he sees himself... with a beautiful biker wife, and he is carrying a turkey leg and a fire extinguisher.
Nick made the vehicle, or "buggy" as he called it, there at the top. He's got places to go in it, dreams to seek, dragons to slay. You can't really tell, but the LEGO guy driving the buggy, he's a knight.
From Marci's "...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat..."
I cannot believe this came out of mouth this morning: "I don't care whose underwear it is on the floor, one of you be a man and pick it up."
Appealing to integrity in a second grader is ill-advised, I know, I try it all the time...