Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Step Son, Myself by:Karen Pilarski


I joked with a colleague today about how I'm slowly turning into my parents. At times I randomly fall asleep at the table or in a movie theater. Temper flares up like a flame and then is extinguished after counting to ten. Somehow I have inherited impatience, weird health aliments and the ability to ride a wave of emotional ups and downs. Why wasn't I born with art, crafts, and cooking skills? My father likes to learn different languages and culture. Open minded to it, sure. Yet no real drive to fully engage in doing it. My mom and brothers are talented artists. I'm the odd ball who loves to write. Although I have no biological children, I have a step children. I hope some of my attributes have imprinted into their souls.

 My step son Nathan is fourteen. Fourteen going on twenty. Conceited and entitled sense of being. How quickly one can go from fourteen to four in a blink of an eye. My husband as my in-laws tell me, was the exact same way. My step son is smart and a book worm like his dad. He has the same large nose and the same smile. He is actually a very handsome mini version of my husband. If the contemptuous attitude would disappear, Nathan would be an actual human being. I meander. Youngsters don't understand it is not what they say that hurts it is the feelings that singe others. Nathan told me last weekend that he no longer wanted to come over by me and his father's house. "I can't take three days in a row over there." He also told my husband that he wishes I never married his father. Some of the haste comes with the territory of being a step parent. It is a given the "you are not my mother" card would be shown.

Maya Angelou said “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I love her quote! I have had some good and bad times in my life. The strongest memories come from the feelings that attached to those fading visions. What I felt carries more weight than the words spoken. A lesson I wish Nathan would learn is that it doesn't matter what over the top and dramatic words he says. Nor does it matter the cuss words spewed out of his mouth. It barely registers with me the stomping and throwing fits. What matters is the sadness I feel when he takes out his trouble on others. Specifically his father. A sense of failure as a parent for letting this child spin so far out of control. People often trivialize Nathan's attitude as 'being a teen.' A friend of mine said she thinks Nathan should be shipped to a third world country in order to see real suffering and difficulties. Maybe the feelings of hopelessness of those who lived there would sear the icy exterior?

 I know with time Nathan will grow out of the immature thinking and take responsibility for his actions. As  memories of his youth drifts into years past, I imagine there will be lingering unpleasant feelings that spring back up at times. When he becomes a parent himself I hope he remembers not how he acted, but how he made those around him feel. Perhaps he will be a better parent and person for it. One day he will remember me and his dad as good parents and not the controlling monsters he claims all authority figures to be. In the distant future he will jokingly and lovingly remark how he is becoming his parents.