It’s been a minute since I’ve written a blog.
It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say. I just haven’t had the energy to put my heart into written word.
So I’ve been expressing my creativity in other ways…
I think it’s pretty obvious that I love to create.
It’s who I am.
I am happiest when I am creating.
Put me in a kitchen with a bag full of weird groceries and some fun kitchen gadgets, and I may never emerge.
Creating beautiful and nourishing food for people I love makes me soooo happy.
It’s who I am.
Creating music is another big part of me. Hand me a guitar, a good cup of coffee and a quiet room, and if I’m in the right head space…I will play and write for hours.
It’s also who I am.
Same with creating jewelry. And furniture restoration. Give me a pile of beads and string, or an old beat-up hope chest, and I will make something truly beautiful out of it.
Yep. It’s who I am.
And honestly, I pride myself on it.
On all of it.
So when I create something that is less than lovely, I take it very personally.
We’ve all been there.
We burn dinner. Or write a crappy song. We make an ugly piece of jewelry or gouge a giant scratch in a piece of furniture that can’t be sanded out.
But it’s a different beast entirely when our unloveliness and mistakes come out in our most important creations…
My son Zion is 13. He has autism spectrum disorder. And he is my best (and sometimes most unwelcome) mirror.
A while back I was making jewelry in the media room while my daughter, Zoë, watched basketball.
Zion was in the other room playing or chirping or twirling around or whatever it is he does when he doesn’t want to be around us.
I looked up at the TV just in time to see a player sink an insanely impossible 3-pointer.
And I said “What the?!”
And without missing a beat, Zion yelled “f$&%!”
Zoë and I sat staring at each other with our mouths gaped open for a few seconds…before we busted out laughing.
Zion saw that reaction.
So I jumped up and ran in to correct him.
“No buddy, I don’t like that. That’s not a nice word. Please don’t say that.”
But what did he hear me say?
Because #1, I laughed. #2, I came running.
And #3…the ugly truth is that Zion learned that word from yours truly.Gulp.The worst two things you can do when Zion does something “bad,” are to laugh and to come running.
I did both.
Thus entering the age of Zion using the F bomb to get attention. Only now…he is doing it at school.
Recently at school, when Zion wants attention, wants to make someone laugh, or isn’t getting his way, he covers his ears and yells “what the f$&%!”
Let’s be honest. Most of us have used the F word. But when you hear it coming out of your child, it’s like having every burnt dinner, bad song, ugly bracelet and ruined piece of furniture all shoved in your face at the same time.
With a bomb on top.
So for the past two weeks I’ve taken away everything that matters most to him, (Disney, riding the school bus, his grandparents) and I’m slowly giving them back as he daily earns them with good behavior and an F-less vocab.
And to be honest with you, most nights I sit with my head in my hands questioning every single thing I’m doing…and beating myself up.
But what I realized this morning, is that I am way too hard on myself.
All the time.
When things I create are flawed, it hurts me.
I guess my lesson here lately is that flaws are a good lesson in learning to forgive myself.
In the photo collage below I’ve created the following:
1. A multi-color wrap bracelet that I stitched too tightly so the beads pop-up and stick out like a bad hernia.
2. A Celtic version of Silent Night that sounds like Enya and the Indigo Girls got drunk on many dozen pints of Guinness together.
3. A margheurita-style pizza that I created for my teen vegetarian daughter…complete with vampire-repellent levels of garlic and asymmetrical Roma tomatoes. (The horror of asymmetry. Don’t get me started.)
4. An antiqued turquoise coffee table…of which I completely just spaced antiquing one entire side.
5. Annnnd…a very happy teenage boy who got to ride the school bus to his grandpa’s house after one day minus his very colorful vocabulary.
What I create may not turn out to be perfect.
I will forgive myself, call it a beautiful mess, and carry on.
In the mean time, any tips on diffusing a teen F-bomb are greatly appreciated.