This is normally the kind of day when I wouldn't post anything. Because I'm in a total funk, and I'm lurching around, wailing WOE, WOOOOOOE, and normally I would think, don't post today. Give the world a break. Leave them alone, Bradley.
But hell, maybe you're in a bad mood as well and can join me as I mutter and sulk. And I'm not making you come here, right? You chose this out of your own free will? Except maybe a few of you don't believe in free will, per se? I'm talking to you, crazy determinists. You know who you are.
Anyway. I'm moving on. As was causally determined by the chain events leading from the origin of the universe to this moment, or whatever nutty thing you believe, you kooks.
I was just Googling "most depressing day of the year," because I was sure it was today, but alas, that was LAST Monday, so I screwed that up, just as I've screwed up everything good and wonderful in my life. And yes, I'm feeling a little melodramatic this morning. WOE!
I can't stop thinking about yesterday's Failure at Parenting moment. It wasn't a terrible screw-up, but it was the kind of crisis at which I should, given my own emotional foibles, excel. I don't want to get into specifics about what happened because, frankly, you don't need the specifics, and also, Henry doesn't need for you to know them. It had to do with a birthday party, and social anxiety. A problem with which I am intimately familiar. I could write a book about pre-party dread. A terrible, whiny book, but a book nonetheless, with many pages and an index. I am intimately familiar with the sensation of walking into a party and wanting to turn around and walk right on out.
But maybe it's BECAUSE I'm so achingly familiar with that feeling, and because my history is riddled with memories of avoiding various social outings because of that specific feeling, and it's something I don't particularly like about myself, that I couldn't handle seeing it in my son. My son, who has heretofore been absolutely gung-ho about birthday parties, because as we all know they include cake. And goody bags. And because of his enthusiasm in previous years, I had concluded a while back that he had somehow sidestepped the anxieties that I (and Scott) might have passed on to him. With no small amount of relief, I might add.
So yesterday when he needed to make a swift exit from a birthday party, I should have immediately understood, and reassured him, and helped him leave. Instead I stood there trying to cajole him into "sticking it out," "giving it a shot," "not giving up." I didn't do anything horrible, I know; it's not like I left him, or refused to take him home. But I did get sort of paralyzed, and stood there feeling like it was wrong to "give in" to him, even when the parents of the birthday boy (who were probably desperate to get us out of there) reassured me and handed me the goody bag and his coat and hustled us toward the door.
And look, it all ended up okay. I'm just kind of amazed that at this moment, the exact sort of thing I thought I'd be really excellent at handling as a parent because I knew the feeling, I felt so much anger and frustration and all I wanted to do was yell, "You're not supposed to be like this!" Because I wish more than anything that he wouldn't be. While realizing that having social anxiety is common, and doesn't mean he will never again be able to attend a social function, and even if that were the case it's not the end of the world, Alice, GET SOME PERSPECTIVE.
On the other hand, the goody bag was pretty excellent, so that was nice.