Celebrate: Superpower

celebrate link up

Ruth Ayres hosts a weekly celebration on her blog. I appreciate this invitation to reflect on the positives of my week.

And it’s been a challenging one. My son broke his finger last weekend and had surgery on Thursday. It’s been a week of doctor’s visits, endless reminders that he is adopted (“Now what is your relationship to the patient?”–asked of me so many times this week that I’m thinking of having a t-shirt made up that says Yes, I’m His Mother. Kudos to the nurse who saved the moment with, “I thought you must be his mom, but you look too young to have a twelve-year-old son.” The twelve-year-old son in question thought this was hilarious. “Her? She’s not young! She’s OLD!”), physical pain, grief over all of the summer sports he can’t participate in, and unexpected side effects of medication (let’s just say that Percocet makes him VERY chatty at one a.m. And two a.m. And three a.m.).

His system can’t handle so much stress, and the result is predictable. “You are not my mother.” That’s where we always end up when things get hard.

And just at a time when he’d like to pull away, he has needed a lot of extra mothering since he’s down to just one hand and sometimes woozy from medication. The push-pull-I-love-you-I-hate-you-I-need-you-get-away-from-me is so extreme this week that we’re both getting whiplash.

But we work through it. We keep working through it.

Every day I have to do it again. That’s how it felt this morning. Have to.

But by afternoon, I’d shifted my perspective. Every day I get to do it again.

The difference between have to and get to is worth celebrating.

Showing up. Staying quiet. Being present. Staying in the room. Saying yes. Saying yes to this child who has heard no in so many ways. I celebrate that every day I find a way to say yes to him. Every day he shows me how.

On one particularly rough afternoon this week, he turned to me with blazing eyes and demanded, “Are you going to quit? Are you going to give up? Because I need to know if you’re a quitter.”

I try never to laugh when he’s upset because he always misinterprets the laugh. But this time I laughed and he knew why.

I am never going to quit. I am never going to give up. Persistence is my superpower.

In In the Middle, Nancie Atwell shares a story I love about a compliment Donald Graves paid her. It goes something like this. Graves asks her if she knows what makes her a great teacher. She waits for the compliment, imagining he’s about to praise her deep knowledge or brilliant techniques. Instead, Graves tells her she’s just so darned organized.

It’s a lesson in humility but even more, in accepting and embracing your strengths even if they aren’t the strengths you wish you had.

Organization might not be very exciting, but it’s what makes her classroom work.

Persistence isn’t very exciting either, but it’s what makes me the right mother for my son.

There are a lot of other qualities I wish I could get gold stars for. Patience. Understanding. Good humor. Creativity. Self-restraint. Kindness. But persistence is what keeps us going.

In the midst of his Percocet-induced logorrhea after surgery, my son shared said, “You know what’s really helped me? You never give up. No matter what, you just never give up.”

I never will.





9 responses to “Celebrate: Superpower”

  1. Carol Avatar

    Wow! You never give up! A huge compliment! I think you should frame it and hang it on your wall! Here’s to a quick and complication free recovery!

  2. carriegelson Avatar

    I think persistence is a pretty damn fine super power. I’d want you in my corner and so glad for both of you that you get to be in his.

  3. anita Avatar

    My dad. who lived with an OCD-alcoholic-control freaky wife for 60 years and one month once told a doctor who asked,” How did you stay married so long?”…”Persistence….” he said. “it’s what we do through the hard parts…we endure…and it gets better…and that is what we as people are called to do…to endure and to persisit.” Prayers for you and your son.

  4. Linda Baie Avatar

    I’m sorry about the finger. I know it’s more for your son, but my son broke his arm on the last day of 8th grade & it was a crushing blow to him, to lose all the summer things he was so looking forward to. I love that you are persistent, Elisabeth. He does keep trying to get you to quit, I see that, but somewhere in there, from the comments you’ve shared that he says, he knows you will persist. Best to you for finger healing fast!

  5. Leigh Anne Avatar

    “Every day I get to do it again.” This line has stuck with me. I read this post, left it, and came back to comment. That line says so much. He is so lucky to have you and your perseverance…and one day he will realize it! Good luck with the finger. My son broke both his wrists a few years ago so I understand this new “relationship” between mother and son. Mine said he wasn’t going to the bathroom for 6 weeks because I had to help him. We laugh about it now!

  6. Michele Avatar

    “Persistence is my superpower”. That’s a great thing to remember.
    I hope the healing is quick and getting off the meds is quicker! Trying to navigate your children is hard, but navigating while on meds is harder. I get that!

  7. crbrunelle Avatar

    This is so true – “The difference between have to and get to is worth celebrating.” What an awesome superpower!

  8. jarhartz Avatar

    Exquisite writing Elisabeth. I believe persistence is one of the greatest superpowers.

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