Speaking Mom

I don’t speak Spanish, but I speak another romance language (French), have been around the block a lot and even have two fabulous bilingual nephews, so I know a few words and phrases. When I listen to songs sung in Spanish, what I understand goes something like this:

“I know….here….blood….I don’t know….eat….no more….if….I don’t know….bad….pain….I’m sorry.”

In the past week or so, I’ve had serious conversations with both my sons. With Seth, it started because he accused me of meddling in his social life. Apparently, some garbled version of my visit to the guidance counselor last spring got back to him via the loose lips of a fellow parent to whom an abbreviated version had been told in confidence. Said parent told his son, who told Seth, and things got more and more telephone gamed out along the way.

What really happened was I alerted the guidance counselor to the goings-on of this group of girls who’d been texting Seth to death and requested that, if possible, they not all be in the same cluster this year, and plus, please put Seth in a 7th-grade cluster where academics, as opposed to “shut up and sit down,” are the main focus. I did not, as Seth dramatically accused, tell them to keep him away from all his friends forever and ever.

I addressed his concerns as best I could, stressing that my job as his mom is to get his back and look at the bigger picture, that I’m walking the middle ground of giving him as much privacy as I can but also keeping an eye on things.

With Owen, I held forth – passionately and eloquently, having been granted one of those transcendent parenting moments that come about now and again – on the far-reaching value and joy of learning to play the piano. Owen is good at the piano and has really big hands – he can already reach a ninth – but he gets growly about practicing and going to lessons, even though he enjoys them when he gets there and he loves sitting down and playing with me.

Again, I referenced the bigger picture, and how having learned to play the piano at his age (10) will stand him in good stead as he gets older and wants to do anything from being a techie for a musical to sing in a chorus. It’s like having a job doing something you like: even though you mostly enjoy it, there are always going to be tedious aspects. In the case of the piano, for Owen, these are reading music and doing the correct fingering. For me, it was the sinister circle of fifths, which Owen, incidentally, eats up with a spoon.

When I speak with such intensity about such important topics to my sons, I have to believe they’re listening. Or rather, that they hear me.

“….my heart….dance….sing….but….sadness….I love you.”

What they retain and what it means to them? I don’t exactly know and can only hope for the best. Perhaps it’s like what I hear in those Spanish songs that speak to me so soulfully: a few key words, and a vast and earnest outpouring of true, pure emotion. Heart to heart. Down to the most basic, human elements.  La vida.

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 6:51 AM  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. This is so brilliant and true. We’re all doing the best we can but it’s hard to know what they hear and take away from it all.


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