Sunday, February 24, 2013

Jack is Six

I've sat down to write the birthday blog entry a few times now but I just can't seem to make it happen. I wanted so badly to be able to turn everything around into a positive with some sort of happy ending filled with warm fuzzies. I just couldn't find any until now.

Jack's birthday was kind of a disaster.

We spent a long weekend in Sunriver with my family with snow and food and hot tub and a visit from an old friend. That part was really, really wonderful. But Jack? He was a real handful. It didn't help that he was sick all day on Saturday. We felt sorry for him and let him convalesce on the couch with orange juice and kids' TV shows on repeat all day long. By Sunday (his actual birthday) he seemed much better and was ready to party.

This was supposed to be a ski weekend (a Christmas gift from my dad and Mary), but there was no way we could figure to get everyone up to the mountain. Since both kids scoffed at the idea of taking lessons, it was decided that Brent and Nick would snowboard and Jack would ski. And I would wait to break the bad news to Sawyer until the car had pulled out of the driveway without us.

So off they went, the birthday boy with his dad and his uncle, and I stayed behind to do the damage control and to make chocolate frosting.

Jack is an experienced skier. He talks the talk and had been talking it for awhile. But once they got up to the mountain, rented his gear AND paid for his lift ticket, he took one spill coming down the bunny slope and was done. Brent tried to encourage him. Tried to bribe him. Tried to KILL him with KINDNESS and ENTHUSIASM. But no. It was over.

And so Brent patiently returned Jack's rental skis, packed him back into the car, and drove him down the mountain and back to the house.

I thought Jack would be humble. Maybe a little embarrassed, even. But no. He swaggered into the house with enough attitude to peel paint. I'm still not sure exactly what the problem was, but I will tell you that he spent the rest of the day in full Oscar the Grouch mode, snapping at me and being mean to Sawyer. (Brent wisely returned to the mountain to salvage the rest of that very, very expensive day on the slopes.)

He cheered up a little when let him open his presents and ordered pizza for dinner. Then there was cake and singing and a VERY special mystery guest (hi Keke!) to top it all off.

But soon enough he was back to his old grouchy self and even though I knew I shouldn't, I started to get really irritated. We all just needed some sleep, I told myself. Everything would be fine the next day.

Except that it wasn't. Jack's crabbiness followed us into Monday and yet I was blindly determined to have some sort of wintery fun. I felt like Jack needed another ski day to regain his confidence. I also felt like Sawyer deserved to hit the slopes at least once during our ski weekend. And so I convinced a reluctant Brent to stop by Willamette Pass on our way home.

And at this point I should have just walked into the bathroom and flushed a big old wad of money down the toilet because that is exactly what our day at Willamette Pass was.

(Sawyer did have a grand old time on that magic carpet. So if you divide the cost of ski rentals and lift tickets by the number of times he went up and down that mini ski slope I'd say he had some great $20 runs there!)

Jack's foul mood cast a shadow of negativity over the entire day and culminated in an epic meltdown that lasted the entire length of the parking lot. I am actually kind of surprised that we didn't drive away without him at that point.

I am still looking for the silver lining here. The aha moment where I connect this lousy weekend with some universal truth or at least an optimistic final note. But the reality is that sometimes my kid acts like a total jerk and I don't know what to do about it. Sometimes no matter how hard we try to make it all special and memorable, it still sucks. Sometimes I wonder what we are doing wrong. Sometimes the warm fuzzies are really hard to find.

Jack is six. For six years I have loved this child. For six years I have held him in my arms. For six years I have wanted more than anything in the world for him to be happy.

I was finally able to write this tonight because I found this. This is the valentine Jack made but forgot to give me. This gives me hope.

(Yes those are beads and a rock taped to my valentine. I don't get it either.)

There is a happy and loving little soul in there somewhere, isn't there? I hope he makes his appearance again soon.

 In the meantime, here's everyone else having a great time last weekend.

(This one gives me hope, too.)


  1. Parenting is so hard. That's really all I have to say...but I promise it will be better soon and your little guy will shine soon enough. They do this to make sure we are never 100% on our game. It's a child-run conspiracy!