Sunday, July 7, 2013

Got You Seat

To my son Tommy,

You have been playing a game lately.  You jump in someone's seat or spot and then delight in pointing it out with a bit of gloating.  Usually your mom and I play along and thus you think it is appropriate everywhere.  Like all games, you have to learn the limitations and when it is or is not appropriate.  Tonight we found one of those lines.

Your Grandmother Roro has MS so she tires easily.  She also has her usual chair set up for her.  It was funny for a minute or two when you took her spot.  She sat in a little wooden chair next to you in her chair to play along.  That little wooden chair is great for four year olds but not so much for adults especially for grandmothers with MS.  The humor dissipated after a couple minutes.  When your mother and I tried to correct you, and make sure you learned that you should give up your chair for your elders and for women, your grandmother said "Oh no, he is fine."  Like many grandmothers, she would rather suffer and sacrifice than get their grandson in trouble.  The problem is this certainly was sending you mixed messages from the adults in the room and pitted you and my mother against me and your mom.

I finally had to raise my voice at you a bit to get the point through how serious I thought this was.  You moved and ran off to be by yourself.  You often need some time alone when you get reprimanded.  Your grandmother, to prove a point, refused to take her seat.  After about fifteen minutes of self induced solitary, I tracked you down.  I explained the whys and whats and got through the grumpy "Leave me alone!" attitude to give you a big hug and remind you how much I love you.  For her part, when we finally returned to the main room with an apology to your grandmother, the stubborn old broad was still sitting in that little wooden seat.  I couldn't keep a straight face later that night when I told your mom, "Thank goodness neither I nor Tommy got any of that stubbornness that my mom has!"

There is a time and place for jokes.  What gets a laugh for the first couple minutes, may start getting people upset or downright angry if you over extend the joke.  It is all confusing to a four year old, I am sure.  I know so called adults who don't understand these subtleties or intricacies.  So learning when, where, and how long a joke remains funny is a big step in your growing up.  But I am not too worried, because the key to mastering social graces lies in a good intentioned caring compassionate big heart.  You definitely have that!

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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