It was the day after Christmas when my son told me he needed an Xbox one. A handy thing to have known days before Christmas in order to redirect funds that had just been spent on the gathering of other much needed items. It’s worth mentioning that he did not come to me with a demand or a lack of gratitude for what he had just received. He came to me with a need and a question on how he might be able to fill that.
It takes some deep breathing for me in these moments because I have a lot of issues around money, it’s lack and even it’s abundance. The spending of money on things when we have what to my mind appears to be the exact same product with a slightly different twist in duplicate.
I did thrown down a “That would have been good to know before Christmas ” to his “but I didn’t know how awesome it was then. ” Fair point.
So we began to talk like we always do about the things we have that could be traded, the pros and cons of that, his own financial status and ways to turn that into the sort to cash one needs for a big purchase. I can’t quite capture in words the magic that comes out of these conversations. My son does a real inventory of his own priorities. Looking at items that were important before and making decisions on their current value. It was at this stage that I was able to step back and see how mature he really is becoming in this area. A year ago, it would have been “all of my things must go so I can have this new shiny item.” This time it was more like, “I would like to hold on to that because I know I might go back to it.”
Let’s pull that out for a second. My 12 year old son, knows his own patterns well enough to begin predicting future behavior. I don’t know, that at 42, I’ve quite nailed that down yet.
Back to the story. We did acquire an xbox one, through serious negotiations and fund seeking and selling and trading. And mom gets to rest now. I find this sort of thing exhausting. Not because my child is pestering me or being rude or asking for too much but because it all makes me feel outside of MY comfort zone. It brings up issues for me about money, about providing for my child, am I doing too much, not enough and having all those issues raised up day after day makes me uncomfortable. I would prefer he just get over it and let me scurry back in to my place of comfort. It is so important to notice right now that it is all about me wanting my child to change so I can feel better. That’s not his job. This lesson I learn over and over and over again.
So from my foot up place on the couch I darn near bit the head clear off my son when he asked me to look up something on GameStop. He was hoping to get another game for his Xbox One. I may have lost my cool just a little bit here. Saying something obnoxious like “will this need for more stuff ever end.” I could see on his face what I was doing and quickly changed course.
“Dude I am sorry for snapping. What can I look up for you?”
We do another round of research all my same issues flying to the surface. I look at my son and I say “can you tell me more about wanting this right now?’
“It’s just that when I know I am close to having something I want it is all I can think about. I want to find ways to get closer to having it when I know it’s right there. I’m sorry if I’m annoying.”
We tumbled on to the most heart felt of conversation after this. Where I learned more about him and about myself. A very important thing I wanted him to know at this moment was that I would offer him many more opinions throughout our journey together and that he was welcome to take them or leave them. But even more so, my support of him was never tied to his acceptance or rejection of my opinion. My support of him was always and forever. And with the end of that he decided to scrub a hard drive exchange a game and without a scent out of my pocket pick up just what he wanted.
My lessons summed up are, it is never my child’s job to make me feel inside my comfort zone. My issues are mine to tend to outside of my relationship with him. It is not the job of my opinions to stop my child from making mistakes of his own. Supporting my child is not tied up in what he does with my opinions. And the Xbox One has pretty cool graphics.