Sunday, May 29, 2011

Left, Right or Straight?

It's late evening, and I am sitting at the end of our older son's twin bed in order to provide him comfort. His tears of depression have returned, and all I can offer him is my constant presence.

As he tries to settle to sleep, I look out the window beside his bed, remembering when my husband and I were first looking to buy this house. We had been married only a year and had no children but joked that the child who won this room would have the perfect teen getaway room. There is a roof directly outside of this window. And, if the child can't reach a tree branch in order to make a michievious escape, I'm sure a buddy would think to bring a ladder.

And, no, this is not the kind of teen that I was. I was an angel. :)

Tonight as I look out this window, I think of what a difference a decade makes. Now that window has plexiglass covering it. There are two different locks on it and an alarm. The room has glass break detectors. For, if our son were to get out onto that roof, he would likely not look for a tree branch or a buddy with a ladder. He would likely run straight off in an effort to achieve freedom.

Freedom. That's what this kid has always wanted. He is, after all, trapped in his world.

I remember one of the first real steps of freedom he had. It happened when my husband put him In the car one Saturday morning for their usual weekend drives. Only, this time, at the end of the driveway my husband asked him if he wanted to go , "left, right or straight."

Our son answered promptly, and, what happened after a series of more very deliberate answers was their arrival in the parking lot of a Wal Mart more than 20 minutes away from our home that housed a kiddie ride which our son adored.

That was the day which "Left, right or straight" was born.

Our son may not be able to tell you that he wants to go to the bowling alley 15 minutes from our house, but he can "left, right or straight" you there. You may not know that he is wondering if the local amusement park truly is still closed in the dead of winter, but he will "left, right or straight" you there as well. He'll do it at 4am, too. Just ask my husband.

Wanna know what I love? This kid has an INSANE visual map of where we live. I was not born her, yet have lived here far too long to give any excuse for getting lost. My best tool? "Left, right or straight" gets me out of jams all the time!

Yet, for me, it isn't always fun. I'll play "Left, right or straight?" on school holidays in an effort to brighten his day. I'm entirely too uptight to do this I'm a destination person. I don't mind being kept in the dark about where our trip will take us. I don't even mind that this child will take us on roads I have never seen before. But what I absolutely can't stand are the detours! The times when, wow, he sees a building that just might have a pool visible from the parking lot!

"Turn around!" I'll hear.

What? HERE? Back there? Where? I oblige, after all, he's helped me out of a jam or two. However, by the second or third detour, I tire of being barked at by my low-verbal child for sport. Usually, the game ends in mommy cranky on a side street of an unknown area of town threatening child with pulling out her own GPS if he doesn't make an effort to get along.

I'm only human, but I'm working on that. When he is in the car navigating, he is director of the ship. It's a rare piece of freedom in a world where everything is dictated.

I definitely need to get over myself.


  1. I understand the reason the 'Left, right or straight?' game is important to your son. The freedom to be in charge of where he is going must be so liberating! I must admit, my instant thought was, I want to 'liberate' this game and try it when I am walking around where I live. Who knows what I might discover! Thanks to your family for a great idea :)

  2. You sound just like my husband. For me, it is about the destination. For him, it's about the way we get there. That's just how we are wired. Enjoy the walk! And, thanks for ignoring the typos. I always make them when blogging on my phone and can clean them when I have time to make it to my husband's computer later.

  3. We have done this walking too, was one of F's first freedoms, very exciting for her to be in control of where we were going. Amazing how he uses it though, really amazing. And yes you're human, you are allowed to get cranky, mums (and moms!) do get cranky, nobody makes you an angel the minute you become one, even a spedmom x