Its been a while since I've posted to this forum. I wrote a new, true story this morning about something that happened last night, and I hope y'all
find it worth the read.
The beast raised its ugly head again last night
I was watching the second half of the BCS Championship Game between USC and Texas last night when my son came in and sat down with me (I guess he
heard me hollering. What a game!). It was getting to be around his bedtime, and I could see he was a little tired, and ready to lie down. He cuddled
up with me on my easy chair for a few minutes, then got over on the bed and lay down under the covers.
He was asking me a few questions about the game, about the cramps the Texas players were having, and rooting with me for USC, and then he got kind of
quiet. He looked a little pensive, so I asked him what he was thinking about. He said, “Oh, nothing.” I got the distinct impression he was
thinking about how he wasn’t going to get to spend his traditional evening ‘video time’ together with me any more, because his mother was moving
out this weekend and demanding he spend every night with her at her new place. I think the prospect of this was somewhat distressing for both of us
at that moment. Thank God the new place is close by.
I said, “You thinking about video time?” and he said, “Yeah.” He looked forlorn, and my heart went out to him. I said, “Hey, we can still
have video time in the afternoon, after you finish your homework (I don’t remember having homework in the first grade.), and before your mom picks
you up after work. Maybe I can even work it out to have you over sometimes in the evening.” His face brightened a bit, and I felt better, too. I
said, “Remember son, life isn’t always easy and it isn’t always fun, but it is great to be alive. Sometimes you have to go through hard times
to have good times. The key is to never give up, and always give your best effort.” This didn’t seem to reassure him too much, so I said,
“Haven’t things gotten a lot better around here in the last year?” He knew I was referring to the atmosphere in the house as far as arguments
and problems between his mother and me, and by extension the way he was treated as well. Our divorce had become final over a year ago, but I had let
her stay in the house because I wanted to keep my son close by, and I had something to prove to myself and to her about my commitment to peace. He
nodded. I said, “Trust me. Things are going to keep getting better and better. It might still be hard for a while and sometimes, but you hang in
there. I love you.” He smiled all the way this time. Good pep talk.
Just then, Vince Young of Texas threw a pass to his wide receiver over the middle. The receiver appeared to make the catch, but was immediately
stripped of the ball by a Trojan defender. The play was ruled an incomplete pass. I said to my son, “Wow. That was too close to call.” The
play went under review. They showed slow motion replays from every angle. I said, “Watch, now they will show it in real time. That was a
bang-bang play. I’m a Trojan fan, so I think it was a fumble.” (We won’t talk about what I think about the bogus pitch play for a Texas TD that
didn’t even get reviewed in the first half.) Dan Fouts goes, “Let’s take a look at that in real time,” and Keith (Whoa Nelly!) Jackson goes,
“That was a bang-bang play.” I know my football. I looked at my son and smiled at his wide-eyed face. “Daddy knows a lot of stuff,” I said,
“and I want to help you learn as much as I can. You’re a great person, and I can be a great teacher for you.” His smile got really wide, and I
could see he was listening, and trusting me and my vision for us. He relaxed and smiled some more and I felt like a big ray of light had just flooded
the room. The play stood after review as called on the field, and it seemed like the room continued to glow for a moment with a deep and abiding
His mother came in the room, and my son feigned sleep, an old gag. She was fooled for a second, me too, I thought he had fallen asleep while I had
gone on talking to him about the game. Then he threw the covers back and laughed in his little gotcha moment, and I smiled again. Abruptly, his mom
said, “Go use the bathroom right now so you won’t forget to go before you fall asleep for real,” and in that moment, things started to go bad.
A couple years previously he had wet the bed a few times, and this routine was a painful reminder of that for him. He resisted it fiercely every
chance he got. He hadn’t wet the bed recently, and I think he wanted to decide for himself when he would use the bathroom. My son’s face
immediately clouded as his brows knit together and his stubborn streak came out. “Not right now, I’m watching the game,” he said. “What did
you say to me?” his mom queried back, not fooling. “Mahahhhhommmm!” he moaned, exasperated. This went back and forth for a few moments while I
said nothing and things got worse. Then, “Get up this instant and go in the bathroom young man!” she demanded loudly. “Aaaahhhhhh!” he cried
and pulled the covers over his head. “Don’t you do that to me!” she yelled, and then she looked at me and said, “What have you been saying to
him? He wasn’t acting this way earlier!” And the beast began to raise its ugly head. I promised myself I would remain calm, no matter what.
“We were talking about the game,” I said. “Yeah, Mom, we were talking about the game,” said my son. “Don’t be rude to your mother,” I
said, “You’re going about this all wrong. Don’t whine and cry and pull the covers over your head, talk it over. Ask your mom if you can go
during a commercial or something, but let’s stop this bickering between you guys right now.” My son started to ask if he could wait until the
commercial and she exploded at me, “He is not my equal! We are not going to ‘talk things over’! He does whatever I tell him to do, and
that’s it!” She turned to him and said very loudly, “Now get up and go in the bathroom right this instant!” “Aaaahhhhhh!” he cried and
pulled the covers over his head again. “Oh, for goodness sakes!” was all I could manage. On the television, two Texas defensive players slammed
into each other at the goal line going after a Trojan wide-out, who caught the ball and remained on his feet, scoring a touchdown. “How fitting,”
I thought to myself. One of the Texas players suffered what looked like a broken right forearm and left the game permanently. I felt bad for him.
The beast was now in full view, not necessarily my ex, but definitely behind the gleam and flash of anger in her eyes, the set of her jaw, the
clenched teeth, seething tone, heaving chest, and crooked finger raised menacingly before her. My son wouldn’t come out from under the covers.
“You’re mean and scary!” he cried again. “This is all your fault!” she screamed at me, “You have done this to him!” “Done what?” I
said, “Taught him to negotiate?” “Taught him to disobey me!” she screamed again, “But this will all be over in a few days, and then
you’ll see!” “Oh, that’s just great,” I said. “Can’t you see, I’ve been supporting you and trying to protect him at the same time!?
I’m in an impossible position here! I just want all this horrible fighting to stop! I just want it to stop right now!” She stared at me for a
moment, temporarily deflated, then turned and stormed out of the room going on about how she wasn’t going to have her son talk to her like that and
things would be different and I would see.
I let out a deep sigh. “Oh, for goodness sakes!” was all I could manage. And the beast threw back its head and laughed like a banshee. I
completely ignored it. She came storming back in the room and forced my son into the bathroom, angrily denouncing his behavior as a betrayal of her
spawned by me. From behind the closed bathroom door, my son screamed, “Daddy, help me! Daddy helllllllppp!” I think she may have spanked or
struck him on the hands a couple times, I’m not sure. I heard him say, “Oh that’s great! Thanks a lot Mom!” and start crying hard.
I struggled to contain myself as I pleaded with them to stop fighting. The beast hissed and clawed and gnashed its teeth, barely satisfied, for now.
My ex finally let my son out of the bathroom and he crawled back into my bed, spent, and fell asleep sniffling back tears.
The Trojans lost one of the classic college football championship games of all time to the legs of Vince Young and the determination of the Texas
defense. What a great game! I carried my sleeping son in and put him in his mother’s bed. He hugged me tight, and my back would barely let me
walk under his weight, but I did it to show him the solidarity I felt with him in that moment of salvation and release from tension. This morning, he
gave me an even bigger hug, and smiled at me knowingly with a twinkle in his eye. Somehow, I’m just sure everything will be all right. I thank God,
the Father Almighty, for a deep and abiding Faith in Him. At the moment, the beast is nowhere to be seen, though it is lurking somewhere, I’m sure,
waiting for another opportunity to come forward and do its dirty work. I’m convinced constantly seeking peace in everything I do will help to keep
it at bay, and I pray one day to banish it from my life for good. May peace be with us all in our time of need.
[edit on 5-1-2006 by Icarus Rising]