Yesterday was not a good day for Ace. He decided he'd be rude to his teacher at school, bossing her around and telling her no and yelling at her and whatnot. His teacher and I talk every day, and every day I ask her if he's been sweet or rude that day. I was not pleased with the report.
On the way home, he got a little come to Jesus meeting. Admittedly, I think the fact that I wouldn't let him listen to his favorite Veggietales CD made a much deeper impression on him, but he needed to know exactly why he was being punished in this horrible draconian way.
I told him, "I'm disappointed in the way you acted today." As I was saying those words, a long-ago conversation with my dad popped into my head. He told me, "all your grandpa ever had to do was tell me 'I'm disappointed in you,' and I'd stop whatever I was doing."
Honestly, I had no idea what he was talking about. My dad and I hurled insults back and forth at each other when we argued; him telling me "I'm disappointed in you" meant nothing against the "I wish you lived with your moms" and "shut the hell ups."
Our dysfunctional argument style aside, if my dad was ever proud of me, I never felt it. I only remember him telling me he was proud of me once, the night before I left to live in France for the semester. During my freshman year of high school, I brought home a report card on which I'd brought up 6 out of my 7 grades. He literally said not one word about those grades, but he yelled at me for a solid hour because my grade in Biology went from an A to a C. After his tirade, I said "Daddy, I brought up the rest of my grades." He said "I don't care."
I really had no barometer for his disappointment. When I look back, I remember always FEELING like a bad kid because nothing I could do would make my parents proud of me, but I wasn't a bad kid. As far as I was concerned, he was always disappointed in me. I was always breaking some rule that I didn't know existed before, because he (and my stepmom) would make stuff up on the fly and suddenly, I'm grounded. That's why, when he said "I'm disappointed in you," it meant absolutely nothing to me.
Whereas I only remember my dad telling me he was proud of me once, I honestly don't remember a day when I didn't tell Ace I was proud of him. I am fiercely proud of my son, and I don't ever want him to think otherwise. I may be disappointed in a few of his actions, but never am I ever disappointed in who he is. My son is freakin' awesome, thank you very much.
I intend to tell him every day of his life how awesome I think he is, how proud I am of him, and just how much I love him. Hopefully, when I say the words "I'm disappointed," they will actually mean something to him. Hopefully, my son will never feel like a bad kid.
Hopefully, my son will never feel some of the things I felt as a kid.
Excuse me while I go rename this post "Stacey's Daddy issues."
On the way to school this morning, Ace and I had another quick come to Jesus meeting. I reminded him that he was to listen to his teacher, to say "yes ma'am" and do what she asked, and to ask for things nicely. I told him that if he had another rude day, he would once again not be listening to his Veggietales CD.
I got a good report today.
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