I normally don’t stop everything I had planned at the moment to write – but as I recall a conversation I had yesterday with one of my sons, I’m filled with emotion and gratitude. I am going to rename this son Frank for confidentiality purposes.
Frank arrived in my home at a young age. He had, and still has, striking facial features. He appeared to be an angry child with a noticeably severe physical disability. Later I would learn Frank had some mild to moderate learning problems.
Frank’s and my relationship seemed strange to me – not like that which I had with my other sons. We could work together peaceably for long periods of time doing physical type of work. I cherished these times together because for some reason I felt Frank was not able to accept the love I had for him. It was close to impossible to give Frank any type of verbal praise. I don’t know why but I feel he was unable to respect himself or to see any worth in himself.
Frank didn’t have many close friends in school. He wasn’t much of a people person and had some seriously delayed social skills. He also struggled with academics because of learning challenges, not that he’s not intelligent. Frank continued to be angry and would express his anger in many inappropriate ways. We definitely clashed at times, however our ability to work together never stopped.
Underneath all this anger I could also see a caring young boy. Frank chose very carefully whom he cared about. I witnessed from a distance many caring and loving moments he shared with some of his weaker siblings. I learned to keep quiet and not make a “big deal” out of such actions because my comments seemed to produce an undesired result. At that point, I decided it would be best to try harder to be a positive role model through my actions and less through my words.
Needless to say, I had my moments that weren’t so positive. I had to apply tough love. To some, my flaws are not visible but to my sons I’m sure they could tell you more than what you would like to know. However, I journeyed through Frank’s childhood and into adulthood with the goal of demonstrating love, care, respect, and forgiveness for others as best I could with the hope he would learn from my example.
As mentioned, Frank was not a “people” person and you can only imagine how shocked I was when I learned his first job was extremely people oriented. I was worried things would not turn out so great. However, he would come home from his job telling me stories about the people he worked with and how much they loved him. It’s obvious he worked hard and loved those people but this job did not last long because of the people he worked for. I felt sad when he told me he was moving to another job because he just couldn’t deal with the people he worked for.
Frank’s new job is not people oriented but he likes the work and works long hours. He takes pride in working hard and performing the best he is able to. So, why am I writing about emotional moments from a conversation we had yesterday? Because the conversation Frank initiated with me was about his feelings. He is now more able and willing to open up with me and share. He shared with me how much he misses the interaction with the people from his first job. He misses how he doesn’t seem to feel appreciated at the same level for the work he is currently doing.
Why am I emotional? My angry, somewhat anti-social son of years ago has worked diligently to improve his life and the lives of those around him. Maybe all the years of trying to provide a positive image have paid off? I would hope so, but even though that may not be the foundation to the reason Frank is who he is today – I could care less. I’m just stinking proud of how much he has achieved with his life and he knows he is loved and appreciated by me.