Today we all took a drive to the cemetery. My husband’s father passed away when the kids were quite little, but we still go to his grave together around his birthday and other times and sit on the ground and tell stories about Grandpa. We give the kids the option to come or not and today they both wanted to go – but Blake almost nearly didn’t make it.
Things started out well enough. I went into both boys’ rooms and woke them, asking if they’d like to come with us. I told them when we would be leaving. Big Brother got out of bed and got himself ready. Blake played the game he seems to play regularly which is to tell himself he can have just a few more seconds in bed. Thirty minutes later, he was still in bed, sound asleep. I asked him again if he wanted to go. He answered that he did, but managed to fall back asleep once more. A half hour later, just before we planned to leave, we gave him five minutes to get downstairs, or he would simply miss this trip and we would come back for him later.
Blake made it downstairs, but he immediately began to argue with us. It was about praying. He hadn’t had time to say his morning prayers yet. And then he was going to be at a friend’s house working on a school project for the rest of the day. He couldn’t leave yet. He had to pray. It was already fifteen minutes later than we had planned to leave, and we were on a tight schedule.
“Blake, you can either come with us now and figure out a different time to pray, or you can stay home and do your prayers and we will pick you up on our way back to take you to Kyle’s house,” my husband told him.
“If I come to the cemetery, will we be coming back home so I can do my prayers then?”
“No, I’m sorry, there’s not enough time. We will have to take you straight to Kyle’s,” my husband replied.
“Then neither of those will work,” Blake told him. “Not going to the cemetery is not an option, and I can’t go to Kyle’s if I haven’t done my prayers. I’ll be way behind. I’ll never catch up.”.
“Those are the options. We are leaving. If you come with us now, we are not stopping back at home.”
We all went outside, Blake included. Once we were in the car, he continued to protest.
“I’m way behind in my prayers. I’m going to have to pray at Kyle’s house.”
“Blake,” I reminded him, “your responsibility at Kyle’s house is to your group and the group project. That is not the time to be doing your praying.”
“But I’m way behind.”
“You’re behind because you didn’t get out of bed. Now you have responsibility to others. You had your own time this morning and you used it to keep on sleeping,” my husband reminded him.
“What’s the big deal about the praying?” Big Brother asked. “If you need to do it, why can’t you just do it now while we are driving?”
“It doesn’t work that way. And, Dad, it wouldn’t have made a difference if I would have gotten out of bed. I’d still be way behind.”
“You would have had an entire hour to do whatever you would have wanted to,” my husband replied. “You bear some responsibility in the situation you are in. And it is not okay to take away from other people’s time because of your own lack of planning. Your responsibility is to your group.”
“I’m going to be there for hours! I’ll find time to get away and pray.”
“Blake. Dad is right. You chose how to use your time this morning and unless there is an appropriate time for you to take a break to pray, it is not okay to take time away from the project,” I chime in.
I’m frustrated over this argument and what seems to be Blake’s rigid adherence to a prayer routine above all other things. I’m frustrated that he was late to school twice in the past week because he stood in front of school praying. I’m frustrated that he insists that he MUST pray a certain way and amount each day, regardless of what else and who else it affects. I’m frustrated that we are having this argument. We arrive at the cemetery rattled.
We managed to put the argument aside to have meaningful family time at my father-in-law’s graveside. Blake got to Kyle’s house on time and, as far as I know, things went well. The project was completed. I don’t know if he snuck off to pray, but I did get a text from Kyle’s mom.
“Blake is playing the My Little Pony game with Sarah :-).”
Sarah is Kyle’s sister. She is several years younger. I know that Kyle’s mom is touched by Blake’s being willing to spend a little time playing a game with her. It is not common that a teenage boy will sit down on the floor and allow himself to be subjected to My Little Pony. I am reminded that, along with his rigid rituals and current argumentativeness, Blake has a nurturing and giving nature. He has always been a generous and loving soul. I am so glad that he has held on to it – and that this is what people generally take away from their interactions with him. It is not the rituals and the argumentativeness that they see; they are touched by the kind of person that he is.
* Today marks Day 10 of my 30 day challenge to post every day in the month of November. Thank you for coming along for the ride with me. 🙂