In the Back of the U-Haul: Last night, my former husband was moving to another new place. A place where my son will spend most of his nights. He lost the keys to the U-haul after we had together packed up the Spartan contents of the small house he's been renting for the last four years (the longest he's lived anywhere since his childhood) into the back of the truck. After about an hour of searching, he left with my daughter for the U-haul shop in hopes of getting a spare key. My son was furious that he did not get to go with them (no more room in my car which his Dad had just borrowed). He slammed the truck doors, sat in its front and banged around. He yelled "MOOMMM" at the top of his lungs. I was in the back, with lots of stuff, some of it from my past, searching through boxes....just maybe....to find that key. Finding a tattered old sarong from our pre-kid stint on Borneo. It's a 100 degrees....we're in the last days of a Chico summer.
Success looked like this:
1. My mood, for the entire past two hours, had somehow remained calm when my son came to the back of the truck.
2. I gave him a compliment for handling his frustration well - "You could have thrown a much bigger fit and we both know it."
3. And I continued: "Thanks for all the looking you've done so far. Dad and I really appreciate it. By looking so diligently you showed me your fierce determination. That's a rare quality." (I breathe a little deeper ... cause these words don't flow perfectly. Anyway, I figured I was just practicing some skills, not expecting a result.)
4. He's irritated and says fast "Why are looking through all that stuff still, we've already done that, you’re not going to find anything." "You're being so stooooopid."
5. I breathe....it's not really a question... and I've heard the last comment before. "I think they might be on the floor in the back here...so I'm clearing a path so I can look."
6. Now breathing on his part....deep and annoyed.
7. Then, he grabs something from one of the many boxes of toys in the truck. It's a pair of kid's night spy goggles. He gruffly asks me to get out of the way, puts on the headset, lays down on his belly and moves under the chairs and table legs to have a look, as if in some kind of boot camp, and he's muttering, making sure I can hear: "Determined! You bet I'm determined. I want to be the one to find these keys after all I've done so far. I waited all day in school to see my new apartment and I've had to wait all this time with this truck while those poop heads leave me behind. I will find those keys."
8. More time is now spent looking for keys.
9. No keys. He says neutrally now, even nicely.... "Mom.... ? Moooommm...." "I don't really care, if you find the keys, it's ok if you do and I don't. I just want someone to find the keys."
10. We start laughing, I struggle to lift up the edge of a futon mattress. "Are they under there?"
The End: Keys never found, locksmith called for following morning, later son goes to sleep in his bed at my house with various other spy gear under his pillow.
Getting him off to school this morning is another story.