Mental Kryptonite

Today, Christian turns 17. Em has been super patient and calm with him. She’s going to be missing him come Friday. Tomorrow he leaves for a band trip to Chicago. He’ll be gone until really late Saturday or early Sunday.

So around trying to celebrate with a cake and spend time with him before he leaves, we are trying to get him to finish packing. Procrastination at it’s finest. Em did however want to help her brother blow out the candles on his cake. It was kind of funny. Today is a little bittersweet. Next year, he turns 18. Next year, he becomes a full fledged adult. And while I do my best to not compare my children, I end up seeing how he’s matured and become a fine young man and I wonder if Em will ever be able to navigate the social waters like he does.

It’s kryptonite. For her. For me. I see her struggle to understand social cues and body language. I see her struggle to understand how people use and manipulate her. I struggle to see her when she cries and thinks poorly of herself for missing or misunderstanding people or their intentions. She has such a big heart but it’s not always understood. And it stops me dead in my tracks and makes me rethink every choice and decision I’m faced with.

How can I better her life and better our situation? How can I divide myself into more than one person? How can I be everywhere at once? Common thoughts moms have but add mine with the kryptonite hanging in the back of my head and there are times I’m at a loss for what to do. My mental kryptonite is her physical and mental kryptonite at times.

Em is great with animals. There is a silent understanding between them. My friend, Wendy, calls Em the animal whisperer. Em can read an animal and understand them long before most people. She can connect with them in a way that is hard to explain. Watching the horses flock her when she walks into the field and how they trust her. Watching the neighbors dogs throwing balls down the hill and barking for her to come and play and love on them. Even watching our cats, who get lovingingly manhandled by her, curl up and snuggle her with love in their eyes daring you to try and move them.

People. They are complex. They hide their true motives. There can be hidden agendas. You can’t look in their eyes and see truth like you can with animals. She knows what to watch for in animals body language. She doesn’t understand people body language. And that misstep sometimes leads to tears. So then we regroup. She figures out who she can trust to help her navigate those waters and help her with cues.

For tonight though, we just love on Christian. We just celebrate the young man he’s becoming. And he loves his sister. In time, I think the differences will be less obvious. In the meantime I think I’ll try my best to avoid the mental kryptonite, help Em avoid the kryptonite that for her is both physical and mental and we’re going to cling to some positives.

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