The Artist, Struggling

So The Artist has had a rough few days. First, there was a science test for which he had to spend time studying. On the weekend. This part is crucial. He actually doesn’t mind studying and doing homework during the week, that’s the way things go, right? But weekends are sacred. Weekends are for hanging out playing video games or fighting imaginary foes in the backyard, or helping in the kitchen. Weekends are NOT for homework and studying.

I blame a former teacher of his who insisted that there should be no homework on the weekends, she would never assign anything, nor would she schedule a test for a Monday. Nice of her, but it always kind of bugged me, because for us, weekends are the PERFECT time for homework. Evenings are hard because there is so much going on typically. Usually we are trying to get to and from karate and other activities, make dinner, clean up after dinner, do dishes, attempt laundry, etc. etc. etc. Not to mention the fact that we are usually pretty tired after working and going to school all day and therefore doing and/or helping with homework taxes everyone’s already overworked and overtaxed brains.

Also? This was back in grade 3. Now the child is in grade 6, where the expectations are a little greater, there is more work, more classes and so sometimes homework and studying are weekend activities, sadly. So there were tears. And he revealed to us that he felt so stressed. Which immediately sent up a red flag for me, because one of the things The Genealogist and I try to avoid is to put too much pressure on the boys to do well in school. Not that we don’t encourage them to do their best, study hard and take pride in their work, remind them to prepare for upcoming test and assignments or anything. We do all that, but we also let them know that as long as they are prepared and they have completed their work and handed things in on time, and done their best we aren’t too concerned about what grade they might get on the test or assignment, you know? So it worries me when the boys tell me they are stressed about an upcoming test or project. I also know that neither of them are the type to really get stressed about schoolwork, so I usually try to talk to them to determine if something else might be going on, because I often suspect that that is the case. I am usually correct.

So when I explained to The Artist that I didn’t want him to be stressed, that all he had to do was review his notes, complete the study sheets and he would feel more prepared for the test, he confided the following:

1) I’m really not sure that I want to know about Santa Claus because I am afraid it will be too sad to find out for sure.

2) I really wish nana was still here, because I miss her so much and Christmas is so hard without her.

3) Also M has a boyfriend.

So let’s deconstruct this, shall we? #1 is probably the main cause of all this stress. He is 11. It’s pretty doubtful that any of his friends are still hardline believers in Santa. This is especially difficult for the child who lives for anything magical and other-wordly and make-believe. He just does. He believes in things so very deeply, and he just wants it all to be real so badly. This is a tough one, friends.

Moving on to #2, this one is self-explanatory. This will be our second Christmas without my mum, and while those “firsts” are all so difficult, the subsequent holidays are hard too, for different reasons. Now we’ve come to the new normal, everything has changed completely and will never ever go back to the way it was. So I get it. I get that he’s feeling such loss, especially as we get deeper into the holiday season. It just really sucks.

#3. M is The Artist’s good friend who happens to be a girl. He has had a little crush on her for some time, but according to him, she has a boyfriend. So they are destined to just be friends. Which, ok I get that he’s feeling sad about this because everyone wants to be loved, right? So I tried to tell him that being friends is awesome, because having a boyfriend in grade 6? Usually just means that you and another kid have mutual crushes on each other, but you don’t actually do anything together. Unlike The Artist and M, who hang out pretty frequently, went trick-or-treating together, get invited to each other’s birthday parties, etc. Being friends is where it’s at, if you ask me. And I think by the end of this conversation he thought so too.

And after all of this? He still had to study for his science test.

I love this boy with all my heart, and it kills me to see him so conflicted. He’s 11 though, and that means that he is pretty resilient, so of course he went on to rock his science test on Monday. He’s got some made coping skillz, that one. He has the ability to pick himself up, dust himself off and start all over again. Just like the song says. I know a lot of adults who could learn from him in this area. A lot. I am so proud of him.

But I still don’t know what we’re going to do about the whole Santa thing.

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