The night before last my sister and I were texting back and forth about my nephew and his recent lack of regard for his grades. He's up for a competition that can get him a full scholarship upon graduation but he's so into preparing for it that he's all but forgotten about his other classes. She tried to give him advice and he was disrespectful. She was hurt and angry. I told her to go to bed and not talk to him when she was angry. Well, as with many 17 year olds, my nephew thinks his Mama don't know jack and he's getting to the point he thinks his aunt (me) might not know much either. Humph!!!
After we texted, I gave my nephew a call and we had a talk. He said some things that annoyed me but afterwards, I got over them. I remember saying and doing things at a young age that I'm still ashamed of. I told him about them. He laughed at some and was silent about others. I think I got through to him. I hope. I figured I would share some of those things with y'all.
I discovered very early on that following the 'crowd' can sometimes cause regret that last a lifetime. My first memory of this was when I was in first grade. Having always been surrounded by my sisters and brothers, I behaved the way we were raised. First grade was the first time I would have a full day around people that were not family. Now understand that the way my parents were raising us required we be respectful to all and live above influence. For the most part, I did that but first grade was quite the challenge. I could go on and on but I will just point out this one instance that I still remember. We were at recess and some of the kids I was playing with decided to make fun of the kid in the wheelchair. They toss about names that I didn't even know and laughed hysterically. I wasn't real sure what to do because I knew it was bad to make fun of someone but I didn't want to end up on the other side of the taunts. So I laughed right along with them. Then that kid, Leo, heard what they were saying and started crying. In an instant, I felt bad and stopped laughing. Nothing came of it but when I got home, I told my Mama what I had done and asked her if I was going to go to hell. She told me God forgave me as long as I didn't do it again. I guess I took that and went with it but to this day I've never forgotten that feeling.
As much as that particular moment affected me, I still had moments later in life where I forgot how it felt. When you forget things, sometimes you repeat them. There was a moment in fifth grade where I was reminded of that feeling. We had a new student start. She came in and the teacher introduced her. She was wearing a leather jacket and had a good haircut. Strange that I remember those two things. Anyway, the only seat available was the one next to me. She sat down and said hello. I don't know what possessed me but I looked at her and then promptly turned my back to her. A few kids laughed at that. I sat taller knowing I was the center of attention. I was being cute and snobby. When I turned around to look at her, she had that look of hurt on her face. Of course I immediately felt sorry that I had acted in such a way. I spent the rest of the day making it up to her by being as nice as possible. It also occurred to me that others followed what I did. As soon as I decided to be friendly, others did the same. We became really good friends but she moved away before the school year was up. Even though we were friends, I never forgot my actions in the first moment we met. I still wish I would have gone about it in a different way.
The rest of my school years I had such moments. I regretted all of them and still remember them. When I think of them, I still get a small knot in my stomach. But for all of those, I will never forget any of the moments where I was disrespectful to my parents. I remember thinking they didn't know up from down when I was a teenager. They would try to give me advice and it would slide over me like water on a ducks back. Not saying that I didn't take any of it. Some of them where strongly advised to the point where I took it or suffered the consequences. Lol. They were strong like that.
The one story I shared with my nephew about parents was something that happened between me and my Mom. She had just learned how to crotchet from an older lady she was sitting with all day. She knitted these booties (socks) and showed them to me. I laughed at them telling here they looked funny. But then realized she looked embarrassed. I've never felt regret like I did in that moment. I tried to backtrack but the feeling clung to me. When Christmas came that year, I discovered she had made those booties for me. This increased the regret ten-fold. I still have those booties and found them not long after she passed. I would give anything to take back the actions when she first showed them to me. I told my nephew this to get him to understand that regardless of how he thinks he feels about something, he should try to show respect whenever possible. His mother is trying hard to do everything she can for him but she can't do it all. He needed to understand he can't have everything his friends have. He's spoiled (as are most kids now in my opinion) and doesn't really know the value of hard work. But I'm his aunt and am harder on him than his Mom. His butt will sure as hell learn that much when he comes to stay with me and my husband this summer. I promised him that!
Our conversation ended with:
Me: "Do you understand what I'm trying to tell you?'
Him: 'Yes ma'am.'
Me: 'Don't just say that to get me off the phone. If you slip up and I get wind of it, you know I'll make the drive to come and find you right?'
Him: 'Yes ma'am. I know.'
Me: 'I ain't playing. Grow up and get some sense. God don't like ugly and he ain't too fond of cute.'
Him: 'Yes ma'am. I understand.'
I get my auntie-rearing from my parents. I think I do OK. Love your people and have a great Sunday!