Thursday, March 4, 2010

Emotional Maturity

The other day I posted a hilarious (to me) true story about a conversation between C. Peevie and myself. Mr. Peevie mentioned it at dinner, and before long we were all laughing and joking about hair cancer.

"It's not funny!" C. Peevie. Long beat. "People are dying."*

*"People are dying" is what the drunk lady said to C. Peevie and his peeps when they were joking around on the El. It has become a Peevie household catchphrase.

"I can't believe you put that in your blog!" C. Peevie continued. "You are NOT going to heaven."

Later, C. Peevie and I were sitting on the couch. "I'm mad about your blog post," he said.

"Really?" I asked, cluelessly. "Why?"

"Because now everyone is going to think I'm really stupid," he said. "I was kidding when I said 'hair cancer.'"

"Sweetie," I said, "No one who knows you thinks you're dumb. And the other four people who read my blog don't matter."

"Well, I don't like it," he said. "It really made me mad." I looked at him. He was serious. I knew I had blown it.

"Honey," I said carefully, "I'm sorry. I invaded your privacy by writing about our conversation, and I'm sorry. I'll take the whole post down if you want, or I'll put in a disclaimer that says you were kidding about hair cancer. I'm really sorry." I believe that sincere apologies should include the words "I'm sorry" at least three times, plus offer a real fix.

He looked thoughtful for a moment, but didn't say anything. "C. Peevie," I said, "I'll make it right, and I won't do it again. Do you want me to take the post down? Or," I suggested, thinking win-win, "you could leave a comment."

He said he'd think about it, but that I didn't need to delete the post. I promised that I would do better at respecting his privacy from now on, and would only post about him with his permission. This might seriously curtail my blogging material, but it's worth it to remain on speaking terms with my teenager.

Meanwhile, how about the emotional maturity of that boy? Only 14 years old, and yet able to come to me, express his feelings when I have seriously offended him, and work toward reconciliation and mutually acceptable boundaries. I have known since he was very little that he is gifted with an emotional intelligence quotient greater than that of most adults, but this awareness and maturity still have the power to astonish me.

C. Peevie is my hero.

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