I mentor one of my old piano students. He never knew his Dad except for the times when his dad would come home drunk and physically abuse him and his mother. I taught him fourth and fifth grade, and then his grandparents hired me to teach him piano. When he dropped the piano and took up cars and girls I started mentoring him. We hang out, go to the dollar movie theatre, watch videos, shop for cars, talk about girls (kind of), and in general I keep in touch with him.
Lately I have been dragging the truth out of him because he trashed the automatic transmission in his car. He INSISTED that he never abused it. I INSISTED that when we bought that car used for $3200 it was a little gem and worth the time and work we put in to find it. There was nothing wrong with the transmission. Finally, I got him to admit it. I was able to get specifics on what he did, and if you were to hear them, mechanic or not you would know they were automobile no-nos. Then he realized he made a mistake confessing to me and I could and would spill the beans to his grandparents so that he couldn't lie his way into another used/new car. He went back to lying. "I never said that! I didn't hurt that transmission!" he insists. That's the kind of guidance I give, and it is basically assurance that I love him but will not tolerate deceptions and lies that are meant to keep me from finding out the truth. When he messes up or doesn't meet some inner minimum requirements of being worthy, he lies and deceives so everyone will still love him, or at least not nag him and remind him of his failings, failings that are inside of himself. He doesn't love himself. Fortunately, there are no drugs at all in his life. Lies? Yes. Denial? Yes. Drugs and alcohol? No.
He made me feel real old yesterday. He said, "Let's arm wrestle, Mr. R." I replied, "No thanks. Let's just sit down here on the couch." I plopped down and felt old. I used to jump up and arm wrestle. That was fun! Lordy I felt old yesterday.
A huge part of the problem is that he and I are going to perform at his grandfather's funeral service on Monday. His grandfather died of another heart attack a few days ago. The boy gave his grandfather CPR during the first heart attack and saved his life, but this last one was at a nursing home and the hospital he was taken to just couldn't save him. His death is draining for me emotionally, and his death means more responsibility for me to guide his grandchild.
During the funeral service the young man is willing to play one song on the piano, and then he will sing two songs with me as his accompanist. Today I realized that performing music is physically draining and I am getting almost too old for such nonsense, especially when it is going to be such an emotional performance. My hats off to Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones and Arthur Rubinstein and anyone who keeps performing after sixty. That'll make you feel old. I felt old today.
THE NEXT DAY
I also edited this blog the next day and want to add something. What a difference a good night's sleep and a new day can bring to your outlook on life! I am feeling much better! At least for now. But I still don't want to arm wrestle.