Kids can be hard, and Nate is no exception. In fact, he can be more difficult than most. There always seems to be hardship before the joy. And when it's hard, it's often a challenge to see that joy that may eventually come, although it might only be fleeting. It's like the long climb on a mountain bike. Suffering to get to the top might lead to a riotous decent but it doesn't mean that you weren't suffering to the top. It's the same with Nate. There is joy in him, and I know that there are moments where he can be happy. But it seems like such a struggle to find those moments, when oppositional behavior and outbursts seem more likely than not.
It can be hard to work past those times. Concerned that Nate's outbursts will be embarrassing or that they will have the potential to get him in trouble are always on my mind. But I carry on because in the end, I believe he will enjoy himself. And this pushing on will lead to happiness, confidence and a softening of his opposition. Hopeful that some day he will be able to find his own joy in the journey without my help.
In the end, I have to believe that if I continue to read, learn and remind myself of the good times we will be OK. That Nate will grow and become the person I know he is capable of being. There is so much there. We just need to get beyond the lack of confidence and pessimism. We just need to keep going.
All of this is not easy and we are still figuring it out, but the best thing I can do for Nate now is give him what he needs. And that means showing him that whether he believes in himself or not, I believe. That no matter how hard the climb, I'll be right there.
The ability to suffer through the climb for the short rip doesn't happen overnight. But as you get stronger, you manage to find happiness in the work. Like climbing my bike; Nate is teaching me patience, persistence and perseverance. That's when all those little moments add up into something more than words could ever say.
The climb for the short rip is real. It's not easy, but you don't need to be perfect. You just need to keep moving forward and find joy in what you have - even if it means a little suffering along the way.
Rob Herrmann is part of the Dirt Bags family and writes the Half Life blog