I lost my temper the other day. Isn’t that a strange phrase? What is this temper that you lose? Is it temper like temperance: do you lose your balance, your equilibrium? It certainly feels like that after the event, when the red mist clears, and you survey the damage.
I lost my temper at my fourteen year old son, and I don’t think any parent really wins when they lose their temper with their children. Apart from the practical fact that no teenager on this earth looks contrite and answers, “Yes, sorry Mum, I was wrong.” And even if they did, it would feel quite wrong – as if you had broken their spirit. Naturally enough, my son is my son – he gave me back as good as he got – which now I smile about, but which I could not see the humour in at the time. I did not lose the battle, but I did lose my dignity, and, temporarily, my peace of mind.
The fact is that my son is vulnerable, but of course he can be annoying too. He has Asperger’s, and I know, more than anyone else, how much crap he has to deal with at school because of that (why do his teachers care so much about handwriting anyway?). But he is also a teenager, smart, cocky, always right, keen to sort the world out. It can be funny, it can be distressing, and it can, of course, be explosive.
The bread in the picture was pain viennois, from a recipe by Richard Bertinet. As he suggested, I split one of the baguettes while still warm, popped in some thin bars of chocolate, and gave it to the children for a snack. Teenagers are not too old for such treats. Much contentment all round.