“Even when my hand is bigger than your hand, I’ll still hold it” he once told me.
Things are strained between my son and I, and I’m uncertain of what to do.
“You’re afraid that he won’t like you.” One friend said.
Yeah I am.
That little boy who reached out with his tiny hands, “Up!”
That little boy who fell asleep on my chest – as I stroked his impossibly blonde hair out of his eyes.
The boy I played games with.
The boy I wanted to please with every ounce of my heart.
I didn’t want him to lose out – feel different. Having only me.
The young man who only 2 years ago turned and waved as he walked up the dirt road to the school bus stop.
The young man who would tell me everything that hurt him – share his hopes and dreams.
Of course I want him to like me.
But it feels like it’s all gone.
I blinked and became redundant.
His priorities are askew – not focusing on school nor work – he is not following the house rules which are only a few.
It was so long ago that I was ‘momma’.
I barely see him now.
I don’t hear what is hurting him.
I don’t know anymore what his hopes are – or dreams.
“Why is he treating me this way? I made sure to do everything different. Do everything right.”
I lamented to a fellow mom yesterday.
“I remember being so excited to run home with a craft I made at school to show my mom, I remember it being so important to me to find just the right present for her at Christmas time. He has never really been that way toward me.”
“Maybe you were too nice” she said.
And it dawned on me, that in overcompensating, maybe my son never had to feel like he needed to earn my love or approval.
I mean, of COURSE he never had to earn my love but you know what I mean.
I still find myself wanting my mom to be proud of me. Even at 45. I make something, or accomplish something noteworthy, the first person I want to show it to – is her.
“Like me! Like me!” My inner child always seeking approval.
I always let my son know he was my favorite person on the planet. Is that where I went wrong?
Should I have spanked him? Not played video games with him? Not snuck him out of school (when his grades were good) for a fun rare day playing hooky?
Should I have not been so candid about life as he grew?
Being mom and dad was a weird line to straddle. From baseball to condoms – driving lessons to shaving – I taught it all.
I tried not to yell, to forgive quickly. Knowing that if anything ever happened to him, I would regret every sour word.
But in doing that – I clearly did not instill any healthy fear. I did not gain respect and have not been taken seriously.
And every day – my “Up!” boy is slipping away.
And his hands are so much bigger than mine – and so far from holding.