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Monday, December 12, 2016

Out of Body Parenting

I have played soccer most of my life. It has always been my go-to sport when I feel like I need to have my butt handed to me. Or when I want to meet new friends.  When I returned to soccer after my first son was born it was almost as painful as the birth itself.

I was on a co-ed team that wasn't exactly thrilled that a new mom who was postpartum just 8 weeks decided it was a good idea to play soccer while nursing.  I missed many passes because I was trying to decipher if my son's cry was a hungry, poopy or tired cry. I would look to my husband to see if he was giving me the sign that I needed to get off the field to feed our baby.

Yesterday I sat in the very same building, but now I am on the sidelines, and the baby that I nursed is on the field.  He is 13.  For a moment I had a complete out of body experience. The kind you have when you are floating above your body and can see everything from a bird's eye view.   I don't look that old, do I? I mean, yes, my son is taller than me,  but I would swear I know exactly what it felt like to hold him in my arms.

How in the hell did I get here?  I really don't feel that so many years can pass by so quickly when  Monday afternoon feels like an eternity.   He was staring at me from across the field. He made some kind of tackle or something. Whatever it was, it must have been big because he was looking to me to give him the thumbs up.  Which I frantically did,  which caused him to be mortified and then act like he didn't know who I was.

So, I folded my hands in my lap and acted like a good mom should.  I reached  in my purse to down a bottle of water because I had unintentionally drank a little too much the night before. I mean, nowadays its never intentional.  The days of trying to get drunk on purpose are long past.  I can still be that fun party girl, but in his eyes, I'm... well, a Mom.

*DISCLAIMER* It has come to my attention that some of his girl friends learned about my blog and now read it.  Just stop now.  Nothing to see here.  Nothing to tease him about at school.  Boring Mom stuff from now on.

The two of us had a turbulent week. I had taken him to get his hair cut on Monday. I  almost cried as I watched him ask the stylist about her Thanksgiving, and tell her about ours. He was so mature.  And when we left, we ran into a friend's parent and he shook his hand and told him to have a good night.  That is my boy, I thought. I must be doing something right.

By Tuesday, he had made his brother cry, filmed it and was going to post it on snap chat.  I didn't even know he had snap chat account. But this really made me angry.  So, I took his phone away. I was making dinner at that moment, and I almost submerged his phone in a pot of crock-pot chili.  But I didn't.  Instead, I let him know how I felt.

I can't and I won't have my son be a boy who bullies anyone, especially his brother.  I refuse to raise a jerk, even though the world is filled with them.

In addition to this cyber atrocity, I found out he had attempted to insult his brother by calling him a feminist.  A feminist.  A FEMINIST.  Now I wanted to place his phone in the oven with the cornbread so he could watch his social life melt away.

I understand, sometimes the teen brain has a short circuit, and they say inconsiderate asinine things.  But this needed some explaining.  He knew by my expression and sarcastic tone that I was upset. I turned around and asked him to explain what that meant, and how it was that he was using that as a put-down to his brother.  Before he could give me a sad, unsatisfactory answer I went on a 15-minute rant about how women are just as equal to men. How because of strong women, I am able to not only work, but have a family too.   How women have come a long way, but still have a long way to go, and I would be damned if he grows up to be a man who stand in the way of that.  I explained that he may not have a sister, but he has a strong mother and anything he generalizes about the female sex he is essentially saying about me or his grandmothers or his aunts.  And with that, I have a problem.

I found myself again in an out of body experience with a bird's eye view of a mom trying desperately to understand her child's actions.  I  was witnessing a woman who really didn't know what she was doing, but was tying so hard to play it off like she knew where her rant was going.

He sat there at the kitchen table playing with a Cheerio left from breakfast.  His expression didn't look much different than when he was a toddler sitting in that exact spot doing the same thing.  I wanted to shake him and hug him at the same time.   He didn't argue about the phone. He didn't attempt to make excuses.  I told him I was done and he stood up.  I thought he was going to his room to sulk, but instead, he headed over to the utensils and began setting the table.  He then took the garbage out.

He is still that gentleman from the day before, he had just had a serious lapse in judgement.

At dinner, we always go around the table and discuss our high and low points for the day.  When it got to me, I said my high point was applying to grad school; my low point was the discussion I had with Parker.  When it got to him, he said his low point and high point was his discussion with me. Nobody besides his younger brother knew what we were talking about.

I could blame the media, or music, or the bible, or whatever source I could find to support my excuse as to why my son did and said the things he did that day.  But it doesn't matter. Whatever motivated him at 13 years old to say and do those things is inconsequential.  What matters most, is that someone noticed and spun him around to see that the person he was hurting with his inconsiderate remarks and actions wasn't' just his brother, it was his mother, the generations of people who have suffered at the hands of a bully.

If his discussion with me was a high point and that was his attempt at an olive branch, I took it.   That out of body experience I was having earlier has dissipated and the weight of motherhood is firmly grounded in my gut.  I'm here and as hard and ugly and funny and heavy things get and are going to get, we will get through it together.

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