Once upon a time I had a loving son. He was sweet. He smiled a lot. He looked at me with eyes so full of love and adoration that I couldn’t help but fall to pieces. We were a team. We were magic. And then he turned 10.
It didn’t happen overnight, but my buddy, my son who loved me best of all, began to change. Before I knew it, I wasn’t the smartest person in his life anymore. I wasn’t the prettiest, the funniest, or the person he most wanted to spend time with. I was just Mom — that annoying woman who expected way too much. And it stung.
But the sting was more than just heartbreak; it was disappointment in the person he was choosing to become. He was impatient, too smart for his own good, and often downright rude. And I took it personally. I took it personally for a very long time even though parenting experts and friends told me not to. I cried about it, wrote about it, punished him for it, and not-so-secretly hoped one day the abominable attitude would just somehow go away. And I had every reason to believe it would. My son was a good boy, exhibiting moments of character greatness that shone in all the right ways, until bad attitude crept back in to stir up trouble the moment he’d let his guard down.
“Honey, they all go through it,” an older and wiser mom declared, “You’ll get through this. You both will. For now, all you need to do is survive.” Survive. Huh. [read more…]