Sunday, March 04, 2007

Mommy Dearest

One of my teenaged sons called me a fucking idiot today. It wasn't under his breath (which I'm used to – I do have three 16-year olds after all) but right to my face. Needless to say I didn't handle it well. I went ballistic on him for it because no matter what – when things break down to that level there has to be some kind of parental counter, some kind of reaction, and a consequence he'll have to pay. I'm still mulling over what that'll be.

Our heated exchange began over something I try to make a habit of; eating dinner together. Admittedly, it doesn't always work out that way every night. But late this afternoon I took the time to make something good and when I called everyone in to eat, he filled his plate and took it back to the computer to eat there.

I seem to yell a lot these days. I often wonder if they'll look back years from now and remember me only for that. I love my children with all my heart, but teenagers are very tough to live with. Gentle conversation and sweet plaintive requests to do this or do that don't seem to move them off their butts. Not nearly in the same way saying it ten octaves louder the third time while simultaneously pulling the plugs on their computers.

Computers. Another whole tangent I could go off on here. I could offer up a good argument for how they contribute to the breakdown of a family, but I know it's already been debated endlessly. And having said that, it goes against the fact that I'd be hard pressed to live without one now myself.

Then I think of Isonomist, and how she gained a small but priceless legacy from her son through his blog, the sharing of which was truly a gift to so many of us here. It was an insight into her own child that she might not have had were it not for the computer.

Fast forward to now, a few hours later. I've calmed down, I'm not angry with my son anymore. He came in to me on his own accord a few minutes ago and apologized for his words, so maybe I'm doing something right here. But I'm still kind of stunned by him talking to me like that, so he's off the computer for the next 3 days.

You know, it's hard navigating through this parenting stuff sometimes. Especially when your sons have grown so much bigger than you.


Ted Burke said...

You're sons may have grown bigger than you, but you remain their parent, and that commands respect.My guess is that your teenager loves you no less than you love him but has a need, none the less, to exert his growing sense of being autonomous, free of your influence. It's awkward and it's ugly and it's something you get through. I once told my mom to go fuck herself when I was seventeen as we argued over a girl I was dating; I'd just discovered the wonder and power of sex and was in no mood to have either of my parents restrict my activities. It wasn't a pleasant situation. I made my amends to my mom as you describe your son apologizing to you, and though my mom accepted my rueful words,she was empathetic in stating that I was lucky she didn't toss me out of the house. Even though I stayed in my parents house, I was suitably disciplined with more responsibilities I had to perform, no excuses. I hated the extra work, but I respected my mom, and overtime our relationship
matured into something wonderful until she died in 1986. Had she not been firm, I more than likely would have become a sorry specimen of manhood. You did right, I think, and this experience is likely to make your relationship stronger with your son. It does sting, though.

topazz said...

thanks, ted. I do believe this is the first time I've ever conversed with you, but I've been reading you for a long time.

Anyway...17? That's only a year away. I'm hoping the sex stuff holds off for a while longer than that. Yes, I'm smiling as I write that. I'm not being naive but Catholic school, sports, and a part time job help to keep some things delayed. Even one year can make an incredible amount of difference. Thanks for sharing your insight.