It’s Saturday. I slept until 10am – a rarity for this tired mama.
I just lingered under the covers until I felt like shuffling toward the kitchen for a lovely cup of Starbucks in my favorite mug. It was, dare I say, peaceful? Which of course could only mean one thing:
There would be hell to pay.
My son was found hunched over a video screen with his buddy, Tyler.
Me: “Stink, how long have you been on that thing? Be honest.”
Him: “About one hour.”
Me: (Attempting to be calm.) “Really? Because isn’t one of your friends coming over at 1 to play with you?”
Me: Sigh of relief.
Him: “Two more are coming. Holden and Adrian.”
Me: (Blood now rising like hot air balloon…. in Hades.) “If you only get two hours/day on the computer (picture Patience with Control Issues rising) and you’re now playing for one hour (insert the image of a harpie on steriods) then do you mean to tell me you’re only going to play for one hour when your buddies come over?”
Him: (Instantly shutting down the screen) “Sorry, Mom.”
Determined not to go into a full on lecture. Going into a full on lecture.)
“You are 13! Thirteen! I don’t want to micromanage you, dude, but apparently I’m going to have to because if I can’t trust you to be responsible with your gaming limits then clearly I can’t trust you in the future when you are driving and going to work… if you even qualify for anything besides playing Mario Cart… and really is this what I am going to have to do deal with first thing in the morning FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE?”
Him: (Calm as a cucumber) “No, Mom. Just for today.”
Me: (Taking a deep breath) “Okay. You’re right. I’m sorry I over reacted.”
Him: (Hugging me) “It’s okay.” (Then) “To make it up to me, can I have a few more minutes?”
I could have gone loco. (Like just yesterday, when I had the grand idea that the way to stop an arguing ADHD teenager is to put my hands on his mouth and see if it would block the noise from coming through the pie hole. Um, note: That totally doesn’t work.)
Instead, that’s when I took the high road. I put my arms around him,
took a deep breath, told him how much I loved him, and invited him into a moment of prayer to bond and connect with our Lord, Jesus then reached my long arms down and pinched his butt.
He retaliated by grabbing a bag of gluten free bread and smacking me on the side of the noggin.
GAME. ON. (And this one didn’t require a plug.)
The moral of the story: Sometimes turning a potentially explosive moment into a joyful one can keep you from killing your offspring.
Underlying points of the moral of the story: I can be controlling sometimes. The kid is not a baby. I don’t need to be policing his every move.
The flip side of my controlling tendencies: If I don’t teach him consequences and boundaries, who will? And even more to the point (yes, I over think… like you don’t, readers?) if I don’t keep my anger in check, what’s the point of keeping him off the games in the first place if he’s only going to deal with a crazy mother who screams at him first thing in the morning with bad hair and no caffeine in her pre-menopause body GOD HELP US ALL!!!?
No, as Farmer Stacey always reminds me, relationship trumps being right.
This kid will be out of my house of my house (idealistically) in five years. While I want him to grow into a man of discipline and respect, I want him to remember being a boy who experienced silliness, laughter and love.
For me, this area is difficult, because I don’t always have the most boundaries with myself.
I don’t care about time restraints and house tasks and being on time for important meetings (Dear God, please let me work on my time issues) as much as I value chatting up the random shopper at Trader Joes about her guinea pig business and the pros and cons of fresh tumeric vs. cholesterol meds. If only I could be paid for being a chatty Kathy human being instead of a warehouse worker! Life would be perfect! (Oh yeah, I scored the perfect job for me! More to come!)
How about you, mamas?
Where is your happy balance in this parenting deal? How do you find the balance between a kid who is joyful and a kid who is feral?
The line is shaky, is it not? (Especially when you have a kid like mine.)
Until next time, May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.