Mothering is my chief occupation, much as I might periodically like it to be otherwise. It’s a dirty job. On Friday my thirteen-year-old son came home early from school with an adverse reaction to an immunization. He was miserable and the pediatrician’s nurse recommended giving Benadryl which made him soooo sleeeeepy.
When I picked him up on Friday, I had the blessing of meeting his counselor and lead teacher in the hallway. They very generously helped round up missing assignments. It took twenty minutes and there was much conversation about my son’s progress and lack thereof. Zeep started to cop an attitude. Coordinating adults make him nervous. I did the throat clear. Lots of parents have a throat clear. It is a vocal gesture which communicates, in the words of the GPS, “Make the next legal U-turn.”
Zeep didn’t heed the throat clear and he started to complain. I interrupted.
“I think you must mean: ‘Thank you for your investment in my success.’”
He got it. He immediately understood that these ladies, including me, were on his side. We were standing there, making him uncomfortable, because we care.
“Thank you,” he said quietly, dropping the ‘tude.
Later that evening, I was again niggling him about the missing assignments. Again, he was giving me static.
“Look, dude,” I said. “You are shaving now. That is getting to be too old to have your mama bossing you around which means you have to start doing the bossing yourself to do these things. If you don’t do it, I have no choice. I have to step up. I love you too much to let you f*ck your future.” (Yes. I dropped the f-bomb. I am sure that is contrary to the advice in the Great Parenting Handbook and will earn me demerits at judgement time. Oh well.)
Over the weekend, I ran into a mom whose mothering I respect and whose child I admire. That child is in college now and is one of my very most favorite kids who isn’t mine. This mother expressed a sweet appreciation that I raise my children “consciously.”
I sure do try, but dang, this is hard.
Today, I took the kids to church even though it wasn’t Sunday. I asked them to sit through a long service in commemoration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For Sissy, it was a joy. For the boys, it was boring. There are pencils in the pews. This is what happened:
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is celebrated for his vision of racial and economic justice and his commitment to nonviolence. This what Little Man drew on his order of service:
Well, I am simply doing the best I can do.