I called the police on my son.
Well, maybe I called them for my son’s sake. I never thought I would have to say that; but before you jump to judgement, let me explain.
It was a typical Thursday afternoon: I had picked up my sons and we were headed downtown for the weekly appointment with Oldest Son and his therapist—something that is always met with protestation. This day was no different.
The drama really started when we parked and I suggested that he try this session alone. He sat back down and slammed the door closed.
I tried to reason with him.
I attempted to broker a deal.
I called the therapist, maybe Oldest will talk to him.
Therapist tries to broker a deal.
Threats of punishment.
“Fine, I don’t care.”
Finally, I agree to go home. (I have wine at home; it’s not too early for wine.) I tell the boys to buckle up, and turn the car on.
I turn the car off. “Put your seatbelt on.”
I am big on seatbelt safety, a friend lost one baby, and almost lost the other because of seatbelts. My sons know this—they know the rules—the car goes nowhere until I hear the clicks, and see them sitting right.
I step out of the car, self-aware enough to know when I need to step away and take a timeout for a minute.
That’s when the lightbulb clicked on and I picked up my phone.
”Hi, weird call, but would there, by chance, be a spare officer who could come by where I am parked downtown and reason with a stubborn-ass kid and explain seat belt laws? He won’t listen to his mother, and I think that a uniform and a gun on the belt might help open his ears.”
Funny thing, it worked. After some waiting, Youngest draining more battery, and me breathing, an officer arrived. He came to Oldest’s door, opened it, and in a very calm manner explained how a seatbelt needs to be worn properly to work effectively, and that wearing a backpack hinders that. Oldest listened, agreed, and took his freaking backpack off. I thanked the officer, took a minute to calm myself, and drove home.
Oldest Son was furious. He is still furious.
Oldest Son is too damn much like his mother. We don’t hear each other, we are stubborn, we are ALWAYS RIGHT! We talk over each other, certain that we know what the other one is thinking, and interrupt with immediate disagreement. My little boy, with his platinum curls and green-grey eyes the same as mine, has turned from a soft-silly-sweet little boy into a confused-angry-sad/silly-sweet young man. And I don’t know what to do.
Was this creative parenting, or was it a mom fail—was it both? I couldn’t reason with my own son. There were tears and anger on Main Street. I have laughed about this, I have cried about it. No one got hurt, no names were called, no one was arrested. But, that’s about all I can say.
There was no winning, only losing. Only hearts that were dented and bruised, and egos that were punched around.
We will bounce back, we always do. It might just take a little longer this time. But we will find it, that sweet spot where a mother and her almost-teenager fit. There will be private jokes, winks, and a new knack for sarcasm; but there will still be owies that only a Mama kiss can fix, the cowlick that only she can comb, and the warm arms that have always been, and will always be, home. A soft place to fall.
If I had to tell you what the core of my job was, it would be that: a soft place to fall. If it is for Oldest Son when he finally decides to forgive, or my baby, my Youngest Son, when the bullies find him to be an easy target because his heart is too big, Mom will be there, their soft place to fall. This is all I hope to be. I will fail, I have failed, but I will always be there. Whether they want me to be or not.