“Get up now, son, or you are going to be late to school.”
I was frustrated. Done. OVER IT. I had been trying to wake him up for 45 minutes. My son is in 7th grade. We’ve been getting up and going to school for ummm, the past eight years if you include four-year-old kindergarten. No new story here. We have to wake up and go to school during the school year. Day after day, after day. I’m not crazy about it either.
This year has been increasingly challenging as my man-child changes and matures. He’s a teenager now, and I’ve heard the teen tales from other mothers about these times. I’ve never been the mother of a teenager before, and I am unprepared for the moodiness, growth spurts, and the pulling away. I am crazy about the men in my home. My husband is my number one man, but these sons of mine are my heart.
So to have this child that made me a mama yell, “I heard you! Stop yelling!” in a hostile way, made my blood boil and my neck turn beet red.
Everything in me wanted to snatch him up and give him the verbal assault of his life: “What on God’s green Earth are you yelling for? I’m the one who does the yelling. You live in the best city that has ever existed in all of time, according to Conde Nast. You have a roof over your head, lights, and water, clean clothes, food at hand, a mother and father with a marriage intact, a brother that loves you. You do just about nothing to earn your keep, get to do pretty much whatever you want. You have no money to speak of, no way to do anything without me and Daddy. How dare you raise your voice at me?”
That is what I wanted to say, well actually, I wanted to scream it in his ear! But, instead, I began to pray.
I’ve had too many mornings like this with my boys that I’ve lost my temper and sent them to school in, or near tears, and felt like a horrible jerk of a mom for the rest of the day. Today, I stopped, remembered the sting of those days and asked God for wisdom and tried to calm down.
Instead, I said, “I will be in the car. Come out when you are ready.”
I got in the car, turned on my music, and cranked it up – worship music! But it felt hypocritical to be worshipping when I was still mad, so I changed it to sports talk radio. I think that was a nudge from God, not to turn away from worship but to try to connect with my son. My son loves sports, sports facts and sports talk, and I thought at the very least he could listen to that, and we wouldn’t argue the whole way to school.
He came outside pretty quickly, and I didn’t say a word. Normally I harangue my kids about wearing shorts when it’s cold out or about brushing their doggone teeth, but today, if someone told him his breath stunk, that was on him. And maybe that embarrassment would cause him to brush.
And as if by magic, a few blocks up the street, my son’s and my hostility seemed to vanish, and we engaged in a conversation about sports, or rather, I listened to him talk and made the occasional, “That is pretty cool,” and “I didn’t know that,” for comments. I was so relieved that this particular morning a blowup was averted.
Should I have continued to wake him up or let him be late and face the consequences?
Should I have made him ride his bike to school instead of giving him a ride, which made his life easier?
Should I have punished him for yelling at me –I’m not a big fan of being yelled at by anyone, much less my own child.
Should I have smelled his breath and made sure he brushed his teeth?
I don’t know.
What I do know is that the past 13 years have flown by. I have less than five years to wake him up and offer him a ride to school. Lots of my friends’ kids have grown up, gone off to college, or gotten married and made families of their own.
I have my sons with me, for only a little while, and I want to do the best that I can to keep our relationship intact. And try to, with God’s help, heap a whole lot of grace on my kids, as God keeps on heaping it on me.