A TRIO OF TALES…
GROWING UP AND AWAY, Lisa Schofield
I have a son. He’s 11 years old and is growing up. I know this because there are cracks appearing in our relationship.
They were tiny to start with. I’d get an occasional “don’t, mum,” but the cracks got bigger to “Mum, don’t say that kind of stuff” to, finally, a fault line “Mum, I HATE it when you say that” (spoken in an annoyed voice in front of his friends).
I just make lame jokes that I think are very funny. And I’m sure he’ll think they’re funny too – 10 years from now.
I say things in front of his friends, I try and talk with his friends – only to be met with a “Mum, why did you say hi to them, they don’t know you at all”. I try and include myself in his conversations, I will never do this again, as last time I tried, I was met with a stony silence, and a quick change of topic.
He recently left on a three-day school trip.
I managed to give him a quick arm rub, in lieu of a hug, while desperate to ask him if he needed to go to the loo before he got on the bus. I didn’t ask.
Recently, I think, we inadvertently crossed a line.
And it wasn’t even my fault. I was embarrassing, even to myself, and certainly to an 11-year-old boy.
I’d had a long hot run that ended at a beach. My husband and the kids met me there but they’d forgotten to bring my swimmers. Still I was hot and needed a swim. “I’ll just go in my running gear”, I said as my husband was apologising. “All good, no problems, they kind of look like swimmers anyway.”
My son was horrified, “No Mum, you can’t do that, that will just look weird. Don’t, Mum!”
Admittedly I wasn’t looking my finest, but I was hot, godammit, so in I went in my shorts and sports top. Then as you do at the beach, you sit around a while, throw the ball, dig holes, and all of this I did in my wet running gear. Surrounded by gorgeous beach bodies in bikinis and other beach attire that wasn’t running gear.
I was a little mortified and a whole lot of embarrassed. Not sure why. I think I was channeling my son’s vision of me.
I think, as a mother, I am experiencing a transition from participant to non-participant.
I am the driver of the car, the pizza maker, the movie orderer, the clean uniform provider, the note signer, the sleepover arranger, the homework nagger, the PS3 turn-offer.
I have a cool factor of zero. I’m often a non-entity in his eyes, especially in front of others.
But that’s OK, I knew this was coming.
Many parenting experts have talked about this, I’ve read the books. I’ve heard the talk of others. And even though it’s a little sad as I think back on our days of snuggling, and cuddles and stories in bed, I am steadfastedly determined, I will handle this perfectly, I will respect him, and he will know that I will always, always love him, no matter where our journey takes us over the next couple of years.
Because I know he still adores me. And that I’m his ‘go to’ person. And that I’m the person who he wants to turn off his light and kiss him good night.
And I know that he’ll come back to me.
*Lisa Schofield is a freelance writer, a mad keen blogger and a mum of three boys. Lisa has written for publications such as Prevention Australia, Run4YL and Women’s Running, as well as contributing to many websites. Success for Lisa is continuing writing, being fit and fabulous, and having her boys in bed early each night (so she can watch reality TV). You can follow Lisa’s blog here.
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