My son is being a little shit lately.
He’s actually well over six feet tall and seventeen years old, so I guess that makes him a big shit. He’s stormy, disrespectful, self righteous, ugly and cocky. He has all the answers. He’s conniving and manipulative. It’s super yucky and he makes me nervous.
When we were building our house we used to schlep the kids through the desert every day to witness the progress. They would run around in the dirt, avoiding ditches, swerving around pipes, to find their rooms or figure out where the kitchen would be. The build was stressful for us, but the kids loved it. They were entranced as our house grew up around them.
It was hard to make out a lot of the rooms initially, but once the foundation was in, once the big slab was dried and placed, things started to come together. All basic plumbing was there, sealed in concrete.
I remember being happy that our foundation didn’t crack, that according to our contractor, who was a lunatic by the way, it was a “great pour.”
Foundations are important, it’s what everything else is built on. I didn’t want a cracked base. Everything else can be fixed and we have had a lot of fixing over the past few years. Our drywall job was not the best. I’m pretty sure a monkey put our showers in, but those things, with a little extra effort, can be repaired.
Ugly doors, fixable. Obnoxious, poor choice at the time, paint color is a phone call, or a trip to Home Depot. Everything above the foundation, no matter how damaged, aged or waterlogged, can be fixed. Even the roof, the top of the house, can be patched, so long as the foundation, is solid.
When my son was little, he used to hold my hand. He was a giggler, mess maker, story teller. He sucked his thumb, ran everywhere, and he never listened. As he got older, he was a jokester, super duper hugger, with a killer smile. Up until about a year ago, my growing up, almost a man, son was a comic book reader, dreamer, thoughtful almost to a fault, tower of warmth. He was poised on the brink of something sparkly.
He was a challenge then and he’s a challenge now, but things have gotten ugly lately.
Things need to change, but I know when I lay my head on the pillow at night, I know even when I’m bewildered, disappointed or sad, that his foundation, his childhood, his character, is somehow, somewhere, deep inside of him, still intact. I don’t talk to him anymore because I’m tired. I don’t like him lately, but that’s okay for now. He knows he’s loved.
Hopefully he puts in some new windows, changes that old nasty paint and finds his sparkle again.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Door Shut.
children keeping it all together life Motherhood Parenting sadness sons children coping family life Parenting thoughts work
Never thought I would live through those years. You’re right about the foundation. One day he’ll be painting, and changing the windows.
Oh boy. Yep. Mine is 14 and the past year has been challenging. But I know the seeds have been planted. And so do you. Growing up is mucky for some of the most interesting people I know. And God gives some of us moms extra credit:).
I totally love you for opening this post with: My son is being a little shit lately. This is a great post, and makes me afraid of the years ahead of me haha. It’s a great analogy, and I’m sure you’re right about his foundation shining through again soon. Hang in there!
Sigh. . .teenagers! There are some lucky parents out there whose teens never went through this difficult attitude period, but it doesn’t last forever. Hold onto that thought and hang in there. You built a solid foundation and the likeable, reasonable human being is in there somewhere. . .
I went through it with my sons, but they and I outgrew it. Love them always, but sometimes it was hard to like them.
For what it’s worth: My Beloved Sandra went through this with her two daughters (but at a slightly younger age) both of whom have turned into beautiful, successful women and loving daughters again. In addition to the mother/daughter dynamic having healed, they’re all really good friends that enjoy being with each other, singing each other’s praises as often and as long as possible, despite their geographic distance.
As for me, the childless guy who came into their lives in the midst of the turmoil, the best I could do was bear witness and zip my lip. I’m grateful for the cessation of hostilities, and the rebirth of love I’ve witnessed over the past few decades.
I gotta say: when I see what many (most?) parents have to go through to get back to where they were when the kids were kids, I think to myself, “Man, that vasectomy feels better and better every day.”
Hang in there. Here endeth the testimony.