Not a friend, a mom.
Today for Mom-Monday, I wanted to share another mom-story I got in response to my requests for submissions for the book I’m writing. (After reading some of the submissions, I decided to post a few of them here.)
This story is special to me because it’s from one of my friends from high school, Shannon. (I introduced you to her in the photos from our recent birthday celebration in Napa. She’s so much fun, and she’s a great mama.)
I know her story will tug at your heart and have you nodding your head in agreement at how hard it is to be a mom sometimes, but it will also inspire you and remind you that even though doing the right thing isn’t always easy, it’s still the right thing.
Thank you Shannon for sharing one of your tough mom-moments; I know it will resonate with many. Hugs!
Shannon’s story… Not a Friend, a Mom
After what seemed like an endless winter, the first warm, beautiful day finally smiled down on us on June 7, 2011. I don’t usually remember dates so specifically according to the weather, but this day stands out as a beautiful day that turned ugly fast.
After many attempts at trying to get a hold my 15-year-old son on his cell phone, my impatience grew. After all, what teenager doesn’t have their cell phone on, charged, and ready 24 hours a day?
Just as I was about to give up and let him find his way to baseball practice on his own, my cell phone rang. He was finally calling me back. The conversation went something like this:
“Where have you been?” I asked, “I’ve been trying to get a hold of you!”
“I need you to come pick me up,” he said.
“I’m trying to go golfing. Can it wait?”
“Um. No. I kinda need you to pick me up from Wal-Mart right now.”
“I just got busted shoplifting.”
The rest of the conversation was a blur. I tried to come to grips with the fact that my son was telling me he is a thief.
As I drove to Wal-Mart, having no specifics as to what truly transpired, I desperately tried to think of what could have happened. I came to the following conclusions:
A) This is a classic, albeit horrible case of mistaken identity.
B) Peer pressure! Of course, peer pressure!
C) It was a dare. It had to be. What teenage boy doesn’t succumb to a dare once in a while?
Ruing the fact that I didn’t have a hooded cloak and large sunglasses in my car to hide my identity, I made my way to the security room in Wal-Mart. My husband and I joined my son, two plain clothed security guards, and my son’s friend, whom we had never met before. I knew it! This mysterious friend MUST the culprit and my sweet son is caught in the middle.
After hearing all the gory details of my son’s felonious act and coming to terms with the fact that the friend was actually innocent, I signed some papers and we left. The three of us walked the never-ending parking lot in silence to the car. The ride home was quiet, as I knew if I started in on my son, one of two things would happen: I would either go off on a rant and say things I would later regret, or I would break down in tears and start bawling.
By the time we pulled into the driveway, the tears started flowing and I desperately tried to hide them from my unusually quiet husband and son.
How could I explain the whys of my tears when I was unsure myself?
I needed to think.
I needed to come to grips with this.
I went to my room and cried.
When I finally finished, I rolled over on my bed and stared at the ceiling and did what every loving parent does…
Ponder what on earth I did wrong.
How can this be? My sweet, loving, kind, funny, responsible, mature, smart son… shoplifting! Is he suffering from post -traumatic stress disorder from my divorce from his dad five years ago? Is he angry that his dad moved to Central America? Does he feel abandoned? Could the whole blended family thing have him feeling unloved?
As I asked myself these questions, it occurred to me that I wasn’t looking for an answer necessarily as to why he did this, I was looking for an excuse. If I had a legitimate excuse for this behavior then I could blame someone else, including me or his dad or his step dad… anyone but him.
If I could blame someone else then he really isn’t at fault, in which case I really don’t have to hold him accountable. If I don’t have to hold him accountable then I don’t have to impose restrictions that would potentially harm our relationship. Holy cow! I was so scared of my son not loving me that I was acting like a fool.
I realized that, other than me needing a good therapist, it was time for me to stand up and be a mom.
Not a friend, a mom.
After all, no one else was there to do it. I needed my son to learn to be accountable for his actions. I needed him to learn how important moral values are. I needed him to learn, above all else, that to discipline is to love.
As I write this, we are halfway through summer now, and my son is halfway through his restriction. He hasn’t seen his girlfriend of almost a year since the last day of school, or any of his friends. He rides his bike to and from football practice, ten miles each way, to show he is responsible and committed. He hasn’t complained or whined and has accepted his punishment without attitude or guilt trips.
I have to admit, it hasn’t been easy on me.
Sometimes I just want to tell him how proud I am of him and that he has suffered enough.
That was the old me though.
The new me is bound and determined to raise a good man that contributes to society instead of takes.
And selfishly, I like having him home. I love his humor and his interaction with his siblings. It seems livelier with him around.
My fear of him hating me was unwarranted. Dare I say our relationship is even stronger? I love that he will seek me out to sit with me and tell me how being grounded “sucks” and how “stupid” he was. He puts the blame where it belongs, on himself.
Yesterday, I walked upstairs to hear some commotion in the kitchen. I peeked my head around the corner and found my son at the griddle making pancakes for all his siblings. I quietly listed to the banter of all the kids and the rush of compliments from his little sisters proclaiming they were the, “best pancakes ever.”
And for a single moment, I relished this small frame of time where I could actually sit back and say to myself…
I must be doing something right.
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