Space Please

Me and The Big Brother. Note Mommy’s tight grip.

For the last Monday of this month I am participating in Perfect Moment Monday with Lori at Write Mind Open Heart.  This is a time to take a look back at your last month and “reflect” on those moments, big, small, ordinary or EXTRAordinary and on “second-thought” what made that moment “perfect”.

Personally, this, at first, felt much like a “challenge”.  With life circumstances that can seem insurmountable and consume all of my thoughts and energy, it can be difficult to focus on here and now, let alone taking note of the joy therein.

My oldest son (The Big Brother) just turned 13.  As first born,  I used to refer to him as my demo child.  His birth order burden was that I wasn’t sure which “theory” of child rearing I wanted to use, so……….. I tried a little bit of everything.  This was confusing to me and  I can only imagine the havoc it wreaked on my him.

Turns out while I have been “learning” how to be a Mom,   he has been “learning” how to be a kid.   As a result, our “learning curve” has been steep.  You could safely say we have (and had) different expectations.

I remember going to his/my first Mother’s Day “tea” at his  pre-school.  I expected that we would sit together and share a special Mommy and Me moment.  He thought he would sit by his new class buddy and “have fun”.  As a result, I think we both shed some tears.  Why wasn’t he attached to my ankle, “like those other kids?”  He was thinking, “why do I have to sit with HER, can’t I sit with my buddy?”

That same year, while I couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t “just sit and listen” like the other kids at story time, he couldn’t figure out why all those kids WOULD just SIT AND LISTEN.  He is still like that AND I have still wasted a lot of energy trying to change this.  He’s a people person, he has been trying to tell me that for years.  See, I don’t always listen either.  I did not hear what he wasn’t saying.   I don’t always “get it.”

Due to Daddy’s Deployment, he went to “summer pre-school” that year.  The one time in his life he has been able to celebrate his birthday at school.  I remember he was excited.  He wanted me to come in to school.  That made ME excited.  I went to school that day, brought in a birthday treat and “retreated” to the back of the room, to give him his “space.”  See…….he seemed to want me there, but at a distance.  This is still true, and something that it took me a long time to “learn” and I still don’t always “hear” him on this.

The class was sitting in a circle, singing “Happy Birthday”  as I watched I remember he couldn’t contain himself any longer, he jumped up (I refrained from telling him to “sit down””) and ran across the room to me, he didn’t say a word, just gave me the biggest hug, a kiss on the cheek, and ran back to his seat.  That day we both “got it”, we met in the middle.  That is still one of my happiest Mommy memories.

If I had listened closer, I probably would’ve heard him tell me, back off, Mom, I am an independent person.  I don’t need or want to be “like everyone else.”  As long as he knew where I was, he did not need to be by my side.  Actually, he didn’t always need to know where I was either.   Never had separation anxiety.  I used to joke that was because he was “shopping” a new family.

Now that he is a “teenager”,  I don’t know how we got here.  The time seems to have gone at warp speed and will only speed up.  Now, I think I’m the one with separation anxiety.  As he is trying harder for more freedom, I seem to be trying to keep him closer.  We definitely have different expectations on this one.  If he didn’t want to “just sit and listen” then, he definitely doesn’t want to now.

This Sunday, I was sitting in church, frustrated that the boys were HOW OLD? and still couldn’t “just sit and listen”.  I was spending more time staring them down, then praying.  I was especially frustrated with my first born.  Still, all this time, same argument…..sit still, listen. “You know better,” …..same song, last verse, same as the first.   Now, though, after 13 years he has had ABOUT ENOUGH of that lecture and I know it.  I have to!  Sooo, in defeat, I gave up.  I quietly retreated to my “piece” of the pew and wondered how many years I had before my boy would “like” me again.  What happened to my “Little Boy”.  Thinking, “I will never have that time back.”  Was he still “shopping” a new family.

This thought was lingering in my head when to my great surprise, I felt an arm go around me, give me a big squeeze and then he lay his head on my shoulder.  I grabbed his hand and we sat that way for a moment.  I was taken back to that 4th birthday in pre-school and I think this time my boy “got it.”  He heard what I did not say, and he gave me “my moment.”  Maybe, finally, we are both learning to “sit and listen.”


Filed under Johnny P

6 responses to “Space Please

  1. What a beautiful moment of interaction between you and your growing-up son. I love the way you are both figuring out the other and offering what is needed. I can identify with feeling very different from a demo child and having a steep learning curve.

    Welcome to Perfect Moment Mondays!

  2. Oh Amy! As the mom of another demo child, who is almost nine, I can so relate to this post. I love that you are both learning together about what it means to be a mother and son. I often remind our oldest that he didn’t come with directions and sometimes we are figuring things out as we go along. That is so awesome that you have these “got it” perfect moments where you meet in the middle. They do seem to be fewer and further between the older they get, but still just as meaningful. Thank you for sharing and a very warm welcome to Perfect Moment Mondays! So glad do decided to participate and link up this month!

  3. What a beautiful post! It takes a lifetime, I think, to learn to listen to our children … because if we’re any good at it, we’re learning all the time. I’m the mother of a demo child, too. He’s turning out OK, and so, I hope, am I. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this perfect moment with us! So sweet … I hope that some day I have a teenager like that, too.

  4. Your perfect moment has me tearing up. I’m such a sap. I loved this post and I love that your son heard what you didn’t say and that he gave you this perfect moment when you really needed it. Also love that you were able to “give up” and not lecture which gave him the space to do this for you.

  5. i’m still trying to wrap my head around “big brother is 13”!!!!

  6. St. Elsewhere

    You offer such a beautiful glimpse into the grown-up and growing-up phase. I fully expect that difference of perception to be there.

    Till finally, there is this breath of understanding, which is so right!

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