Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An essay from my son

I made the mistake of asking my 15-year-old son what he thought of me. Asking a question like this is like a self-inflicted wound; nothing good will come of it. So why did I feel compelled to ask my son, a moody teen, his completely distorted view of me? Some questions truly have no answers.

He said, "Well, to tell you the truth, Mom, I think you're depressed."

Thanks a lot, buddy! I thought. "Then what about Dad?" I demanded. They didn't get along at all. He had to have some far worse comment about his dad!

"Naw, he's fine," he said casually.

What this really reveals is how hard it is to be a mom, and how hard I've tried for the past 17 years. It's not a bunch of fun and games, I can tell you! There's no user's guide, and society's attitude seems to be whatever you're doing as a parent, it is wrong! Too permissive -- too strict -- either too controlling, or not enough boundaries, etc.

My main parental technique seems to be riding the kids about something they need to do, ought to do, and should be doing Right Now, but aren't. Followed by worrying about whatever it is they are actually doing.

So one of my goals in life lately is to have more fun! (Some fun? Any?) I guess I haven't been too much of a failure in that regard. Read on to see what my 17-year-old thinks of his family, and me -- the one who is a "stress reliever" and helps him see "the lighter side of life"!

By the way, due to numerous scheduling conflicts, I quickly fizzled in the quest to write 2,000 words a day. Although -- allow me to gloat for a moment -- I apparently inspired my dear friend, Sardine Mama (there's an imaginary hyperlink here) to feverishly pen at least a few thousand words, earlier this month! (I can't vouch for her productivity since that time.)

I have several higher priorities in my life right now, listed roughly in order of the time they take: working, sleeping, doing stuff with/for my family, housework, eating, working out, meditating, volunteering, and a wee bit of reading here and there. Oh yeah, forgot that hour-and-15 or so commute every day. That tacks on some time.

I asked Austin's permission to reprint one of his college essays, which he gave, so I will run it below. Every word is completely, 100% certifiably true! (Especially the "My mom is amazing" part. Yeah!) The most amazing part of all is that this was written by a 17-year-old, yet it has simply glowing things to say about mom and dad. Hmmm, we must be terribly permissive parents for him to adore us this much right now! Let me go worry about that while you read on:

I have been blessed with an outstanding opportunity for greatness, and it is in the form of my loving family. My family is and always will be there for me. I have learned that the people that truly care about you are your family, and my family exemplifies that quality to no end.
              I have made mistakes in the past, and probably will make more in the future. My dad has shown me, though, that when I make mistakes, I can learn from them and get back up as a better and stronger person than I was before. I have been out past curfew at times before, but he sits me down and talks to me about the importance of having a time to be back rather than just restricting me. He reasons through his punishments and helps me realize my mistakes so that I can try to be better in the future.  He has looked through any wrong that I have done, because he loves me. His love is what keeps me strong and willing to continue trying, even when it seems that I should just give up and take the easy route. He is a person of character, and I am proud to say that I am growing up to be like him.

My mom is amazing. She has learned to control her emotions and always reason and give me the best support that she can while still being the best mother that I could ask for. I know that she cares so much about me and only wants me to succeed and become a great person that has class. I can always rely on her for emotional support, even though I may not show it at times. I love being able to talk to her about anything that comes up because it is a stress reliever. She helps me to see the lighter side of life and to learn to focus on what is really important to my future and me. She is an inspiration to me on how I should treat myself and others, and I will always be grateful to her for showing me the meaning of unconditional love.

My brother is the guy I can turn to, to have a great time. He and I have bonded together through years of being two wild young boys tearing through our house. He is a caring and compassionate person who never stops helping me whenever I need it most. I can spend hours just talking with him about life and any hardship that I am dealing with. We used to spend whole days together just playing imaginary and enjoying each other’s company. When I need someone to have fun with, I turn to my brother. He is a person that will never hesitate to help me in any way possible, be it money, emotional support, or even schoolwork. He shows me to that helping out people that are close to you is an experience like no other.

Surrounded by people like this, I know I can succeed at anything that I try. I have great role models that I will for sure imitate when I raise a family myself. I love my family, and they have shown me how to love others through their love for me.

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