Friday, January 16, 2009

Dirty Laundry: Aired


Wow, you guys, thanks for all of your input, and kudos on the last post. Alas, it seems that I've misled you once again: There isn't anyone hassling me. Well, there is, kind of, someone putting pressure on me.

It's, uh...me. It's me, that's who, that's been telling me that I might need to reveal a bit more on my blog. It's me who wonders if certain things I lead you to believe are entirely fair.

Don't we usually put the most pressure on ourselves, after all?

Ok. It's confession time.

You know, I write and write and write about my kid. If you'd been reading back in the day, his pre-Army days, you'd have noted a few admissions about a few lousy days, when we were at each other's throats. We argued, sometimes, back then. Go figure: he a teenage kid, and me a mother at wit's end.

Here's the deal. I often get people that approach me, in person, or via email, and lament to me "I wish I had the same relationship with my son that you have with yours."

It takes me back every single time, and I backpedal, and stammer, and admit to those people..."well, you do understand that it's not all rainbows and teddy bears between us all the time, don't you?"

And they don't, really. I've somewhere along the line given the impression that we speak daily, and that we never get on one another's nerves. That when he comes home, he mows the yard without my asking (HA! I kill me!), and that he's comfortable sitting around my quiet home for hours, just enjoying Mother's company.

And that there is never conflict between us.

I'm here to tell you that there certainly is conflict between us. Even after I worried and cried and gnashed my teeth when he was in Iraq. Even though he can't wait to get home and dig into Mom's cooking. We still lock horns.

The truth is, that over the holidays, there was a conflict of EPIC proportions in our household. One of "those" conflicts in which things are said, and done, and then said again in retaliation until the parties involved are completely shell-shocked from the pain inflicted on them, and the apologies they themselves should make. It was a conflict that had ancillaries. It branched out, and caused conflict between Brian and his father. It caused conflict between me and his father. And if not conflict, entirely, some heartache and confusion with Clint, as he tried to figure out what his boundaries were, in the midst of the whole mess.

I sent my son away from my home, and then I wept when he didn't want to return. For 3 days we danced around each other, and finally I asked him to join me for dinner. My treat.

He did. Our nervousness with one another was relieved by humor, when each restaurant we decided on was unavailable to us: No tables, or closed on Tuesday nights this week only, or just closed altogether.

We sat, finally, in the Esquire, with burgers and a beer, and we talked. Too tired and mentally bruised from the original argument, there was no need to hash it out. We didn't need much time, really, to say, "let's move forward."

We realize this: When he comes home, he turns back into a "kid" and I into his "parent." Its who we were when we lived here, and it's who we know to be with each other. It's comforting and nostalgic...and inevitably, eventually gets on each of our nerves. Truth is, he's a responsible young soldier, taking a Sargeant's test and trying to get into Airbourne school, and he doesn't want to be bossed around and parented for 2 weeks. By the same token, I'm a 46-year old woman that lives a pretty quiet lifestyle (yes, I really do), and I'm not interested in harping at a bunch of rowdy jackass boys to clean up their mess in the kitchen. (And I do say "jackass" most lovingly.)

And it takes us, in the end, just a few minutes, at dinner, to come to this agreement: "I am never kicking you out of my house again." And he: "You will never have to."

And we eat burgers and watch the game. And I cook at home for him and his friends the next evening. And we spend the day visiting his Great Grandma. And there's another big steak dinner before he leaves.

And I get up on the morning of my own birthday, and fix him and his buddy a big breakfast, and put them back on the road to Fort Benning with a bag full of lunchmeat pinwheels and poptarts and peppered sunflower seeds, and whatever else I can find in the cupboard. And I don't even cry when he leaves. Until I get back in the house.

He's back at Benning now, and we go about our own lives. He calls me for recipes, and to share things that his friends just did that crack him up. And I call him, occasionally, just to say "watcha doin?"

My son and I, we do have occasional conflict and disagreement—but never without resolution and apologies. We are also friends. We talk a lot, laugh even more, and we like one another.

And in the writing of the last blog, and this one, I've come to realize something:

You're right. I would wish my relationship with my son, on you and yours, if that's what you wish.

It's pretty close to perfect.











17 comments:

  1. To answer the question on your last post. I don't censor much. I really only censor out things that my friends or co-workers or family would be unhappy with me for posting.

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  2. StFarmer3:21 PM

    I agree... every parent should be so lucky.

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  3. You know...I think we all regress when we "go home." At least at first. And I think all of the parties involve appreciate it and resent it in equal amounts. "I'm never kicking you out of my house again" is a statement from a wonderful mom. "You won't have to" is a statement from a wonderful man ~ who happens to be your son. Nicely done, both of you.

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  4. The view from the other side? Just the same. When we're apart we're both adults, but I'm always a child when I go home and my mother is always a mother. Light a match and stand well back. The luckiest families are the ones who know that it happens and stick together after the explosion. Like yours, and mine.

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  5. I hope my guys & I have what you and Brian have as they grow up. You are very lucky.

    ps; sorry I've been a bit absent lately. it's been tough around here. Hopefully, it's turning around ;)

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  6. Aw hey, I totally get where you are. My TallBoy drives me absolutely bananas at times (especially over grades) and my real-life friends wonder if he will live to be 16 because of how much I gripe.

    But in reality, I take the good with the bad and love him the best I know how.

    My blog, though- I don't want or need to seem critical of my kid. I want and need to put out how much I do love & adore him, even when he is being a sneak attack windbag.

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  7. OMG!!! What an insight. My son is coming home in February. Excited? You bet!!! Nervous? Well... But thanks to your post I will TRY and be more tolerant. As a friend said "You'll have #180 of testosterone disguised as your son walking around your house that you didn't know existed." BUT I'm still the Mom. So there.

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  8. Here's how it works, lovely lady...No matter what, he will always be your child- he just won't always be a child... It's all good, but I never said it was easy- especially for a Mom who cares..

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  9. So I came home from a 16 hour work day yesterday to find a little package on my bed!

    THANK YOU for the beautiful cards and the pins!!! Now all the women in Antoine's life will be uniformly supporting him! You really are an AMAZING angel!!!

    You brought tears to my eyes, as you often do!

    THANK YOU!!!

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  10. Yes I too leave out many of the "Good" parts when I blog and the truth is my seemingly rosy life sometimes has many thorns. I try to keep most of the stuff positive and I toss in a little bad stuff once in a while. That's just me. There is no perfect relationship between parent and child. Well if there is, I have never seen it. :)

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  11. I'm popping in here to say thank you to all of you for your comments, and again, support.

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  12. Lovely. Very real and very lovely.

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  13. Well, I have a 24 year old daughter, so you didn't have to explain any of that. Except the dad part. I haven't talked to that guy since 2002. Oh wait, I called him once to ask the name of his uncle when I was cataloging and storing her unwanted porcelain dolls. But it wasn't really a conversation thank goodness. Maybe I should just take those dolls to a children's cancer hospital?

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  14. Funny. I never figured your relationship with your son was perfect. Even great relationships are bound to have moments of strife.

    I also don't see why anyone would infer that what you put on your blog should be everything about you and your life.

    The fact that you have a blog doesn't make your life ours. Your life is still your own and basically none of our business.

    I think sometimes, people infer too much from blogs, as if letting people in by having a blog means all of a sudden you're best friends or something. It's not the case.

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  15. I've been waiting to comment because I wasn't sure exactly what the right thing to say was.
    But I have to agree with everyone else.
    It's the Parent/Child dynamic.

    When I was pregnant and living away from college I cried every single day because I missed my mom (hormones, I assure you lol) and I drove home EVERY weekend. Which is not an easy task being pregnant and living 8 hours away, but I did it.
    I was only there for two days and I tell you, as much as we could have grown up, adult-like conversations while I was gone, the minute I got home it was like I was in high school again and BOY I couldn't wait to go back lol.

    I think it's like that for everyone, at least a little bit.

    :)

    I don't think you've misrespresented yourself or your relationship, and I don't think that you've misled us to believe that your life is perfect. I think sometimes, when we get so caught up in reading you, we get lost in your words forgetting that somewhere you're out there living the life you talk about, in reality.

    In reality, people argue, feel sad or angry and not everything goes the way we think it's supposed to.

    I don't think anyone's blog is a log of everything they do every day and we can't expect you to share everything! I certainly don't. Not on purpose, but because I come to my blog to write and figure things out and sometimes one thing is more important to me than others at that moment.

    Sometimes it's to tell you about a mushy moment with Jamie. Sometimes it's my financial crisis and nighttime panic attacks. SOMETIMES it's to tell you that I let James run around the house with no

    You're so honest with everything as it is, that's why I read you.
    I can't tear myself away from your blog some days!

    I hope that I have the relationship with my son that you have with yours.
    The ups AND the downs.
    I think you guys are a fantastic pair.
    :)

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  16. That last pic was a delight Lori!

    I am 27 and not yet a momma, but kept looking at it and dreaming of a day when me and my son ( or daughter) would have a cheery dance like that one. :)

    Sweet.

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