Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Ultimate Responsibility

Man, my kids have been giving me a run for my money lately. It's really not much fun sometimes. It's interesting to try and figure out how one can simultaneously love being a mother and hate all of the responsibility that goes along with parenting at the same time.

I have come to the conclusion that I really do not want to be ultimately responsible for whether or not these kids turn out to be good humans. It's certainly a lot to shoulder. But yet I have no choice, there will definitely be some raging internal guilt and harsh judgement from others if I totally drop the ball and don't see them through to adulthood.

My son was particularly challenging this week. This child has been difficult from about the time he could walk. I love him dearly. As in throw myself in front of a bus to save his ungrateful ass kind of love. But uuugggghhh, is he hard to manage on the day to day without going bald from ripping out my hair. He is smart, and charming, and has the potential to be kind when he wants to be, and really, really mean, angry, anxious, depressed, and selfish a whole lot of the time. We are working on that, along with all of the other intense 12 year old emotions that come with middle school, divorce, moving, and blending families.

I realize that other people have it much worse. Nate isn't challenging in the intense ways that many kids I know are challenging, he doesn't have an attachment disorder, or autism, or any physical or learning disabilities, or any other major issue that I see making so many other parents struggle. I am lucky to have him and his sister and their ultimate health and good fortune. Nate is just a run of the mill kid who was given an adult body and hormones far before he was ready for them, and who has always pushed me to my limits, ever since he could talk. The combination of the two, along with a whole lot of change that he didn't ask for has made him unbearable most days. For me, when managing the emotions of five other struggling teens and tweens, this is enough to make it hard to deal.

This week (before all the struggle) we had planned an event for just the two of us to go out for his birthday. I debated cancelling this event, it was a major plan, had cost a lot of money and was his big birthday gift, but in the end I decided that I still wanted to go and spend time with him one on one. I am extremely grateful that I made that choice, because ultimately what I always find is that when one of my kids is acting out it is often in response to them trying desperately to get my attention. We had the best time together that we've had in years, and at the end of the night he was laughing with me and taking selfies, and connecting with me in a way that I really had worried for a while wasn't possible anymore. I am so relieved to know my boy is still in there, masked most of the time by teenage resentment and hostility. The glimmer of his true self gives me hope, and helps me get up in the morning to keep trying to see them through to adulthood.

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