My Big Win
At times I think I'm the worst mother in the world. Then something like this happens.
I have four sons. Each one so special and each with their own challenges.
One son in particular has always been quite difficult to parent. He's been shaking my world for years. His challenges have made me question myself and my parenting more than any of my other children’s issues.
But I've never given up. Over the years we've worked relentlessly with professionals to try and help this son learn how to handle his emotions in a healthy way, and to help us as parents learn how to interact with him in a healthy way when he is out of control.
More recently, we've been working specifically to rebuild the relationship of trust which years of conflict has severely damaged.
This process is not easy, we see improvements only very slowly. And the wins are very few and far between.
But today, I was walking with this son alone to the store.
"Mom," he said quietly and seriously. "Yes?" I responded. We stopped walking and looked at each other.
"Why did you have to tell on the class bully to his mother that he was making fun of kids and beating them up at school?"
This son always gets angry when I get involved with school issues so I walked on eggshells when working to protect him. But recently this bully went over the line and I had to speak up, throwing caution to the wind, knowing my son would probably be upset.
"I didn't tell his mother anything directly," I answered a bit hesitantly. "I talked to the teacher and the principle and the guidance counselor. I had to. Why did you think I said something to his mother?" I asked.
"Well, he pushed me and told me he hates you because he got in trouble because you told his mother he's doing bad things at school." He looked at me with a softness in his eyes I have rarely seen in him.
"I'm so sorry he did that," I said. "I've been working extra hard lately to try and get this bullying to stop. I'm so sorry that he pushed you because of it. I will talk to the principle about it, if that’s ok?"
"No, you don’t need to talk to her about it. It's ok," he said confidently. "I understand why he hates you. It makes sense. You are a mom who makes sure we tell you what's going on. And you make sure to do stuff to try and not let your kids get hurt. It makes sense why he hates you. I won’t let him bother me about it again."
He stopped there and I was a bit stunned. In the past, had a friend told him they hated a family member or bullied him because of one, he would have completely exploded and would have fully blamed me for any embarrassment suffered.
I wasn’t sure which direction this was going, so I asked, "Is that ok with you, that I try to make sure you guys are safe and I tell the teachers and principal when something bad happens?"
His response came quickly.
"Yep. I'm glad I have a mom who really cares about me." And then he looked up at me and nuzzled his head against my arm for a few seconds before he pulled away and we began walking again.
Because of my challenges dealing with this son's difficulties, at times I think I'm the worst mother in the world. And now, he just told me that he is glad I am his mother because he knows I care about him.
My jaw was hanging on the floor. Tears welled up in my eyes as our conversation turned to what we would be buying at the store. I squeezed his shoulder gently as my heart swelled to unimaginable proportions.
“I love you so much,” I whispered.
I looked straight ahead with tears blurring my vision and my son at my side. I felt gratitude, pride and a sense of accomplishment.
I just had a really big win.