He’s Not The Only One Conflicted About Growing Up

23 Nov

A few weeks ago was Halloween. In the morning, Ben received a text from his friend inviting him to come over after their half day at school to create a Haunted House for the kids who would be trick or treating there. He was excited to go and I thought it would be great to have my afternoon completely free. So, after school, he and a couple of other friends walked home and got busy on their project.

At noon the first call came in – could I please bring over his morph suit (the costume of choice for adolescent boys this year) and would I mind if he stayed a few hours since they had so much work to do. (My good mom-friend was supervising the kids at her house and had already ordered pizza). I was a little put out by Ben’s request because I was involved in some (probably insignificant) project, but I told him sure – I’d be there shortly. I defrosted some cookies I had in the freezer to add to their pizza lunch and was happy I would get to see my kid and what the boys were creating.

On my way out the door, the phone rang. Ben again…..could I also bring him his shoes with the green laces (why are all of their laces neon?) and some ski tights to wear under the morph suit.


I drove all the way there (actually, it’s less than a mile away), beginning to feel a little annoyed about doing this. One of the boys (not Ben) met me at the door, took the stuff (politely thanked me for the cookies) and sent me on my way. Guess I wouldn’t be seeing the Haunted House or my son, after all.

Slightly irritated, I went home and resumed work on my project (now that I think about it, there probably wasn’t ever a project – more than likely, I was playing Solitaire or on Facebook). An hour later, the phone rang. Ben again….thanks for the cookies, everyone loved them and would I mind picking up our cousin who lives down our street and bring him over, as well? Oh and if it wasn’t a problem, they were all planning on staying through dinner and into the night to run the Haunted House and help give out candy.

It hit me right then that part of my irritation stemmed from the fact that I felt rejected by my son and didn’t know what to do with it. Yet, like some little puppet, I drove down the street, collected my little cousin and deposited him with the boys.

I had a little talk with myself on the way home (through my tears, I’m afraid) and here’s what I came up with:  Gary and I have tried to instill a level of confidence and security in Ben that would take him to this day (not an easy feat for my kid or most kids) – walking to a friends, spending the entire day away from home, feeling comfortable with another family, eating whatever they were serving and being a part of something fun (in this case a Haunted House) that would help him feel accomplished, independent and, well, kind of grown-up. Isn’t that what we all want for our kids?

Well, we do…but we also want them to need and miss us and depend on us, don’t we? Whew! Turns out we are going through the same kinds of emotions and growth as our adolescent children.

As I was letting myself feel the full impact of my son finding his independence, the phone rang again. Ben again – followed by our friends whose house at which the boys were spending the day…could Gary and I come over for dinner and spend the evening with them while the kids operate their Haunted House? We jumped at the chance to watch the kids in action – and spend a great night with the other parents who were also watching their 12 year olds create something great, have a ton of fun together and even check in with us every so often (and not just for more pizza!!).

A silver lining in the cloud of autonomy.

One Response to “He’s Not The Only One Conflicted About Growing Up”

  1. Barb McLaughlin November 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    Nice. It takes a village to raise a parent.

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