I remember a time when I was cool. At least, my son thought so. He liked going to the store with me. He thought I was funny. Being cool to my son was a nice balance to the struggles.
Yesterday was hard. Very hard. Daniel was furious with me. Eventually, the evening melted into tears on Daniel’s part and frustration on mine. After we had all calmed down, I suggested that Daniel head to the grocery store with me to pick up some ice cream for everyone. This would give me a chance to bond with him and just spend some time enjoying each other.
As we drove, he talked about his day. He told me a funny story about a kid at school. I in turn told him a funny story I had read. By the time the story was ending, we were standing in line at the grocery store.
Daniel simply smiled at the final punch line. This was not the reaction I expected. Usually, he laughs and launches into his own story or observations about my story. Instead, he looked a little uncomfortable.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, “do you get it?”
“Yes,” he said hesitantly and paused.
“But,” I prompted him.
“I am just embarrassed for you. I think all these people must be looking at you and thinking, ‘Man! She must not have any friends. She is hanging out with her son!'” Daniel explained.
I was so stunned, I nearly laughed out loud. I studied his face. He was serious.
I guess I am no longer a cool mom but rather a person to be pitied. This is bittersweet. It means he is pulling away from the family right on schedule as he develops his own identity. He is also making friends at school – another good sign. However, as his mom this stage is bound to be hard. As intense as raising him has been, I can only imagine that the emotions of this stage may be a little more intense too.