You are soundly sleeping. I am in the room below your’s, loudly clicking keys on an already outdated keyboard, while outside the dog barks. Otherwise, it is quiet.
I am thinking about last night. It was fun going to visit Grammie and Grampie and taking them down supper. Grampie looks better after his surgery, and Grammie’s cones of icecream are the best. Isn’t that the truth! It was great listening to you talk to them about things as well. I watched your face when you didn’t notice me looking, and I could see sincerity and interest. I love that about you.
Afterwards, when we went to get treats at the store, I loved taking you all in to choose what you each liked best. You are all such different little people from each other, your sisters and you. Your treat was a 1L Pepsi and an Oh Henry bar. I loved how the lady behind us in the check-out said my children all look like me. I am proud of my three beautiful girls and my strong, handsome boy.
Is it embarrassing being told you look like your mother?
On the way into the store, you told me so enthusiastically how I was the greatest mom, and Daddy and I were the best parents ever. Lots of love for the kindness we showed. You gave me a big hug.
And yet. Some things are so easily forgotten.
Why is it we think our parents are the greatest when they do something we like, but the minute they are not serving our interests in exactly the way we like, our parents are suddenly the meanest parents ever and totally unfair? As often as I have heard the words, “You’re the greatest, Mom,” I’ve also heard the words, “You’re the worst.”
Son, I want you to know I love you. My love will not change for you. Whether I make the decisions you like and whether I please you or not, my love remains. Know this: sometimes love is tough. It isn’t always sweet and light. Tough love means this: we make hard decisions that have the greatest benefits for the longest term. It’s not fun hearing the word “no” now, but it may pave the way for responsibility and trust and a “yes” later.
I know it is hard to make promises, but will you do this for me? Next time I do something that pleases you, don’t make a big deal of it. Tuck that little “thank-you” moment away for later. When the time comes that you are annoyed by a decision I’ve made in your best interest, bring that little bit of gratitude out of your back pocket, the one you saved for just a time as this, and remember, sometimes I do give you exactly what you’ve asked for. And while you may not be getting that this time, it will work out again that your Mama says “yes”.
I know you can’t understand every reason for every decision your Daddy and I make about your life, but the time will come very soon when we will let go, and you will be making decisions, hard decision, about your life and how it unfolds. I hope the decisions we make at this time in your life, will give you all the tools you need in the not-so-distant future to say “yes” and “no.” And to do so at the right times and for the right reasons.
We are your parents, for better and for worse: we have four children, and we have counted you as one of those blessings. What other parents do and the decisions they make is not my concern. I am not always going to say the same “yes” as another friend’s Mom says. Neither will I say the same “no”. Don’t compare me to your friend’s parents unless you are willing to take those parents for everything they are and everything they say. I cannot be someone else, and neither can you. I am who I am, and you are you, too. We are stuck with each other, and it can be as good as we make it. In fact, it can be better. It can be the very best.
I love you, Son. And yes, I always will. I’ll love you forever, and you know I’ll like you for always. I promise.
But, no, you cannot use Facebook until you are 13. End of story, that’s all she wrote. And that’s my final word about that.