As I was writing a short bio for a post I was submitting where I had to ‘name three things you like to do’, my son walked into the kitchen on his eternal quest for a snack. Watching him rummage through the refrigerator, I wondered about his teenaged view of his middle-aged mom. Seen through his lens am I just some one-dimensional obliging automaton, existing to simply fulfill his needs for food/clothes/money/a ride/just about anything? Or does he see me as living, breathing, flesh and blood human being with my own needs, dreams, personality and life to lead? Does he even notice what type of music I like to listen to, what my interests are, how I take my coffee? Curious, eager, and maybe a little scared to find out, I asked him:
“What are 3 things you think I like to do?”
Pensively swirling his spoon in his yogurt, he seemed caught off guard by such a question – is she serious?/is this is a trick question?/am I gonna get in trouble?/what time of the month is it? were all easily read on his face as he sized up the situation. What does mom like to do? Is that such a novel concept?
“Welllll, you like to be happy.” Awww, that’s sweet and besides, the alternative sucks. Yes, it’s all fun and games until your happy hormones start drying up – it’s good to know that he doesn’t think I’m some miserable troll as I roller coaster my way through this perimenopausal minefield.
“You like to buy stuff at Sephora.” Okay, that’s true and at least he’s observant about it – Mother’s Day is coming up so that should make gift-buying a no-brainer.
“And. . . you like asserting your control over others.” Say what now? By ‘others’, I’m assuming he means him. Still, the comment sounds a little Fifty Shades of Grey – I’m going to have to check that kid’s Kindle. Liking to exert control over all things aside, isn’t part of the parent/teen dynamic a test of wills, a battle over control? If telling him that:
No, 30 degrees is not shorts weather even if the calendar says it’s spring; and
Yes, you have to put your name on your homework every single time because you are not so ‘swaggy’ that your teachers will just recognize your handwriting; and
No, having the closed-captioning on while watching ‘Let’s Be Cops‘ does not count as independent reading; and
Yes, proper aim and flushing is always required bathroom etiquette all fall under the auspices of being controlling, then I’m guilty. Call it control, rules, boundaries, discipline, whatever – at 14, he doesn’t realize or appreciate the chaos his life would be without it. While being deemed a cheerful, cosmetic hoarding control freak is no Hallmark card, I embrace it – it’s a small price to pay for turning out a responsible, productive human being.
My heightened snarky senses can already feel the ‘Jeez mom – if you don’t want to know the answer then don’t ask the question’ forming in his smart-alecky little mind, just waiting to jump onto his tongue and spring forth from his lips. I can’t argue with his assessment so I’m going to let this one go. Better I should just let him finish his yogurt – he’s probably delusional from adolescent hunger. I make a mental note to get more probiotics into his diet.
“Um, can I go now?” he questions, trying to slowly edge his way out of the kitchen to safety.
“Yeah. Go. Now.” I say in my most non-controlling, happy tone of voice as I continue typing and notice that my nail polish is chipping, which reminds me that I’m almost out of my favorite shade and a trip to Sephora is in the near future. . .