Being a parent is a struggle some days. Gone are the days of wiping bottoms, grizzly teething babes, sleepless nights, dragging a stroller around and/or a little one attached to my hip 24/7. All 3 of ours are at that lovely age where they still think Mum and Dad are the bees knees, second only to a favourite teacher or two.
Master 10 is getting more grown up by the day and though those pre-teen years are looming I’m not nostalgic and wanting to cling to my “little” boy like I am with the younger two. I have always struggled with Master 10, even as a cheeky 2-year-old he was fighting me constantly. I could never just relax with him, they weren’t “stages” it was just who he was. I still remember the morning I awoke to a knock on the back door and discovered a complete stranger holding my 2-year-old son. He had escaped out the back door, climbed the back fence and wandered into a complete strangers house to watch telly with their son. To make matters even worse he had tipped a box of cat biscuits and 2kg’s of flour on the floor in front of the back door. I felt like a special kind of mother that morning.
I love this kid dearly and he has some brilliant qualities. He’s very responsible and will help out with anything I ask around the house. He shares my passion for cooking and has so much pent-up ambition for such a youngster. He struggles academically but works so much harder than I ever did at school. He welcomes new kids eagerly, genuinely wanting them to feel comfortable playing with everyone in a group. He’s struggled with being bullied over the years and finds it very difficult to make friends but never gives up.
The struggles with Master 10 come down to him being just a little too much like both of us. He’s head strong, he’s independent, he’s rebellious, he’s prone to mood swings and feelings of hopelessness. He sees injustice in everything, he butts heads with everyone eventually, he’s always searching for where he can fit in, he’s never satisfied.
I understand how he feels completely. After all would his Dad and I be where we are today if we didn’t always feel even a little that way?
My hubby left home at 15 because he struggled to live under someone else’s authority. I couldn’t hack a heavily christian education and rebelled quietly at first until that final out burst of defiance when I cut off my nose to spite my face and left all together. We decided to have children when the world said it was a bit of a crap idea. We got married young despite everyone thinking it was a terrible idea. We got the worst compatibility scores possible (0% on almost every category) when we filled out our pre-marriage questionnaire’s and screw it we got married anyway and have stuck it out for over 8 years. We were told we would never amount to anything, our marriage would fail.
The condescending tones we received when we said we wanted to move to London and start a new life were coming from all directions, but we did it any way. We live an unconventional life and still I feel like I don’t fit in with the people we meet day-to-day. I still struggle with even a whiff of authority, I still feel that rebellious twinge on a regular basis.
So how then can I look at my eldest son experiencing those same emotions and not feel torn. By all counts I think we’ve been lucky. Lucky it all turned out in the end, so many others have taken similar path’s to us and ended up in dead-end jobs and life styles they can’t crawl out of. Can we guide him without trying to squash him so he too can make the right decisions? Would we be where we are today if we hadn’t fought. It didn’t crush us or destroy us, what if our son’s not so lucky?
I hear the grumbles, the dissatisfaction, the longing for more freedom and I can relate.
I don’t think youth has served this little man well. He has yearned for more freedom and responsibility for so many years never able to just relax and let the grown up’s handle it. I think my darling boy will only truly be fulfilled when he’s old enough to leave and be his own man.
The question is, can we hack it? Can we be the parents he needs us to be throughout his teenage years and into adult hood?