The Crazy Suburban Mom: Necessary Edges

Monday, June 21, 2010

Necessary Edges

Last Saturday me and my kid were potatoing on the couch, chatting about the year since his high school graduation, grooving on Sponge Bob and out of nowhere he said, "Thanks for making me stay at Guitar Repair school."


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It shook me.  In one moment I saw a million rewinds of all the things I'd done wrong and it felt like a chop to the throat.

My son went to a Luthier Apprenticeship last September and since it's not a traditional school  there was no dorm, no meal plan; no nothing.   He moved into a small room at a stranger's house with no television or internet.  Those first few days were torture and we tripled our cell phone minutes.

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He hated where he was living and once he started school and found himself face to face with power tools, hated that. There wasn't a wood shop in high school but really, if he had wanted to use a band saw I'm sure I would have said,GET AWAY FROM THAT IT'S DANGEROUS ARE YOU CRAZY YOU'LL PUT AN EYE OUT!

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His life had been all about people watching out for him; making life, if not easy, at least less hard and now he was going to a working shop five days a week as the youngest, least experienced kid (which is what they called him - The Kid ) where he was expected to, for lack of a better way to put it - Man up.  About two or three weeks in his Grandfather called me in a panic, "I think he's going to bail!"

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During most of those first painful days away I thought he was going to bail, too. In fact, I was going to help him after deciding, in a fleeting rational moment... moving in with him was a bad idea.   Plan B was to go get him like some sort of Maternal Special Forces Commando.

It was all just too much; his pain of living alone.  His pain of feeling like a failure.  I just wanted to make it all better.

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Looking back, I was so focused on his pain I failed to see it was really my pain I couldn't stand. The pain of watching him hurt was excruciating and that's really what I wanted to end.  Had I pulled him out, saved him - It would have been for me.

I don't know where the strength came from but one afternoon I took a deep breath and told him, "You have to stay and finish." I told him I didn't care if he was last in the class and he didn't have to be a Luthier. If he couldn't tell a guitar from a can of tuna when it was over that was fine, but he still had to finish.

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And really, that moment was the turning point for both of us.  Once I moved my big feet out of his way, he was able to avoid standing on them - And planted himself squarely on his own two.  The next few months weren't without blips and it's not that I don't help him, but I help him with things like laundry, and let him handle his life.

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If he needs me I'm there but I know I made a mistake trying to take the bumpy edges and pain out of life because that is just silly. And crippling.

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In the last few months he's seemed so much more grown up but I couldn't pinpoint exactly what it was until last Saturday. The mature thing, the grown up part comes from knowing he can handle whatever life throws at him because being able to handle your own life is a greater comfort than having someone make it all better for you. It's knowing not all teachers are fair and not all people are nice. That there's no trophy at the end of races you haven't won and not all things you want are within your immediate reach and  sometimes pet guinea pigs die. It's his knowing that despite all those painful things, he will be fine.

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And I was wrong about him; so wrong.  He's always been able to handle the painful bumps and hard edges of his own life.

It was me that couldn't handle them.


*My kid, my kid with his friends, and girlfriend, cousins and his guitars...

7 Comments:

Vonlipi 6/21/10, 9:42 AM  

Seems your kid is not the only one who grew up....

Handling things in our life is a big deal and so is knowing all things pass, the good, the bad and the fat...

Not taking crap from anybody is also very important.

Basicaly knowing our own worth!

VABookworm87 6/21/10, 10:50 AM  

I wish my mom would realize what you have... she coddles my younger brother, who is 21 but still acts like a 16 year old because he's never had to grow up. She isn't even making him stick with school... he just sleeps, eats, and parties. Here's hoping it eventually dawns on her as well!

Kudos to you though :o) You'll both be the better for it, I promise!

Anonymous,  6/21/10, 2:02 PM  

Send some of that mom strength my way. What a good encouragement for me.

The Crazy Suburban Mom 6/21/10, 2:37 PM  

Vonlipi, So hard. So so hard. I think maybe harder for me.

VaBookworm - It's so hard. I don't even know where I pulled it from... I'm glad I did but I don't know where it came from!

Anon, I'm not sure I have any spare! LOL - It's tough to pull out even once.

Lin 6/21/10, 10:07 PM  

Wow. You are one strong and wise lady. He just seems so.... young to be standing on his own like that--but when is the right time? When do you bail them out and when do you let them fail? Ugh. It's tough stuff being a mom, isn't it? And I thought being a kid was bad!

ceemee 6/22/10, 1:36 AM  

Aww... what a heart-warming post! I hope I have your strength when the time comes for me. Your kid is absolutely loving you for it!

*A.J* 6/22/10, 8:17 AM  

man! you r one awsum mom!! i hope my mum realises that too!! most of all explains that to dad!! they never get me!! :| anyway...follow me up on my blog on http://lntstory.blogspot.com/

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