Friday, March 11, 2011

Not seeing the boy

He walks through the door, dropping his jacket and backpack in a large heap behind him. I trip over his shoes as I bend down to grab the wrapper from his after-school snack off the floor.

"Do you have any homework?" I ask, wearily.

He launches into a tirade of all the projects he is working on. I groan, knowing just how much time all those things will take.

Grabbing a paper towel, I wipe up the milk he has just spilled. I snap at him for his carelessness. Reaching for another towel, I stumble over his trumpet case.

In an instant, all the petty annoyance bubbles up and spills over. I chew him out for not practicing often enough, making threats about canceling his trumpet lessons. I move to the projects he has coming up, and remind him angrily that he better get them done before scouts. I grit my teeth and spew venom about the mess he has made on the counter.

I turn around to continue my rant, and notice his blue eyes fill with tears. He hangs his head and apologizes softly. He promises he will practice more. He reaches for his backpack to start on homework, as the tears spill over his lightly freckled cheeks.

Guilt and regret instantly turn my irrational rage into compassion.

I move across the room and take him into my arms. I apologize for snapping at him, and tell him that I love him. He sobs quietly, as he tells me how overwhelmed he is feeling today. How the projects at school seem insurmountable, and he doesn't know if he'll be able to find the time to get it all done.

I wonder then how I didn't notice the sagging shoulders and somber expression when he walked in the door.

How could I only see the mess and the shoes, and miss the boy completely?

I curse myself, wishing I could take it all back and start again. Today was a total mom fail. Doesn't matter that I am right. He does need to practice more. Those projects have to get done before he runs off to play. He should have been more careful with the milk.

But he's only a kid.

And he's my kid.

And today, instead of noticing that he needed to be picked up, I knocked him down. Instead of being that safe, warm place to come home to, I hit him with anger and annoyance the minute he walked through the door.

I need to remember when I'm tired and cranky, that I have no right to take it out on him. I need to look first, and yell later (or not at all). I need to be grateful that I have such a good kid. A kid who gets straight A's, is friends with everyone, and always tries to help those around him. I need to tell him how much I love him, and how proud I am of who he is.

Because at the end of the day, the trumpet, the milk, and the homework do not matter one bit. What matters is that he knows just how much his mama loves him.

31 comments:

utmomof 5 said...

Thanks for posting this, makes me feel a little better that I am not the only mom who makes this mistake :) I am quite sure your boy knows his mama loves him!!

Dalene said...

Once again, you made me cry. Thank you for the very, very important reminder.

Thelma said...

This is me.

This is my son.

I'm glad I'm not alone. We'll keep trying right?

jessica said...

oh you are not alone sister! thanks for the reminder.

Tristan said...

I have been there. You are not a bad Mom. In fact you are a fantastic Mom and your son knows that :)

Jessica said...

It's kind of nice to hear you (and all above commenters) do this too.

I'm just working on doing it less

Beautifully written.

Jessica at Kids Napping? I'm Scrapping! said...

I'm guilty of this, too... *sigh*
How many moms don't apologize? You are one of the good ones.

jen@odbt said...

Oh my gosh...this is me and my son. All this week and it seems like all the time. I apologized but it doesn't feel like enough. Thanks for the reminder to look first and not miss the boy.

Heidiram said...

Wow. This is a typical daily scenario between my oldest son and I. I am really trying to work on my relationship with him. I did return the barritone and cancel lessons . . . so that's one less thing I have to complain about.

Lala said...

totally crying... I hate days like that. Being a mom isn't easy. Just remember, you didn't pack-up and move to Japan - leaving him behind.

Oh - and when I've been a horrible mother I try to remember the mom in "Glass Castles" - & that I'm not that bad!

brooke said...

This hit way too close to home.

Travelin'Oma said...

Every mother will identify with this post. It's so hard to be a mother. And it's so hard to be a kid. Luckily every day is a fresh start.

Molly said...

This was beautifully and honestly written.
Although I am not a mother, I am a small group leader at my church. At times I beat myself up when I am not the 'perfect' leader because it seems that all of the other leaders, most are parents, are perfect.
This post reminded me that we all are simply human and therefore imperfect. However in the midst of our imperfections we are able to express compassion and that is beautiful.

Karey said...

Beautiful post. I need to remember to see my kids, too.

You made me cry and it's bedtime. Now I'll be all stuffed up.

Liz said...

I'm sending lots of love your way. Your kids know they are loved, you are such a great mom! Our families are totally twins separated at birth.

Emily said...

Oh, thanks Stie. Very timely for me. I've got a great boy, a perfect boy, but have found myself lately focusing on the easily avoided carelessness instead of the heart big enough to match his bottomless brown eyes.

Cindy said...

I think a funny joke would have been to take the trumpet out of the case and stomp on it violently, and then tell him that you were just joking about the trumpet lessons.

Cindy said...

Oops, it looks like cindy is logged into the computer...

Mel said...

I can totally relate!! Thanks for the reminder that I need to see my boy {and girl too}.

Christy said...

What a beautiful (and honest) post. Thank you for the reminder, for I have been there many, many times. I think I need to read this daily.

house of 7 said...

tears are streaming down my face. i don't really know what to write, other than thank you. i can so completely relate. (and this is why i love your blog soo sooooo much.)

have a wonderful weekend!

Kelly said...

Very moving. I say you get a do over. Next time this happens (hopefully it won't but...) put his coat back on, load him back up with all his stuff, send him back outside and let him come in all over again. This time hug and love on him. This will erase the previous episode...hopefully. (I've never been married and never been a mom, but who says you can't have a do over?) You are an amazing woman, mom, and blogger. Your honesty is touching. Blessings

Amy at Ameroonie Designs said...

Thank you! You have a wonderful way with words- heartfelt and real. You have cut to the core of the challenge all of us as people face- so try ever so much harder to see the people who surround us, and not just the things they do or don't do.
Thanks again!
xoxo,
Amy

Kimberly said...

This was my week. Thanks for the sweet reminder.

Ben and Rainee In Alaska said...

Isaac was sitting on my lap (after climbing out of bed to complain of a sore throat) while we read this together out loud. He got a guilty look on his face while reading about the jacket and backpack, the homework, etc. (although he said he didn't spill his milk(: Then during the part about you getting mad, we talked about how with all the little smunchkins in our home, sometimes mommy gets more upset then I need to sometimes. As we read on, he asked, "mommy, are you crying? Your eyes are black" (darned non waterproof eye makeup!) It was a nice moment to snuggle him and tell him every reason he is important and every reason why I love him and how amazing of a kid he is and how I am so thankful that I get to be his mom. It is a memory I will always treasure, thank you for this wonderful post! Miss ya!

Julianna said...

I think... that we are all too hard on our oldest.

I do it all the time...

...and then I have to remember that his "oldness" is only TEN.

TEN.

And in a few short years, I will welcome when he comes home to visit his Mama, tracking dirt through the house because he forgot to take off his shoes, and raiding the fridge before dinner.

Someday, I will blink and he'll be an adult...

Becky said...

oooh, yeah,..darn it, I hate that. But, he's so lucky that you noticed and corrected. Doesn't matter that we mess up, it just matters that we apologize and try harder. He is so lucky to be your boy.

crystal said...

Oh, I do this ALL too often. And then I am ashamed of myself and remind myself that they'll be gone before I know it and I'll have a billion regrets.

I like what Becky said & Oma; my mom tells me those two things all the time. I cling to those truths.

Cling!

love you; you're one of the best moms around.

Lauren in GA said...

I'ts almost as if you have access to a hidden camera in my house. Right down to the trumpet, even...the snack wrapper in the floor...the spilled beverage (usually water...he doesn't drink milk a lot)...all of it.

Thank you for this. It was beautifully written. I needed the reminder.

Pajama Mama said...

I balled like a baby when I first read this post on Saturday and now I am balling again this morning, as read all of the wonderful comments here. I was so moved by the touchin genuiness of your story that I had my husband read it, as well. I'll be darned if he didn't go getting all misty-eyed, too! Thanks for making me grab my 9 year old, squeeze him with all my might and tell him how much I love him and, no matter what, how very, very proud of him I am!!!!!

♥Maren said...

I cannot stand those days. I am so sorry.