Sunday, July 1, 2012

That Boy Needs Some Shoes

When my son was born, so many people came up to tell me how I should raise him.  I hated those people.

"That boy needs some shoes.  He's going to freeze to death," from a total stranger in the grocery store who looked like she was about to call social services if she could just find out my name.  The boy she was referring to wasn't yet walking, had a tendency to sweat profusely when I dressed him similar to the way I was dressed, weatherwise, and never kept shoes or socks on his feet for more than ten minutes.  I was tired of having only one of any pair of shoes or socks, so I just left them off.  We were both happier that way.

Back then, the minister at my church kept at me, saying that I should bring my boy to church so he could scream his head off for an hour in the nursery even though my husband preferred to stay at home with him while I sang in the choir.  She nagged me weekly.  I was happy when she left the congregation.  You're not supposed to say that about a minister, but it was true.

When my son got a little older, there was a lull in people trying to force their opinions on me, but now the parenting police are back.  I shouldn't go to fifth-grade camp with my son, this from the staff who were unwilling to make the ten-minute phone call to the cook staff regarding a serious allergy.  Well, crap, I didn't particularly want to go to that camp either.  Who actually wants to spend a week herding 100 kids twenty-four hours a day?  Sleeping in a cabin with nine whiny, catty girls?  No thanks.  I just didn't want my son to stop breathing because some flunky teacher couldn't be bothered to find out about the menu.  Breathing is on that list of essentials I didn't want my son to be without, even at camp. 

Now it's this woman who says that I can't go to Scout camp next week.  Why the hell does she get to decide?  It's not like I was going to chase my son around holding up a pair of underwear to get him to change clothes.  I know he's not going to change clothes all week.  I doubt he'll brush his teeth.  But he was still okay with me going.  I wanted to go, knowing that I'd have the whole week to float around camp doing my own thing.  I loved that time.  He actually liked me when we went to camp because I wasn't in his face about anything.  It was somebody else's job to tell him what to do.

Another person, a friend actually, told me that I can't allow him to tell me he hates me.  What am I supposed to do, duct tape the pie hole shut?  He's making his own decisions here.  He lives with the results.  She wasn't there when it happened.  She didn't see what came next and it wasn't any of her business what he said to me and how I responded. 

I see my son changing.  I see the way he wants me with him, but chaffes at my nearness.  I feel my own response to him, the 'well you do it yourself then' when he won't let me help him or be courteous to me when he asks for help.  I hear myself telling him it's his life and I can't live it for him.  Well, what I actually said was, "If you want to sit there on your butt for the rest of your life, eating, watching television, and playing video games, be my guest, but you should know you won't get anyone to pay you to sit in front of a television."  I see all of this independence happening naturally and in its own time.  I don't need outsiders controlling it for me.  Why can't they just leave me the hell alone?  Mind their own business?  As if it's going to be perfect if I do it their way anyway, huh?

Okay, I'm going to be brave.  Here it is after sitting in a dead-letter bin for a few days.  Here's my real opinion, my own crabby self, shining through.

Thank you for listening, jules

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