Ever since I can remember, I’ve pushed my son.
When he was small, these pushes manifested as gentle loving nudges, inviting him to take his first steps. Or as a push on a swing to elicit screams of laughter and joy. Then there were the pushes that hovered between delight and fear, say as the first time he rode his bike without training wheels. With each push I gave to him, my hope was to help him achieve a goal and reach greater heights than first imagined. Giving my son a push back then was easy and nurturing for both of us.
Giving him pushes now…. well, not so much.
“I love you so much, but you drive me absolutely nuts!” The boy said to me as we hugged goodbye in his dorm room. “I know bay, I just want you to succeed,” I replied with my hug. “I know…but your tactics leave much to be desired…” He replied and I knew he was right. The time had now arrived for me to back away and allow him to push himself toward success.
But knowing so and doing are two completely different animals.
You see, the night before he returned to school, I let into him for his slow approach to finishing some school work, “You’re aiming for this to be one (year) and done for this school if you don’t get your head on straight!” I yelled. Instead of replying, he only looked back at me as if I was a crazy person–which didn’t sit well with me. “Why are you wasting time sitting on your ass? You should be writing your professor about the paper and….” I continued to badger him.
Of course, I had good reason to be concerned…when he put all sorts of worry into our heads at the end of his first semester of school…
“Mom, I’ve decided to turn in my report unfinished…” He texted me the night before the report was due. “What?” I replied. “I’ve been wracking my brain trying to finish this report and I’m one article down. But I’ve decided to let that one article go because otherwise, I’ll be up all night and unprepared for my other exam tomorrow.” “Bay, how much time were you given to complete this assignment?” I replied. “That doesn’t matter. What matters now is having peace of mind to study for that other class. Mom, I’m not happy with these turn of events, because I like going to school here and I want to stay here. I promise next semester, I’ll work harder on staying focused on deadlines…”
He also arrived home hoping to finish up his class observations at two area schools (he failed to complete at school), only to be thwarted by winter weather, resulting in an Incomplete grade for the class. So you see, the mom in me kicked into overdrive and began to push the immovable object that is him and together we were disappointed in one another’s traction.
Last week I sent him a text asking if he’d finally received his grades for the first semester. His father and I were beginning to wonder if they were really bad considering his standard reply was always, “They haven’t posted”, whenever we asked before. But this time he sent me an email; a copy of his official report card for his first semester of college…. Two A’s Three B’s and the Incomplete which he’s currently working to finish.
I guess my role as the pusher has finally come to an end… and I couldn’t be more happy or proud.