The boy and I have not been getting along lately. I call him on his bullshit and he does not appreciate this. At dinner he decided to tell me that what I had made wasn’t up to his par of excellence (hotdogs, pb&j sandwiches and pizza) and decided to let me know exactly what he thought of our pork chop and zuchetti dinner. “It tastes like a brick. This pork is tasteless and has the texture of a brick”. “Considering the rest of us had no issue eating the said brick, you shouldn’t either” I retorted. “And this….green spaghetti has no flavor either, it’s just there”. “Try salt and pepper then…” I tried–while trying not to get upset with his insults. Holding up a piece of pork at the end of his fork he said, “If you notice I AM eating this brick of pork with no flavor”. “Bay, shut your mouth, chew the food and swallow. I don’t need to hear your whacked out ideas on the food. Now finish your dinner!” I said exiting the room.
Later I walked into his room and said, “How about you and I take a cooking course together? That way you can learn to make dinner and I can learn to make food you like. What do you say?” Looking up from the device he gave me a dirty look. I wasn’t sure if it was because I interrupted his video or because he’s 16 and I’m his mom–probably a bit of both. Regardless, he said, “I already have too much on my plate”. “Like what?” I asked. “Stuff…” he said narrowing his eyes at me “Like…?” I asked already knowing the answer. That’s when he let me have it…and I gave it back to him.
“You’ve been riding me hard all summer?” He said pointedly. “Yes, I’ve been riding you to do your chores. We made a deal at the start of summer that your job would be to cut the grass, front and back. You alone. However, 90% of the time your father has done half the work, after working all day at his real job. When did you ever take the initiative to mow the lawn on your own? In fact, it needs to me mowed right now, yet where are you? Sitting on the bed watching something on that device”. I replied and then added,”When I come home from work tomorrow will I find that you have cut it or will you be right here, ignoring it again?”
“It never occurs to me that it needs to be done”. He replied matter of factly. “No of course not, because mowing the grass–doing your chore to help pay your school tuition isn’t as important as sitting on your ass, watching garbage on the internet”. I followed. As you might imagine he didn’t appreciate that comment too well and hit me with a string of offensive obscenities. His father came in to “break up” the disagreement and I exited the room, knowing nothing was solved, only more discord between the two of us.
Last night when I arrived home from “meet the teachers” night at his high school, I was exhausted. A long day, followed by the need to do laundry, or face today without any clean clothes to wear. As I worked up the strength to descend the basement stairs, the boy walked out and said, “Hey Mom, who loves you?” “I don’t know bay…” I said too tired to argue with him. “Well, that would be me…” He replied. “Really? Because the way you’ve been treating me lately makes me not believe you”. I said as I walked into the kitchen. Following me he said, “Yeah, I’m sorry about that. I think this new school year has overwhelmed me some…” “Okay, fine. But I have feelings too. Being your verbal punching bag isn’t much fun. I only want what’s best for you…and following through on jobs teaches responsibility. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got laundry to change before bed.” I said but before I made it to the stairs, he came up behind me and said, “And I’m going to help you…”
Together we changed loads and then he carried up the dry clothes. “Mom, sweet dreams, ” he said enveloping me in a hug. “You too bay…” I said, then went up to bed.
I know this rocky road between us isn’t over, not by a long shot, but last night was a nice reprieve.