Saturday, April 02, 2011

Learning to be the mother of young men

After a year in his own apartment, my oldest son moved back in about a month ago. It has been as much of an adjustment to have him back as it was to have him leave!

Last Saturday night, he came home late with a bag of food, happily eating a sandwich and fries in front of the t.v. That is how I saw him just before I went to bed. On Sunday morning he was gone, apparently not even having spent the night. I called him Sunday afternoon to ask if he was coming for Sunday dinner but got no answer. I tried a few more times in the afternoon until finally late Sunday night when I was finally able to get a message to him through his girlfriend's family. Relieved that they had at least seen him that day, I was content to go to bed and fall asleep.

It occurs to me that if this had happened when he was in his own place, I wouldn't even know about it and I would be content to think he was just off on his own living his life. But now I feel rather like a glorified storage unit/landlady/laundry mat - with all of his stuff and responsibility for his mail without the courtesy of a phone call or check in. I don't like it, but not sure that there is anything I can really do about it.

At least he is holding down his EMT job responsibly and I am happy that he is a good employee.

Mr. Pete says that I shouldn't complain or express my dissatisfaction about other things in his life because it would drive him away. I wonder how I would know the difference?

But I have let my other children know that I think when you live in a family it is wise and even prudent to let people know where you are and what you are doing. (And after watching the movie 127 Hours they all agreed that was a good idea!)

Recently Sam has been driving for his new job and also going out socially. He is very good about calling me when he gets to his destination, calling me when he is going to be late, and calling when there is a change of plans. He's even better at it than Mr. Pete! So I'm very grateful that Sam does me that courtesy. I am trying to help Sam navigate the territory between balancing work and study and a social life. This is all new for Sam and I'm trying to help him through it and at the same time let him take responsibility for his work/study life. Sometimes he has asked me to help him figure it out. Other times he has taken on more responsibility for those decisions, which I am happy to let him take on as long as he gets his school work done and study time in.

And then there is Gabe... only 15, but as big as a man, who still needs a lot of coaxing, threatening, bribing and begging to get him to do his regular school work. Gabe is sweet and kind, but not inclined to do much besides practice his drums (although he has lately become very interested in American Literature and poetry in the form of lyrics -so I guess some motherly nudges have paid off!)At least since he is still a minor I can exercise a bit more control in encouraging him to get his school work done.

In many ways, this part of motherhood is harder than infancy! and definitely learning to be a good and gracious mother to sons, firm but flexible, wise but not tyrannical, is challenging for me. But watching my young men succeed at every step they take towards adulthood is also thrilling and its own reward.


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