Yesterday I took Evans on a ride along to run some errands and something occurred to me. As I sat at the light near Albertson’s, I realized that on Christmas morning he is expecting that there will be gifts under the tree for him since I always back down from any consequences that I come up with. I turned the radio off and told him that I wanted to talk to him about something and it didn’t require a response.
I told him that I know that in the past I have threatened to take away all of his Christmas gifts but, never followed through.(He agreed.) But, this year I truly want him to be prepared that there will be nothing under the tree for him on Christmas morning. I was not backing down and I was not giving up on him.
He in true Evans form, sat there. Saying nothing. Not even anything to argue his point. (Of which there is none, mind you.)
I then told him that I also had made the decision that I was NOT going to return or donate his gifts that had already been picked out for him but rather, beginning January 1st, he will have to earn each one of those gifts back individually. And I did not mean he does a chore that I ask and he gets all of his shit. I mean, that he wasn’t going to be allowed to ask for ANY of them and when I saw that the goals we set at school and at home are met, then and only then would one of his Christmas gifts be given to him. It could take as little as three months or as long as next Christmas to get them all.
Being that I never give him unrealistic goals at this point, as long as he does what his teacher asks of him and behaves at home(for the most part I mean, he is an almost 12yo boy) that will be reason enough to earn gifts back.
Although I still feel like a failure and a shitty mom for doing this to him, maybe at some point in his life, he will be about to do or say something and just STOP. Just stop and have one of those flashbacks of a lesson that I DID teach him and that for once, I stood my ground and it stuck with it. And then, he will realize that I never intended for this to be a true punishment but, hopefully a learning experience for moments just like the one he may find himself in.
Maybe it will be in 2017. Maybe it will be in college and he is trying to decide whether that cheat sheet on exam is REALLY worth it. Hell, maybe he will face the same situation with his own child. I don’t know. I can only hope that he will look back and for a moment, remember the sting of how that Christmas morning felt and proceed knowing that whatever choice he makes, there will be consequences. Could be good, could be bad. But, it’s my hope that he remembers that it really sucked and I did it out of complete love and adoration of the person that I want him to become. One with reality in check and knowledge that his responsibilities are his own, That his mistakes are the ones that will make him grow.
I hope that one day, he looks back and thinks to himself,
“Man, my mom wasn’t such a bitch after all. I. GET. IT.”
and then he makes the decision that benefits his life right at that moment.
I’m not a perfect mom. I’m not even a “good” mom by most people’s standards but, I’m here. I’m aware.
I am not their friend.
I am their mother.
I have not ever, nor will I ever make all the right choices when it comes to them but, just like they have never been teenaged boys or college bound freshmen or a parent, I look at them and I tell myself that I have never been a mother to a son at this age or with this personality before. Everyday is a new day with a new kid. A new day with a new trait or quirk that emerges. And, goddamned it. That is okay by me. As long as they come out of this “life” thing ALIVE and can look at themselves in the mirror and know that without a doubt, they did their best, I will know that I have succeeded.