March 16, 2010
An Earthquake, A Teenager and a Moment of Panic
This morning, around 4:00 am, the earth shook, and I woke up. It was not a big earthquake, but enough of a shake to get me out of bed. The house shook, the cat freaked, and my day started. At the first sign of movement, I dashed to my son’s room and sat in the doorway.
The earthquake quickly passed with no big drama. When they start, there is a flash where you pray it’s not the big one. It’s an interesting experience, and one I don’t think I will ever get used to. I am grateful that after being through a few of them, I am no longer spooked.
I was sitting at the entrance to my son’s room watching him sleep. The cat came to join me, and we just sat there. For the next 3 hours, we sat on the floor and watched this young man sleep. I love him more than anything in the world, and I reflected on our life together.
He is a really remarkable human being. I enjoy his company very much. We are very, very close. Closer than most I think. We have trust, which I have always been proud of. He is my friend, but at the same time, he respects me as his mother, and that comes first.
There is no fear in our relationship. He tells me everything so I don’t need to guess, and I support and empower him to be all he can be. We have the type of relationship that other mother’s envy, and his friends are impressed by. My son is free in my home to live his best life.
I know I am a good mother. I believe it with all my heart. My kid loves me, and has no problem telling me so. He is not embarrassed to be with me, he invites me out with his friends, and loves to have his friends to our house, because he knows they are all happy, and comfortable here.
As I sat on the floor, watching him sleep so deeply, I experienced something that I honestly don’t think has ever happened. I had a moment of panic. I sat there and began to question what I was doing, and how I was doing it, in terms of my parenting of this fantastic young man.
Am I so secure with who I am as a mother, that I will be naïve and miss signs that need attention? Do I trust my son so much, that I am blind to the fact that he is a teenager, and teenagers get into all kinds of trouble? Am I in denial about who he is, who his friends are, and what they are doing?
I worry about everything. I pride myself however, on not letting the things that I worry about, control me, and therefore alter how I am as a parent. If I allowed my fears to take control, I’d be homeschooling, he would never go outside, and I would run security checks on all of his friends.
I can teach him everything I believe in, and set him on a good path for his life. Whether he takes that path however, is out of my control. Is he going to smoke? Do drugs? Have sex? Drive too fast? Skip school? Go to university? Be bullied? Respect women? Lie?
When our kids are little, they are with us all the time. There is the feeling that we can protect them, because they are under our watchful eye. When they are babies we want them to walk, then wish they would stay still. We want them to talk, then wish they would be quiet. Change is good when they are little, but causes panic when they get older.
When my son was really young, I used to wonder what kind of person he would be when he grew up. At 14, he is everything I imagined him to be. He is smart, and really funny. He is compassionate, caring, and aware of the earth, and his responsibility to take care of it. He cares deeply about his family and friends, and wants everyone to be happy.
I enjoy him as a human being in a way that goes beyond his being my child. I really like this kid, and am so proud of who he is becoming. I like his friends, and the parents of his friends. I know they have his back. They are a very tight group of kids, boys and girls, who have a genuine affection for each other.
As parents, we never stop worrying about our kids. I wonder however, at what point can we take a deep breath, trust that everything is going to be ok, and believe we did a good job? As parents, is there ever going to be a time when doubt and panic won’t come into play?
I don’t want to ever second-guess myself. I know I am a good mother. I’m so good at it, I could teach lessons. My hope for our relationship, is that when my son is an adult, he loves me as much as he loves me today. When he is a man, I want him to love me because he chooses to, not because he feels obligated.
Maybe it was the shifting of the earth that caused me to panic. Maybe it was just a moment of reflection, that made me doubt myself. Maybe some days you just love your kids so much, it screws you up a bit. I don’t know why I panicked, and I’m certainly not going to try to figure it out.
I’m glad the earthquake was a little one, with no damage. I’m happy my son loves me, and trusts I am doing the best I can. I am appreciative my son is good kid, and does not give me reason to not trust him. I am blessed to be the mother of this remarkable young man.
Rather than focus on the things that could change, or go wrong, I am going to count my blessings. I am going to tuck away the doubt that came creeping in this morning, and trust everything is okay. Instead of allowing my energy to fuel panic, I will take a deep breath and keep the faith.