My son, Scotty, is in his Senior year at High School and about 5 months ago he decided he wanted to move out. He wasn't happy, he had been quite hostile at home and very difficult to manage. So, on his 18th birthday he told me I couldn't stop him and he was moving. He broke my heart. He was my first born and I have always had an incredible connection with him. I was proud of the boy he was and took such pride in raising him and teaching him all I could to assure he would be the best man he could be. I have always loved sitting back and looking at him and knowing that I had a part in making him the great kid he is. Everything I did and everything I tried to teach him was a conscious attempt to help him learn everything I thought he needed in life, to protect him from any harm, to help him understand and learn the things that I thought I didn't learn growing up. And now, he had rejected me in the way that hit me the hardest~not only did he want to leave me but he was highly critical of me as a mother.
I couldn't stop him. He moved out and headed out on his own. I tried to get information from anyone I could, counselors at his school, friends I confide in, to figure out how to be a mother to him in this new way. I wasn't sure how to make sure he was o.k. and how to care for him when it appeared he didn't want anything to do with me. I found myself in a position where I had no control over what he did. And...how do I do this with my heart broken over this child I love so deeply. I was in terrible pain. I questioned whether I had been the mom I thought I was or maybe I really was flawed as a parent.
I took it slowly. I checked in every now and then and tried to find out from teachers and school counselors how he was doing. Gradually, over time, he began calling and texting me to say hi. It was hard to get him to come over and visit. I think he really wasn't ready at that time. A few months later I began initiating contact a little more frequently just to check in on him. I was trying to develop a new relationship with my son, one of friendship and less of a mother~son relationship. Over the last 5 months, we have come a long way. We are probably more close now than we ever have been.
Last week, Scotty called and said he wanted to move back in with me. He said that he has learned so much while taking care of himself and he feels like he has grown up. He is trying to finish high school (finger crossed here everyone!), he is working at a job he likes, he saved up enough money to buy his own truck and he feels really proud of himself. He then told me that there was so much that he resented when he was at home with me, like having to pay his own cell phone bill and car insurance, that he thought I should just do for him and having a sister with special needs. He said that he understands now that if I hadn't done that with him that he would have fallen flat on his face when he moved out. He said he didn't know it at the time, but he knows now that he has one of the best mom's anyone could have. He said he understands everything I have tried to teach him and why now.
He then told me a story. On one of his very first days at his job, he didn't know anything or where anything was and a man came in and needed help finding things. He said he didn't know anything but he ran around helping this man. Just recently that man came back into his work and he recognized Scotty. He said, "Aren't you the kid who helped me the last time I was in here?" and Scotty told him yes, that was him. The man turned to the woman who was cashiering and told the woman how helpful Scotty was when he was in the last time and how much he appreciated it. The woman said, "Yes, we hear that a lot about Scotty." The man then turned to Scotty and said, "I want you to go home and I want you to tell your Mom 'thank you'."
Scotty told me at the time he didn't understand why the man said that. He said it went right over his head. But as he thought about the statement more, he understood what the man was saying to him. He told me that it was then that he realized how who he was has so much to do with everything his mom has tried to teach him. He was able to think back to everything that sounded like a foreign language to him over the years and the things he resented and he was now able to make a connection with it.
This child of mine...oh, he made me break down into tears. These were tears of pure joy though. Oh how I longed to hear my son say these things to me. I just never thought it would be now, at eighteen. I expected it to be years down the road.
My son, he is my greatest accomplishment in life. I believe he will be a great man, a great husband and a great father. I look at him and I have such joy in my heart. I have done a good thing and I get to be his friend.