Sunday, April 30, 2006

redemption vs. red socks

April 26, 2006

Salina - 34
Los Angeles, CA
1 child – son (11)

I need to share with someone. I just found this blog. This is the first time ever that I am blogging but today I had such a remarkable moment with my son.

He's eleven going on twelve and today was an amazing day. I see he's becoming more open and comfortable; not an easy task when you're a Cancerian boy being raised by a Cancerian mom - no buffers to assuage the dramatic mood shifts and the maelstrom of manic-like behavior I sometimes rain down on him. After my periodic ranting and raving ends, I apologize, telling him that mom is just "having one of those days". That he is the greatest and most wonderful human being I know. I can tell he believ
es me, but still, there's the ambivalence about how much he can and should say sometimes.

He never really knows how the dirty clothes balled up in the drawers, the missing homework assignments, the uneaten lunch stuffed under the car seat in his effort to destroy evidence of wasted food, or even the occasional lies, will affect me. On a good day, we can just talk about it, I encourage him to reflect and keep becoming his highest self. On those dark days where I wake alone in a bed, after ten years of single parenthood; those days when the palpable loneliness, albeit self-induced, overwhelms me, I snap, yelling, screaming, and literally pressin
g him into a corner. I'm loud; so much that my voice alone can send him into paroxysms of fear and shaking. Of course my heart breaks and I go crying in the bathroom, cursing myself for not being able to talk with him; for showing those traits and ways of the adults who tormented and tortured me as a child.

Yesterday however, was a new day. I explained to him that mommy's yelling and screaming is never okay. I apologized for the example it sets, told him about PMS, and the fact that I battle clinical depression. It's not him, it's me.

"Is there medicine you can take for PMS mom? Is there something you can take to make your moods better?" A wonderful, brilliant young man he is.

I assured him that on those days, I would speak less, and breathe more slowly, so as to not get near the brink again. This was a revealing moment - in his eyes was the hope that my words were sincere. Never again I decided, would I allow my anger to amplify my voice to the level that it broke my child's spirit. Never again would I allow my battle to compromise the relationship between my son and me. The thought that he, would become as I: the proverbial mother-less child, unable to even speak to Her. We talked some more and I could see that he believed me.

The Universe gave me my first test this morning. I noticed he had on red socks, a direct clash with his standard school uniform, and basically a potential threat to his safety. Today was a sad morning, so rather than joke, I asked him directly – “Why?”

“No clean socks,” he assured me, forgetting that I had just done laundry four days ago. "None in my drawer. I didn't see any clean socks."

I took a deep breath, remembered our deal, and calmly told him to go and find socks. After a few minutes too long he appeared, clean white socks in hand. This was the moment of truth. How would I respond? I didn't. I simply said "I need to trust you, and it's hard when you don't tell the truth." My response was met with a stunned silence. He looked at me, swimming in relief. "Ok mom. They were hard to find ‘cause they were in a different drawer. I didn't look hard."


Anonymous Idrissa said...

Praise God! You had the courage to look at the problem and find a solution. You had the strength to look inside of yourself and not have too much pride to see that you had a problem. Your love for your child humbled you to look past your own issues and do what was best for him and I admire you for that.

I think that way that you handled it is going to make a diference. Remember being Mama comes with no instructions and we have to dig down deep sometimes and do the best that we can. You did and I salute you.


8:59 AM  
Anonymous jasai said...

I cried when I read this. It spoke to me in so many of my most private, frightened places. The job of Mama is often difficult in ways that we never expect and so much of our past and things that we do not even know about ourselves, gets dug up in our attempt to do this extraordinary job.

Frustration raising my son, both while single and remarried is a thing I battle with often. And I think it falls to the heart of something you mentioned – the father.

There are times when, because he is needed yet missing, I do not know how to respond. Because there is NOTHING I can do to access him and help my son grow in the places left stunted by his absence, I just want it all to go away. The truth that my son is being deprived, no matter how hard I work or try…It is overwhelming at times.

You are brave for acknowledging that you have not always handled situations with your son fairly or easily in the past. This is the beginning of so much great change.

I would encourage you to keep talking; to him and to your self, talk to friends and loved ones and a good therapist every now and then. And know that your honest intention will help you grow more positive actions. You and your son will benefit in ways beyond measure.

Thank you for this story - for going, and daily coming though it.

9:32 AM  
Blogger the prisoner's wife said...

i'm glad you came to this conclusion.

i can't imagine being yelled at, or yelled into a corner. i'm glad my parents were able to deal with me & my moods in a manner which disciplined, but in a loving way. your son knows you love him & i think it's important that you are taking steps to stop the yelling. i commend you for being so self-aware & brave.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I applaud you and your son as you continue this journey of getting to know one another. Being mama ain't no joke! Your child gets to see the real you, whether you want him to or not. We can hide our real self from other people, but not from those who call us mama.

It is frightening and humbling to be mama. On many days, we find that the mama we want to be is not the mama who stares us in the face, or whose angry voice we hear shouting out words we said we would never say to our children. No matter how wonderful we are or how Christian, intelligent, mature, enlightened, etc.; we all have those moments when we blow it.

I applaud you for recognizing that you have got to change the way you handle his disobedience. And yes, it is diobedience because you have told him over and over that dirty clothes go in the dirty clothes basket, to turn his homework in on time, to not waste food, etc.
He does have to own his part in provoking you to anger, but you are right to own your fault in "going over the top", in terms of scaring him to death.

But the bottom line is, you love your son and he knows it! Keep on
being honest with yourself and your son. Keep encouraging him to be honest with you. As you remember to be more gentle with him, don't forget to be gentle with yourself. Find some natural ways to combat PMS, cause that emotional rollercoater set off from those hormones ain't nothing nice. Been there and didn't like it, so I feel you.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Ms. A said...

Being a mom is not for the faint of heart. It's hard to hold it down for others when we can barely keep it together for ourselves. I know that's how I feel sometimes & seems you do too...God knew to give the tough job to women!!!!
I am married & sad to say that mothering is much the same as being single. (see my entry "A Moy's Life" on my MotherSister Chronicles blog)
Thanks for responding to my blog. We are like two bookends, you on the West Coast-me on the East,
and all the other mama's in the middle sharing our wisdom with the next generation.

7:37 PM  
Anonymous salina said...

eternal rivers of gratitude to you all. Bless up everytime.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Ekere said...

Greetings. This is such a touching and honest piece. Blessings to you and your son. Yes, we Cancerians can be a lot sometimes. I applaud you for speaking to your son and us about the depression that you are battling. This is such a serious, serious issue. I know how it can tilt an entire family. I know.

Sister, this writer and Mother writes some beautiful and bare pieces about her life strugge with depression. I admire her, and you, for speaking with courage.

one love,

4:18 AM  
Anonymous salina said...

thank you Ekere-
I actually read her Weep for ME (?) some years back. It was a balm i tell you. THANK YOU for the site, I am going to check it out and see what other offerings this sister has. ALl of your words have been GENEROUS. Feel like I have a small cadre of sistahs who are holding me accountable for what I say. It's been a BEAUTIFUL week for he and I. I even showed him the blog, he LAUGHED...thought the pictures were PERFECT! THis blog is Divine. forward!

10:32 PM  
Blogger Unsaid said...

This brought me to tears! It truly did. You admitted something that none of us want to admit...that sometimes we take out our anger and frustration on our boys. With that admission, a promise that you kept and were rewarded for. I needed to read this. I truly did. Thank you so much for your honesty.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Idrissa said...

I too read, Willow Weep For Me and I did weep...took me a long time to read because I had to stop a few times and absorb and the book blessed me in many ways...

Keep the faith mamas...we already have the victory!


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