Last night Mythankfulboy and I barely saw each other. It’s true on Mondays, and most Fridays we don’t see each other at all. Yesterday I picked him up from his dad’s a little before 8. We went home and ate separate dinners because I didn’t want what his braces would allow him to have; I made his first and mine second. He gathered his things for the next day of school and gamed a bit, and I cleaned up the dishes and started a load of laundry, until 9:00 rolled around. At that point he started the bedtime grooming routine, lengthened of late because of his braces. He then went to bed and did 20 minutes of biting on a plastic disc to reduce tooth pain from the braces. Only THEN did I attempt to go into his room to light our evening chalice. He was reading and didn’t want to stop. I was tired, and didn’t want to have to leave and go back when he decided he was done reading. I tried a playful approach to sitting on the edge of his bed which forced him to move his legs a bit, when I got the dreaded, whined, “Mom, come on!” (not an invitation, but a lament, as in “Cut it out!”).
I stood up and left the room without a word. I was in no mood to deal with his mood. I went to bed and he turned out his light. In the morning he asked if I had finished the load of laundry he had put in just before bed (which would have meant my switching it in the middle of the night – uh, no!) and I said no, then I rolled over and went back to sleep.
This afternoon I picked him up from the Y, and he and I talked happily with his friends and their mom. When we got in the car to go home, he immediately said, “Mom, I’m sorry about last night.” I let a few seconds of silence fall and then answered, “I appreciate your saying you’re sorry. It was a crappy evening, wasn’t it?” We rode in silence before I added, “You know, we’re going to have to be gentle with one another. You are emotional because you’re going through puberty, and I am emotional because I’m going through menopause. And because I’m not sleeping (for other reasons). This would be an easy time to let things get away from us. So, can we agree to try to be especially kind to each other?” He said, with a smile, “I just won’t say anything to you so I don’t get in trouble.” I turned to look at him, about to lose my proverbial poop, when I realized he was sitting back grinning, knowing that was going to set me off. He laughed and leaned forward and put his hand lovingly on my arm (conveniently also in the elbow-in position of “don’t hit me in the gut”), and I relaxed and laughed, too. Then he said, “I mean, I wouldn’t want to make you cry!”, laughing before he could even finish his sentence and recoiling as far into the edge of his seat as he could to avoid getting smacked.
If this is what he considers to be gentle, I have more work to do!