Cutting the Apron Strings

16 Jun

When my son turned 13, I almost had a nervous breakdown. But 14? It’s been a real eye opener. I’ve been loosening the apron strings centimeter by centimeter for the last few years, but this year feels like he’s just taken the scissors and cut them, or at least stabbed me in the heart with the scissors. Why? ‘Cause he just doesn’t want me around anymore. Not in a bad, I-hate-you-Mom kind of way, more in an I’ve-outgrown-you kind of way.

He has always been MY baby. He was an only child for seven years and is the only boy of 5 kids, so he has a special place in the family. He’s always wanted me there for every event, but now, not so much.

It started happening when he turned 13, but in the last year, it’s really hit home. When I told him that DH and I would be coming to Curriculum Night at his school, he said, “Um, can you NOT go??” Ouch.  He asked if DH could go with him…alone. Not his dad, not me, just DH. I vetoed that one. Next, he had an opportunity to go on a class field trip to Washington D.C. I decided that I’d like to tag along since my only trip to D.C. was driving through it to get to Dulles. I also thought about what a great opportunity it would be to take this trip with my son. When I proposed the idea, he said again, “Um, can you NOT go? I’d like DH to go. You understand, Mom, right? It’s a guy thing.” I vetoed that decision as well and we’ll be leaving for Washington D.C. next week.  I was relishing the chance to take this trip with him.  Then yesterday he asked me not to sit next to him on the plane because he wanted to sit with his friends and not to hang out with him because he and his friends wanted to hang out with the one male teacher that’s going on the trip.

Of course, I was crushed. Is he embarrassed of me? Do I dress funny? Am I a complete doofus? No, it’s because I’m his mom.  As mothers, we can do a lot, but the one thing we can’t do is be a father.  During my divorce, I put a lot of strong male figures in my son’s path on purpose and each of those men has contributed to building the fine young man that he’s becoming.  One of those men was DH. I’m thrilled that my son has such a good relationship with him.  I love how they’ve bonded as a step-duo and that DH subtly fills in the blanks. I love that my son wants to do things with DH, asks to spend one on one time with him and genuinely likes him. Does it break my heart that I’m no longer the “parent of choice”?  Yes, but the trade-off is that I’m raising a confident young man.  This Father’s Day, I’m grateful to all of the teachers, coaches, mentors and friends that have become part of our “village”, but I’m especially grateful to my ex-husband for helping me bring our son into the world and to DH for loving my son like he was his own. 

What are you grateful for this Father’s Day?

2 Responses to “Cutting the Apron Strings”

  1. tjb June 17, 2010 at 10:56 am #

    This hits home for me. My daughter turns 14 in less than a month. For nine years it was just the two of us… I was a single mother in the most single of ways. My DH has taken on the role of father in every way. And we both seem to embarrass her. And it breaks my heart. Because I used to feel a little annoyed when she couldn’t get enough time sitting with me on the couch. Enjoy DC. I got told I couldn’t go on the band trip and I stayed home. I should have gone!

    • BioStep June 17, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

      Be patient and ride the storm. He had pushed me far away, but in the last 6 months he’s come back ever so slightly. I appreciate that I do need to learn to respect his need for autonomy as he gets older and have given him some room. He was in a play a few weeks ago that was performed during school and he begged me not to come. I stayed home. Some of my friends were puzzled as to why I didn’t sneak in the back of the auditorium and I told them I was trying really hard to respect his request (even though I REALLY wanted to be there).

      I will thoroughly enjoy DC and I’m sure I’ll have some stories to tell!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: