My son recently turned 15. It’s hard to believe he is that old already. I remember when we brought him home from the hospital and he rested in my arms just days old as we (Him and I.) “watched” his first Super Bowl together. That first year (and the years since) seemed to have gone by in a flash. Not to brag, but he was speaking complete sentences before he was even a year old. Oh, how excited we were about that. There are days now that I wonder why we were so excited. He hasn’t stopped talking or asking questions since.
It is hard being a parent of a teenager – a lot harder than I ever imagined. I honestly believe he thinks I am the dumbest person on the planet right now. I may not be super intelligent but I have a little bit of smarts. I am sure I was the same way when I was his age so let me just publicly offer an apology to my own parents – Mom and Dad, I am sorry for what I put you through when I thought I had all the answers.
This is hard to admit but the relationship I have with my son right now is not what I imagined it would be at this point in our lives. I believe he is angry about a lot of things. He hates that he has to split his time between two homes and that is difficult for him. As a father, I have a tremendous amount of guilt about that. (I’ll talk more about guilt in a future post.) The reasons his mother and I are no longer together don’t matter – at least not to him and they shouldn’t! All children want their parents to be together and he has every right in the world to be upset about that. As a father, I failed him and his sister in that regard. I cannot change the past but I can have an impact on the present and the future. I do that by the choices I make and the reactions I have with him.
I recently read an article that talked about how we choose the way in which we respond to situations. The point the author was making really resonated with me. The overall theme was that “I AM MY RESPONSE” to the situations I encounter in life. I am trying to use her suggestions on taking a three second pause before I respond to situations. It seems to be making a difference, and in particular, I can see changes with my children. The author does a wonderful job talking about this so if you have a few extra minutes take a look at it here: The 3 Second Pause That Can Save a Morning & Spare Some Pain
Regardless of my level of intelligence and whatever may have happened in the past, some pretty incredible things have happened since my son’s birthday. The night of his birthday he was with his mother but was going skiing. He asked me to go and I had things I really wanted to get done that night since my kids weren’t with me. How could I say no to his request though? Especially on his birthday?! We spent 2 ½ hours skiing together and having healthy banter with one another and laughed a lot. It really was something that I remember fondly. I hope he does as well.
The following night the kids were with me and we had a lot of running around to do for the different activities they are involved in. At the end of the night we ordered a pizza (Something that, if you know me, doesn’t occur very often.) When we were done I gave him his birthday gifts. They weren’t anything extravagant but were things that, in listening to him over the prior few weeks, I knew he wanted. He opened them with not much fan fare or reaction.
However, about an hour later, I was in the kitchen and he just came in and gave me a hug without saying a word and then went back to what he was doing. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Thank you for that moment God! I have replayed that moment often in my mind and I hope that you too have moments in your life that you remember fondly as well.
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YES to those moments – and the difficulty and guilt of the family split. It is tough, and I know you’re being a superhero kind of dad because, well, I know you. Trust that he’ll get through this and come to understand and accept it, and in time the anger will dissipate. I’ve been having similar moments with my 13 year old lately – coming into her own and dragging me along kicking, screaming and trying to make her mind her momma. Hang in there for those random hug moments, they are so worth it!!!
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