I consider myself fairly tough emotionally. I have thick armor. Most of it was built up out of necessity.
My parents divorced when I was three, so I was raised in a single-parent home long before it became the norm. They reunited when I was 10.
My sister died when I was 14.
I had so many stupid love relationships because I felt desperate to find a man and be part of a couple.
Over the years, that stuff builds up.
So I'm surprised how deeply one of my children can still wound me. Even as I write this, I'm tearing up. And I'm not a cry-er.
I have three kids, ages 22, 20 and 18. They do things to stress me out all the time, but generally, it's not aimed at stressing me.
Sunday, my youngest, a senior in high school, sent an arrow flying that pierced my heart and leaves me somewhere between silently resentful and passive aggressive toward him.
Four years ago, another mother and I planned that when our sons were seniors, we would go to the mother/son, father/daughter dance together. The dance is held during the kids' senior year, and here it's called Spring Fling. We get dressed up. We have a nice dinner. We dance with our kids who will soon be flying the nest.
We don't do this any other time during their growing up years. This is it.
I asked Tucker about it nearly a month ago. He told me that was the weekend of the Frisbee tournament, so we might be late.
I was okay with that and I paid the $40 for our tickets.
|Here's a photo from the dance last night. Not me and Tucker.|
Sunday morning, I braved the high winds to sit through two of the three Frisbee games. Then I hurried home to go to a graduation party for another friend's son. Next I went to ballroom dance class with my husband.
I donned a party dress and waited for Tucker to get home. His last Frisbee game ended at 3 p.m.
He walked in the door around 4:30 with a burrito from Chipotle.
"We just have about an hour before Spring Fling," I told him.
"I told you I didn't want to go to that. I'm too tired," he said.
"All the other seniors who played Frisbee are going," I said.
He named two boys who weren't going. "I never told you that I would go. I told you we had tournament this weekend."
"You told me we might be late because of the tournament," I pointed out.
He ignored me.
"You had three games yesterday and you went out until midnight last night," I argued.
It didn't matter. He walked down the stairs to the basement.
|Spencer and I went to spring fling when |
he was a senior
I texted the mother we were meeting and the mother we were supposed to ride with.
My texts were juvenile, full of anger at my son who I called "a jerk" and "immature." Of course, both of those things were true.
After about half an hour, I changed out of my party dress. I tried to read on the front porch then I hunkered down in front of the television.
I imagined punishments that I could give him. I'd take away his cell phone. I wouldn't let him drive a car.
I wondered if he could go to college early so I didn't have to deal with him this summer.
Truthfully, I'm just hurt.
This is the only time we will ever have this one-on-one date. Sure, he might dance with me at his wedding, but it's definitely not going to be all about me and him.
I assuage my hurt feelings, remembering that I got to go to the dance with Spencer two years ago when he was a senior in high school.
This morning, I'm still feeling sad. I tried dancing to "Happy," but it didn't chase away my blues.
I talked to an ESL teacher who told me I should teach English in China this summer and, like a character in one of my novels, I spent an hour searching sites, wondering if that would be the best way to escape my children home for the summer.
I realize I should simply say to Tucker that he truly hurt my feelings. There's no way for him to make it up to me now, but I shouldn't hide my feelings, as I have for years while the kids were little. He needs to know that his actions have consequences.
He may not regret his actions now, or this year, or even next year, but he's enough like me that I know in 10 years, he'll probably beat himself up that he didn't go with mom to Spring Fling. He's just too young to know it yet.