I Watch

R. Howard

I watch as my son became a teen and his brain went to mush. He now knows more than anyone and has life figured out. Anything I say is nonsense to him and nothing is as bad as I make it sound.

I watch.

Struggle after struggle. Mistake after mistake.

I watch.

I want so much to get through to him, to make him see that he is messing up. He rarely listens to my advice.

So, I watch.

Watch as his heart gets broken or he breaks hearts. Watch as he learns about relationships. As he learns what works and what doesn’t.

I watch as the unfairness of life rips at him, scarring him, forming him into the man he will be.

I worry constantly if I have done the right thing. If I used the right words so he doesn’t think I am simply being mean.

While I watch, I fret and fear. No one wants a knock on the door or a middle of the night call. Some of those are worse than others. I count myself blessed to still have him but it was still a horrifying night. These moments make me question what I did wrong. I watch at his bedside, waiting breathless for the doctors to bring news. I was by his side through recovery. I fed him homemade chicken bone broth because he couldn’t eat. I was there for him every step of the way. He never knows how much fear I feel. He just knew that I was there for him. That’s what mattered. 

I watch through marriages, through grandchildren. I watch my little boy start to turn into a real man. Not just what a young man thinks being a man is.
I watch with pride as he speaks to people and says, “Yes ma’am or Yes Sir.”  Sometimes it’s missed behind his larger than life personality. But it’s there, and that’s what matters.

My hearts swells when he says, “No mom, you relax. I’ll get it for you.” My favorite is “Mom, come and eat I cooked you a steak.”

I watch with gratification as he takes his girl for a date and opens the doors for her. Or he gives her a spa day just because. 

I watch as he protects us by walking on the outside of a sidewalk or road, so he would be hurt first instead of his children, girl or me.

I watch so much as he grows and matures. I watch as he helps those less fortunate. Even if he won’t admit to having a soft heart. He buys toys for kids in need. Meals for others that can’t afford it. I watch him feed others part of the family dinner all the while still denying that he is a nice person.

I watch when others hurt him. I want to comfort him, to fight for him. He’s too much of a man for that nonsense but inside he knows I have him in my arms. A mother fighting for a child can be quite a spectacle. I doubt anyone has ever held a grudge against a mother for standing up for their child.

I watch when he has done something wrong as he pays the price. It’s hard and I cry and again wonder what I did so wrong. I know that making him own up to his mistakes is part of his journey to becoming a man.

He is like Bogart in Casablanca. Tortured, cynical, ambivalent but still caring and loving. Like Bogart he wants to dress as nicely as he can opting for fashion stores before he’d ever consider discount stores.

He was taught to stand for what he believes in. His father taught him how to do it very loudly and colorfully. 

He was taught that everyone needs time alone. Especially since he is ADHD. He found outlets for his symptoms and does very well. He often works too much.

I watch and remind him that he needs breaks too.

I watch as he is an easy target for others. A scapegoat. He is big. He is outgoing. He is friendly. He is handsome. He can handle himself, but this mom sees deeper than his words. I see the pain in his heart when people do him wrong.

He is a spoiled Momma’s boy and not afraid to admit it. He even had to be forced from the womb after being a month late. He was the only child that God let me grow. He is an exceptional son having to overcome some seemingly insurmountable problems.

We are friends. We probably message each other as much or more as anyone else.  We look forward to conversations with each other.

Some might think we hate each other because we LOVE to argue. He’ll say the opposite just to get me going on something. Some see it as a comedy routine but recently someone thought he was being disrespectful. I really doubt he was. I can count on one hand the times he has disrespected me. Each time he knew immediately he made a mistake.

We share a home. We get into fights. If you have ever seen the movie Hancock where Will Smith finds the other one “like” him and the fight is on. https://youtu.be/tqmbgqyc1bc  That’s like Billy and I. Sometimes our arguments escalate. Not often but they do. I’m always going to win because I’m the Mom. (Let’s keep that a secret.) That’s why our occasional arguments get so bad. I’m not talking about a physical fight. My son has far too much respect for me to ever hit me. I do still smack him though. I’m sure it feels like the equivalent of a mosquito bite, but it satisfies me. I won’t let him get the last word in an argument and he is SO MUCH LIKE ME, that he wants the last word. I’ll give him the last word if it’s “Yes, Mom.” We always work through it. Always. https://youtu.be/6Rzs1Mkdy8A?t=13

I could see how maybe from the outside our arguments might appear disrespectful but there is nearly a 100% chance we are playing around. If anyone is ever not sure please ask. There have been far too many assumptions that cause heartaches.

He is often misunderstood. He’s a hillbilly living in a very different place from what he grew up in. I love him so deeply and don’t want people to keep thinking he’s a trouble maker. He does have a big personality and he can’t go anywhere without many people calling out to say hi. In one year he knows more people than I have met in my own hometown.

He has his problems, don’t we all. No matter though I am still very proud of the man he has become. Loud mouth and all. I like how he doesn’t care if people like or dislike him.  Most do like him. He is funny and a good story teller. But he is a take me as I am person. He doesn’t put on airs like so many, me included.

I don’t care if people like or dislike if they are basing their choice on facts and not hearsay. Hearsay hurts. It hurts reputations, destroys families, alienates friends. Makes moms cry. 

He is very intelligent. Like me, he is an avid reader and can read 800+ words a minute with comprehension. His vocabulary is extensive even if he gets pronunciations wrong, I mean c’mon….hillbilly has an entire language of its own.

He is kind and thoughtful when he is not busy. If he’s busy, best to just let him be busy and focused. And that is not a bad thing.

He cooks and cleans!!

He can build anything he sets his mind to.

He can even do many of his own car repairs.

He cuddles his kids and gives them extra remotes so they can “play” games with him. He takes them to the park. He lets them be kids.

He has a child with autism that when I watch them interact makes me unbelievably proud. Why? I can’t do it. Never could, probably never will. Doesn’t mean my grandson isn’t loved or treasured, just that my son is way better at dealing with issues that arise. Autism takes a special person to deal with it and he does it so well.

He’s a hard worker.

He pays the bills.

He strives to be early or on time.

He lives with his sick widowed mother on purpose. How much love does that take?

These are just a few of the things that as a parent we try to teach our children and pray we didn’t mess it up too bad.

I have watched him so many times lately with my heart breaking that I just want him to know how very thankful I am to have him for a son. I am so proud of the man he has become. I’m doing this publicly because I want everyone to know how wonderful he is too.


Unknown said…
It's so good to see you back Robin. I'm Marcia who spoke with you so often of facebook. You disappeared. Life made us both into new people. Online I appear under my mother's name... because she's gone and I'm close to her.
I've journaled all my life, see it as both the way out and the way through. Transformation becomes transcendent. You still touch others in showing your own way.

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