Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand. ~Emily Kimbrough
Last month, my younger son begged me to let him hang out after school with friends before attending the school’s talent show. He wanted to meet his friends at 4:30 pm, a good 90 minutes before the event was scheduled to start, so they could run around and goof off.
I knew he had a lot of homework, homework that would take quite a bit of time. I told him and said to him “I don’t think you’re going to get it all done” to which he replied, “I’ll prove you wrong.”
We argued back and forth until I finally gave in and told him he could go to the activity and do his homework later.
As I drove him back to school, I was annoyed that I agreed to let fun and friends take precedence over homework. I was disappointed in myself: my snarky comment was not kind and had made him feel bad. I was disappointed because I had tried to be controlling and had assumed he would not complete the work.
I know my son needs some guidance and direction: he is not a self-starter when it comes to homework. I didn’t want to deal with him coming home from the event saying he was too tired to do his homework.
I expected him to be reluctant and petulant. I expected arguing and excuses. The more I thought I about what possible outcomes, the more annoyed I got. I wasn’t looking forward to arguing over homework at 9:00 PM.
When my husband arrived home from work and asked where our younger son was, I told him he was at school with friends.
“I don’t know why you let him go to the talent show when he had so much homework,” my husband said. His comment just added to my ire.
At 8:45 PM I receive a text: “Mom, will you pick me up?”
When my son got in the car, I reminded him about his homework.
“I know, I’ll get it done” he replied.
The next morning, sitting on the kitchen counter was a list of all his assignments: he had completed all of them and had checked everything off his list.
When he came downstairs, the first thing he said to me was “I proved you wrong, Mom, I completed all my assignments.”
I pulled him into my arms and apologized to him. I told him I was wrong. I told him how proud I was of him. I told him – like I do every chance I get – that I love him.
The truth was I had assumed that I would have to nag, remind, argue, and hover over him. I assumed I would have to take the steering wheel and drive – to make sure the work got done – but that wasn’t the case: he took responsibility, he made a list, and he completed all of his homework. In the end, he handled it perfectly.
My son’s journey is not about me, it is his and while he is learning to drive and maneuver, I am learning to accept the fact that he will hit a few bumps in the road. I am learning to let up a bit on the steering wheel and let him go. After all, he is the one who will be ultimately driving towards independence, not me.