Friday, October 5, 2007

Temporary Coolness

As the mother of a middle schooler, I find myself faced with the quandary I'm not sure my parents thought about when I was in jr. high. Will I effect my child's "coolness"?

I think my parents, as most parents do, took great joy in doing things that they knew would intentionally embarrass us as children. I now have friends that I know still derive great pleasure in knowing it is "their turn" to humiliate their kids. I guess it's some sort of right of passage, so to speak.

I try to be very mindful of what could be misconstrued as "not cool". Not that my child has to have the best of everything, because let's face it, who can afford that? But middle school is TOUGH!! This school is 5th through 8th grade, and he's in 6th. I know it's important that he be allowed to make his own way, in order for him to grow. However, kids can be cruel (I know I would NOT want to live middle school, or jr. high, again) and my son doesn't need me contributing to any detriment in his character.

So, as I try to let my only child grow and find his way, I find myself torn between wanting to smother him with love, and give him all the space he needs. If he's to be determined "cool" or "uncool", it's not going to be because of something I did. Every parent wants their child to feel confident, whether they fit in or not.

At the same time, as the kids try to learn who they are, I know they can be hurtful and sassy in their comments and attitudes. Heck, it's amazing my eyes didn't stick in the back of my head as much as I rolled them as a teenager. My son's shield of rebellion, for the sake of rebellion, has yet to reveal it's true shade but maybe if we tackle it a little along the way, it won't be as painful as what some parents experience.

Well, let me tell you about a GLORIOUS moment that happened to me tonight. My son has a friend having a sleep over, and we're on our way to the house, Son, Me & Friend. We are all rocking out to Nickelback, together. We're singing the songs and dancing in the car together. of the coolest things ever said to me by my son happened:

(end of Rockstar song)
Me: Ok guys, this was just a very cool moment for me.
Ty: Why?
Me: Because all three of us were rocking out and singing the same song, TOGETHER! This is very cool. I know the words to one of YOUR songs. I think this just made me kinda cool for just this moment.
Ty: (after a short pause, looks at me and places his hand on mine) You're always kinda cool, Mom.

OMG!!! I almost stopped the car immediately!!!!!!!!!!! Ok...keeping my composure even as I type. It played in my mind over and over, and five minutes later (because it takes us 20 minutes to get to our house from anywhere) I turned to him and said, "I'm pretty sure this is going to be one of those moments I keep with me forever. That was about the sweetest thing you've said in a long time, and I thank you."

I was so excited, I couldn't wait to get home and immortalize the comment. I realize that, like a letter to my boy, he could some day read this and truly understand the power of his statement. Don't get my son is no perfect angel. But I'm going to relish this moment, and now I have it in writing, to remind me not to kill him later when he forgets to clean the cat litter or hides dirty socks in his gear bag. I am SO LUCKY!!


Anonymous said...

Mary: You are the Queen of Cool and even your son knows it! What a great story and a great moment! In life, one worries about so many things, especially with kids, so this is one less thing to clog your mind :)

Love ya,

Grandy said...

Loliver, you are the BEST!!

I knew, of any of the stories, you would appreciate this one because you know this boy so well!!

Hope to see you soon, my friend!!

storyteller said...

I just popped over her to check this out and love this story. The Middle School Teacher in me knows exactly what you mean. I savored those moments of "coolness" with my students whenever they arose ... seldom though they were.
Hugs and blessings,

Grandy said...

Oh storyteller, thank you for stopping by on this comment. It really is one of those posts I will probably post again, as my son grows into teenhood. ;)

storyteller said...

Glad to be of service. Those teen years can be challenging for adults who love and care about these "tweener" kids. Some folks mistakenly believe middle and high school aged kids don't need us as much as when they were little, but in many respects ... they need us more than ever because their peers can be pretty harsh on their fragile developing egos. We can be their "soft place to fall" when times are tough, and the rock upon which they stand when temptation beckons ... but it's tricky business indeed.

As for "tyke" ... feel free, but don't expect him to appreciate it.
Hugs and blessings,

Tina Coruth said...


What parent wouldn't be dancing on cloud nine to hear that from her child! You are lucky to have such a sweet son and he is lucky to have such a cool mom! :-)