Okay, I admit it. This morning, I did hover around my kid just a wee too much. Until my interruption, he was happily telling me how a farewell party was going to be held for the graduating seniors at his table tennis club. The school club opted for a relatively modest event, he said, with a few beverages and biscuits as accompaniment. He said he was glad of this decision, because if it were to be a feasting with barbecue and cakes like some other clubs, he wouldn’t be able to join in the fun. He has, after all, food allergies, and it still hurts to see others merry-make over food that he cannot eat.
I should simply have listened to what he had to say and left it at that. But no, when a topic about food arises, I can’t help but go haywire. My unrestrained mind started bobbing out tin fish full of worries by the dozens, prompting me to blast out admonitions on how he must not eat any of the biscuits served, and how he must keep strictly to drinking tea. As if that weren’t enough I then remarked, “Will you be all right with that?” With a sullen and reserved tone my son told me to “Stop yapping, please,” and assured me that he was quite capable of handling the situation by himself.
I know I sound like a detrimental helicopter parent, but I have my reasons too! Only two days ago did I find this kid return home from school all teary-eyed after a row with his archenemy, asking for my help to sort the matter out. He still so often acts like a baby to me!
Now, concerning this row that my son had with this particular boy from the same school club, there were also a few previous incidents that I found rather disturbing. In particular, once during a walk home from school, a war of words between the two ended with my son getting hammered on the head with an umbrella from behind. I contacted his mother immediately to tell her what had happened, which led to her apologizing to me with an utmost courtesy, but I was left with an impression that the culprit in question remained utterly unrepentant. My advice to my own son to steer clear of the boy proved futile, for the bugbear seemed evermore determined not to be shaken off.
With the situation exacerbating, it was time for me to inform the school, and trust an experienced teacher who knew them both to arbitrate on the feud. The teacher worked wonders. Yesterday, both my son and his foe were called in together to a conference room to talk out the situation, with the teacher providing an objective and analytic voice throughout the meeting. Despite receiving a few stern words from the pedagogue for his own actions too, I saw my son come home all cheerful and relieved. Thank goodness for that. Or was it, because I sensed in him a buried reserve toward me that questioned my actions of delegating the matter to an uncommitted teacher without prior notice. To him, it might have looked as if I had broken yet another strand of mutual trust, a mother and child collusive bond that ties us firmly together from the time of birth.
I guess this is just the way children and mothers grow up: toing and froing and fretting and shoving between the entrancing interdependence we have with each other and the liberating breakaway as individuals to act as we please. If my son is indeed ready to take more and more steps away from me, then I must learn to trust in him and leave him to make decisions of his own. And in that case, he can start by taking care of the state of his own room too!