I don’t care what anyone thinks – a lesson from a 12-year old

I love how laid back that summertime is, at least for the most part. I mean there’s still an alarm to set for Paul on his work days and Cody attends summer school three days a week, but aside from that, I like the relaxed feel of a bright sunny day. Yesterday after shoving Paul out the door kissing Paul goodbye and getting Cody onto the summer school bus, I let Nick sleep in a bit and enjoyed a quiet cup of coffee. Around 9 I decided I’d wake him up with a surprise. An invitation to walk down to our very favorite local vegetarian restaurant/bakery and get a muffin for breakfast. Actually I was salivating for one of their delicious berry scones, but this really was about time with Nick and a treat for him. It’s all of a five minute walk and the sky was blue and the sun was shining. His response, though? You can go, Mom, and bring me back something. That wasn’t the point my darling child! I explained that I wasn’t going to do that and that this was a chance for us to spend some time together taking a walk and getting a breakfast treat. Still he didn’t want to go. I figured it was because he was still tired and needed more time to wake up since obviously 9 a.m. is so darn early to be waking up during summer vacation.

Finally, I just said fine and told him I’d make breakfast here at home. Something really boring, of course, hoping it would make him come around. He could see my disappointment, however, and asked if I’d be upset to stay home. I said nope and that I was pleased to save a few dollars anyways. After I was in the kitchen and starting on his breakfast he came in and said, fine I’ll go, like he was doing me some sort of favor. I told him it’s fine and if he’d prefer to stay home, we would, but reminded him that he often feels badly about not spending enough quality time together. Please don’t tell his friends he cares about such things, he’d be mortified to know I shared that with you.

So we went. We picked out our muffins (they didn’t have my berry scone) and walked back home, sat at the kitchen table and chatted while devouring our yummy treats. Somewhere in the middle of the walking and eating and talking, he shared something with me. The truth as to why he really didn’t want to go with me. It was because he didn’t want to be seen walking downtown with his Mom because it’s just not cool. For the record, I’m about as cool a parent as anyone could ask for. Please friends, tell him that! He feared being seen walking with me, his Mom, the one who gave birth to him, wiped his snot, held him when he was ill, and fought through his delightful months as a three year old. Ungrateful little…..

So here I write after checking my ego and wiping my tears, to tell you that I’m proud of him, because after being completely honest with me, he then shared the rest of his truth. A few minutes after his initial thought of being embarrassed to be seen with me he then thought to himself, I don’t care what anyone thinks. I can’t tell you the incredible joy this brought me. That at the age of 12, he changed his thought and adjusted his attitude. I immediately remembered being embarrassed by my parents, my Dad especially. He once offered to drive me to school in his snazzy Corvette convertible and I remember arriving at school and not being able to rush out of the car and inside fast enough because in my head nobody would be impressed by this loud sports car that my Dad drove. I also remembered the time that my Mom thought it would be fun to come with my brother and I roller skating, rather than just drop us off. She floated around the rink with her skates laced all the way up (everyone knows how uncool that was in the 80’s) so gracefully as if she were on air, way different than we hip kids did it. Through it all, I felt uncomfortable, like I just wanted them to disappear quickly or pretend they weren’t related to me. Fast forward to now when I’m blessed with this young boy who can see past those feelings and realize time with his Mom and his Dad is special and precious (okay, Nick will never use the word precious, but this is my blog not his and I can write it however I imagine it to be) and regardless of who he sees or what they think, he simply doesn’t care. Of course I imagine it helped a little to alleviate his feelings when a very sweet girl from his school yelled a really big hello to him while we were walking. It’s probably good we weren’t holding hands.


  1. What a beautiful post Cathy. I’m so glad your son ended up walking with you. My oldest is 10 and I can see that the embarrassed phase is not far off. He is struggling with being my little boy (still holds my hand occasionally) and being mature and independent. I, like you, vividly remember being embarrassed by my parents-but I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. I am sure you are a very COOL mom and I like to think that I am too. I think it’s just a right of passage-to think your parents are annoying and embarrassing. I know I’m going to keep on doing what I do and if it embarrasses them, so be it!

    • Thank you Lori. It was certainly a very proud moment for me as a parent. He’s a good kid. P.S. Embarrassing our kids is in the parent manual, right?

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