We had an argument over the weekend. A BIG one. You and me, well, we are tight. And it’s interesting because you are in no way a “momma’s boy”, whatever that means, but we have a relationship that is pretty unique. When you were much younger, and we were still living in Michigan, your YaYa told me that she thought you and I spoke our own language. And that she liked how I always just talked to you like an equal and not a baby. That’s how we still are. We are just honest with one another. So our argument was real, and it made us both think, and it took us both a couple of days to shake it off.
There are lots of things that just come naturally to you. It has been pretty easy for you to be a good student and it has been pretty easy for you to be a good athlete. But this year you made a transition to Middle School, and with that, you’ve learned you kind of have to work for the grades and the baskets now. And that’s why we argued. Because in school you’ve done the work and learned to study and brought up the grades. But in basketball you’ve gotten frustrated and your attitude has changed and you’ve retreated to your room a bit more to pretend to be a basketball star with the hoop on your closet door, instead of doing the work in the gym and on the court.
If there is one thing I wish I could make you understand it would be that practice and training isn’t a PUNISHMENT, it’s an OPPORTUNITY. Whatever your dream is, whatever it is you decide you want to pursue, you have to come to love the preparation for it as much as you love the actual getting to do it. I was an actor when I was young, and as much as I loved performing the show, I loved rehearsals. The practice and exploration and camaraderie were as important to me as the curtain going up on opening night. I know you love the driveway basketball, and I do too. But if you want to play at the level of the players of the teams you love, then you need to do more. You have to earn the glory of sinking the game winning buzzer beater. You need to train.
And your mama can help you train. If you’d stop fighting me on it, I could help you train in many of the skills that will help you have better coordination, better endurance, more flexibility.
Plus? I know a thing or two about being competitive and can help you develop THAT skill as well. If you’d just let me.
It’s been no secret that the last year or two of elementary school were tough discipline-wise and now that you’ve finished half a school year in middle school I know my gut was right. You grew out of the elementary school rules and regulations a long time ago. You’ve never liked being treated like a baby. Not even when you WERE a baby. Having every behavior dictated and policed made you miserable, and now that you have some freedoms and some ability to use your own judgment, you’ve proven to all of us you can handle it. You keep up with your things. You are polite to your teachers. You keep your phone in your backpack. You do your homework every day.
You’re doing middle school really, really well. And I’m just so ridiculously proud of you.
This is a big year for other reasons, too. Your first dance is next week, though the jury is still out on whether or not you will go. You stay home by yourself now. You’re finally going to get the braces you’ve wanted since that adult tooth grew in crooked. You have girlfriends that want to hold your hand. We’ve talked about kissing. But I have to say that time after time after time, you prove yourself to be a good kid. A good boy. On your way to being a very good man.
I feel so very lucky and so very blessed that you and I have our special kind of relationship where we can be so close and so honest, but not codependent. I don’t think anyone would describe me as being overprotective of you, and I don’t think anyone would describe you as being too reliant on me. We just are who we are. We have a lot of respect for one another. And a lot of love. You can talk to me about anything, and I know any mom can SAY that, but I love that you really DO.
I also love that you text me every day at lunch.