To start, you’re going to need some back story: My son is 12. One month after my son was born his father and I split up and haven’t been together since. He sees his father every other weekend and on holidays. On the other side, I have a friend who I’ve known for years, who my son and I see periodically at gatherings, on occasion at my sister’s house, or when we’ve gotten our two kids and hung out together. Even though the time spent with my friend was limited my son fell in love with him. My son thinks he is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Knowing that my son never developed a relationship or bond with his father has always saddened me. When I think about it I find that I can’t help but to compare it to my own father, with whom I have a great relationship and a strong bond. I’m an adult now, but still to this day if I think I’ve disappointed my father I’m devastated. I realize that my son is only able to bond as much as his father opens up and lets him which, from my perspective, is pretty non-existent.
So, back to the purpose of my blog, my son just got back from a nine day vacation with his Boy Scout troop. When he got home he emptied his bag and pulled out 4 wrapped gifts. He handed one to my father, placed one aside for my sister, handed me one and the last gift he placed on the table. After the difficult time him and I were having prior to his leaving I immediately thought to myself that it was so sweet that he thought of me, and everyone else, and took the time to purchase us something. I walked past the gift on the table and noticed that it did not have his father’s name on it as I expected, it actually had my friends name on it. I stopped to take another look, a little shocked that it wasn’t for his father. A little later, I ask him if he had purchased any other gifts. He listed off a few things he purchased for himself and then said that was all. I didn’t want to ask him why he didn’t get a gift for his dad, because things were calm and it may have caused and argument so instead I asked him why he decided to get my friend a gift. “Because I love him and was thinking of him,” was his response. Well, he just about knocked me down with that statement. It took me a moment to recover from hearing him say that. Even knowing that he was fond of him, writing this right now, a day later, I am still very shocked. Over the years, even though their contact was few and far between, most people would have gotten the impression that my son and this friend of mine spent time together on a regular basis just by the way my son talked about him. This man can do no wrong in my son’s eyes, one time he even looked at me and said that he wanted to be just like him when he grew up.
Just before my son left on this vacation I told him that he wouldn’t be doing anything when he came back from the trip. I said that after the way he spoke so poorly to me that he was going to come back and think about his attitude and how he treats me. After my son returned from the trip, my friend called and let me know that my son was contacting him and telling him that he wanted to come over. Initially I wasn’t against the idea, but then I had to think about it especially after being reminded that I said he was staying home upon returning from the trip. I told my friend that I would think about it and that I’d call him back if I was going to drop my son off over there. Hanging up the phone I decided that my initial answer of yes had become a no. Likely because my friend pointed out in an oh so subtle way, the way of telling me I shouldn’t allow it without actually saying I shouldn’t allow it, that I shouldn’t back down when I had implemented a punishment. I find these types of situations really annoying, because I have this drive to do things for my son in an effort to keep him from being disappointed. (Really stupid and obviously there is a need there for therapy on that one. Probably something about how as his mother I’m over-attempting to make up for his lackluster paternal figure.)
What did I do? I ended up saying yes and taking him over there. I’m sure that my friend thought that I had been suckered once again, and I suppose that in a way I was, but my heart would just not let me say no to him. My son feels a strong connection to a man who seems to genuinely care about him. My son took time and picked him out a gift. My son told me that he loves my friend and that he wants to be like him when he grows up. My son actually looked at me and told me that he would appreciate (yes he used the word appreciate) it if I would let him go over there to see him and hang out with him for a little while. How could I possibly have thwarted the flow of those healthy loving emotions?
Picture Source: http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/greencolander/3203922211/