5/21/17 Journey On / College Bound – The Struggle From Boy to Man

So, I took a few years off from blogging – so much going on but never enough time.  Thus, the “Memoirs From a Single Mother Raising a Boy”.

When my son turned 13, testosterone really kicked in and the challenges (for both of us) were overwhelming.  The past four years have been rough on me for other reasons also.  My position at work changed and with the change, work became more demanding.  My challenges were adventurous at work and at home – each day I was trying to be everything for every situation.

Parenting always came first, but ages 13, 14, 15, and 16 gave me a run for my money – not because he was a difficult child, but because his transition through puberty proved hard for him and trying for me.  As a mother, it was difficult for me to watch my son struggle through the hormonal changes that he was going through.  To help him get through it, I Googled it, purchased books about it, talked to men and asked them to reflect back on their youth, etc.  My son was in denial, and he shut down – his demeanor changed, half the time he was angry and the other half he was super emotional.  Sometimes he would challenge my authority and the talking back was frustrating, but through it all, he never slacked off on his school work or his educational goals.  This was our roller coaster.

Even though my son’s  father chose to remove himself from my son’s life, it was during this “puberty” phase that I reached out to him – hoping he would offer insight (a male perspective) into what my son was going through (man to man, so to speak).    Things did not turn out the way that I had hoped, and honestly, I don’t know why I thought it would (wishful thinking).  So, we rode the roller coaster a little longer than we probably should have, but eventually – by the time my son was 17 years old – things started to get easier.

The hardest part for me has been trying to teach my son how to be a man (how to shave, how to be a gentleman, preparing him for safe sex, etc.).  At times I’ve been heart-broken because I’ve been guessing along the way, and he deserves better and so much more.

My son’s senior year in high school has been eventful – and very expensive.  People always told me it would be costly, but I think they should have been more direct/specific – senior year is a budget-buster!  I think it would have been easier to have a second (and third) job specifically for his “senior year”.  It was for financial reasons that I changed jobs after 29 years in one department – a need to afford his senior year and his college future.

Fast forward to senior prom and preparations for graduation.  In March, my son’s college goals came to fruition – he was accepted into an Ivy League university.  All of his hard work and dedication to his education paid off.  His new journey will take him thousands of miles away to the East coast, and I have no doubt that I will have a very hard time sending him off.  Last week, he got all decked out in a tuxedo for his prom, and for the first time, I saw the man in my little boy.  I am so very proud of him (beyond words), but the closer we get to graduation and the first day of college, the harder it is for me.

My struggles:

  • Have I done everything that I can do for him?
  • Is what I’ve done enough?
  • Was I successful in plugging up a part of the void?
  • Will he remember everything I’ve tried to teach him?
  • Will he be a better man than the example he had?

I’m certain that I am not the only parent that questions their parental efforts, but I’ve been afraid that there are voids in my son’s life due to his father’s absence and lack of interest.  My concerns are the effects this will have on my son’s personal relationships and his future desire/ability to be a “present” father in his own child’s life (if that day comes).

In three months, I will board a plane and fly my son to the opposite side of the country.  When I return home, I will be alone for the first time in 18 years.  The dog and I will walk around the house looking for him, missing him, and driving each other crazy.  It will be one of the hardest things that I have had to do, but I will hold on to my motto: If you’re going to pray, don’t worry.  If you’re going to worry, don’t pray.

Peace & Blessings