I would love to sit here and write that Beeswax and I have a wonderful ‘mother & son’ relationship but I cannot lie. Beeswax really finds trusting a mum unbearable and the relationship between us is complicated and strained. Waxy goes out of his way to try and prove that he doesn’t need or want a mum and it takes all my energy to not take it personally, but just when I thought communication between Beeswax and I would never improve, an unexpected savour comes to my rescue.
Beeswax’s birthday present – A mobile phone.
For a very long time now Beeswax has wanted a mobile phone and for us to trust him to go around to the local fields unsupervised. As his is now 12 years old we are feeling pressure from every direction to loosen the apron strings and although I know they are right, our reasons for resisting allowing him out of sight is complicated and probably a whole other blog post but for now I will say that the thought him roaming the streets unsupervised filled me with absolute dread.
Over the past year we have had several incidents with Beeswax running off in a fit of rage and we have had no way of contacting him to check he is ok. So we made the decision we would get him a mobile phone so at least when he does go off, I can contact him.
Last week Beeswax’s school was closed for a few extra days due to circumstances beyond their control and for Waxy this proved very distressing. Not only was his routine unexpectedly changed, but now he had to spend time at home with me without his dad or brother home – his worst nightmare! I saw it as an opportunity for me to spend time with him without any interruptions and give him some much needed one on one time.
Beeswax had other ideas or should I say he thought I had alternative motives and wound himself up so much that he was at risk of self-combusting and doing something he would regret.
Not wanting to push the issue with him or wanting to spend all day ‘treading on eggshells’, I suggested that while it was quiet and most of his peers would still be at school, maybe this was a good time for me to trust him to go around to the playing field on his own if he took his mobile with him. He almost bit my hand off at the idea and quickly sorted himself out before rushing out the door without a ‘bye or leave’. No more than 5 minutes later a text message from Beeswax came through to my phone and for the next 30 minutes text messages were flying back and forth between our phones. It didn’t take me long to work out that he was feeling nervous and completely out of his comfort zone. At the time my first thought was “I am so glad we got him unlimited texts otherwise this is going to cost me a fortune” but at the same time I was feeling quite warm and fuzzy.
He needed me to know he was feeling uncomfortable without having to admit it. He needed his mum to say he was OK and at the same time confirm that I hadn’t forgotten about him (as if I can ever do that with either of my boys and their BIG personalities).
Some of our dialogue went like this: –
Waxy: Mum did you just ring me?
Honey: No why?
Waxy: I thought I heard my phone ring and thought you were telling me to come back
Honey: No you have only just left. Have you got to the park?
Waxy: Yes but I thought you might be lonely and missing me.
Several emoticons and one worded messages followed for the next few minutes and then, picking up on his obvious discomfort and need for reassurance, I made the mistake of trying to emotionally connect with him and with that he quickly cut me short.
Honey: Are you OK?
Waxy: Of course, stop flapping. I am not a baby you know. I will meet you at Buzz’s school at home time.
I left it at that point, knowing that if I pushed the issue he would explode. I decided that I would leave a little earlier in order to meet him at the park before collecting Buzz and on route I ran into one of our neighbours who said that she noticed him over the fields and realised he was looking worried. She said he was glued to the park bench staring at his phone looking very anxious but the moment she asked him if he was ok or wanted to walk back with her, he insisted he was just replying to my incessant messages to him. She told me that she had to admit she had never seen this vulnerable side of Beeswax and suddenly she could understand why for so long we have said he was not ready.
At the beginning I said I cannot lie. Well, maybe I am not averse to using the odd ‘white lie’ when necessary. I knew Waxy would be annoyed if he thought I was checking up on him after the messages, so I told him that I was still on his school hour time and forgot that Buzz finished later. I don’t think for the minute he bought it, but he accepted my company for 5 minutes before walking over to Buzz’s school.
The fact that the moment I tried to show any concern for him he pushed me away again, I don’t care! For me what is important is that, at a time when he was feeling at his most vulnerable, I was the first person he contacted and sought reassurance from and that is something I thought I would never experience from him!
Ok some people may think: “He is a 12 year old boy, they never communicate anyway, he is just being normal”, and I so wish that this was the case, but he has always been like this and I really don’t blame him. I accepted a long time ago that we may never have the kind of ‘mother & son’ relationship that I had hoped for but at least for now we have a way to communicate between us without him feeling uncomfortable by having an intimate connection with me.
It has started me wondering. I cannot be the only mum who struggles getting their child to communicate with them.
How do others find a way over this hurdle?