Putting Our Son Out There

cheers-face Morning peeps! How are you this fine Thursday?

Me? I’m doing great, thanks for asking.

I thought I’d update ya’ll on GD’s driving progress. We’ve been out five times now and he’s doing really well. He did take a corner a bit too wide yesterday and nearly smashed into a car (I believe he whispered “Sweet Jesus”, but I can’t be sure), but other than that, he hasn’t had any other near misses.

(Thank you God).

I’ve been taking him into traffic. Not on any busy streets, though I did accidentally steer him onto a main thoroughfare on our fourth lesson and he started hyperventilating, just a bit, but he handled it like a champ and it’s been smooth sailing ever since.

He’s not exactly thrilled with learning to drive, but he is handling it better than I thought he would.

I made a short video of us taking off for another lesson yesterday:

He’s coming along. He’s made a few mistakes, for instance, he put his right-turn blinker on, but turned left (it was on a side street and there was no one behind us). He really beat himself up over that mistake and that’s when I realized, my son is a perfectionist.

I can’t imagine where he gets that from. *ahem*

I have been very calm throughout this entire experience (so far). And it’s not because I’m not nervous (because dear God, I am), but because I know he feeds off of my reactions. And if I appear scared and nervous, then that will only add to his anxiety. And if I yell at him or make a big deal out of his mistakes, then it will only hinder this process, and I certainly don’t want to do that.

I told him I expected him to make mistakes. I told him that I didn’t expect him to be perfect and that in fact, he never would be. He would make mistakes, that’s a given, and that the true test of maturity was how he handled those mistakes.

He seemed to relax after I told him that. It was as if I gave him permission to be … human. And when I saw him visibly relax I wondered, just how much pressure had I been putting on the boy to BE perfect?

It was one of those clarifying MOM moments when I had no choice but to look myself in the face and accept my mistakes. I’ve made mistakes with GD – BIG, ugly mistakes that I’m not likely to ever forgive myself for and ones he will likely never forget. I blame myself for his timidity – I’ve been so controlling that the boy is used to having me do his thinking for him. I accept this. Now I’m just trying to figure out a way to correct that.

And I think that is one of the reasons I feel like I need to push him on this driving thing a little bit. He’s too afraid to take these major steps by himself. Again, my fault. So, I feel like it’s up to me to gently steer him into manhood.

I know there are people in my life who don’t agree with our decision to push GD into driving at this stage in his life (*looking at mom / MIL*), but I honestly would not be doing this if I didn’t think he was ready for the challenge. I just feel, I just know, in my heart, this is the right time for this. He has six months (maybe longer if he feels he needs the time) before he’s required to take his driving test. When that happens, he’ll be 17 and a Junior in high school.

This is just a tiny step to him growing up and we honestly feel like he needs to grow up – just a bit.

Kevin wants him to get a job this summer. And it’s not because of the money factor but largely due to the socialization factor. Let me explain:

Kevin’s aunt and uncle came into town this past week. He hasn’t seen his aunt and uncle in years. So, my sister-in-law hosted an impromptu dinner at her house so we could get together and chit-chat.

GD maybe spoke six words the entire time we were there. He sat with his back to the room most of the time, or he pulled out his DS and played, by himself, in a corner the entire time. He never tried to interact with his family and when they tried to interact with him, he gave monosyllable answers.

It was embarrassing. But not surprising.

Granted, GD is not a talker. He never has been a social person and will likely never be a social person; I get that, his family does not. They don’t understand him the way I do. They think he’s a dark, brooding sort of person and that’s simply not true – he just doesn’t know what to say to people. He’s shy, but it goes beyond that, I think. He’s just socially … awkward.

And that’s fine. I’m not exactly a social person either, but I can APPEAR to be when the occasion arises.

Kevin and I think he needs more public exposure, he needs an opportunity to interact with people and a job just might be the answer. He’s going to have to work eventually, shouldn’t this be the time he “practices” for that real job? For that life-long career?

Though I agree with the rationale behind the job argument, I’m not going to push it. After all, he IS only 16, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. But I’m not going to discourage it either, if he brings it up or takes the initiative. His cousin is one of his best friends, and he’s graduating this year. The plan is for him to move back down here to live with his dad and get a job, so it’ll be interesting to see how his life affects GD’s life. I already think that’s one of the reasons he’s okay with this driving thing – because his cousin is learning to drive, and all of his friends are learning to drive. I don’t think he wants to be left out (he doesn’t like to be the only one NOT doing what his friends are doing).

So, we’ll see how it goes. Kevin thinks a job will be just the thing GD needs to make him grow up and I’m wondering if that would be pushing him too far too soon.

Aargh, it’s so hard to be a parent at this stage. The rules are blurry and it’s so hard to know just how much to interfere.

All I know, right now, is to concentrate on helping him become comfortable with this whole driving thing. I can’t think too far into his future because it sort of freaks me out.

This could be yet another mistake – only time will tell.


Reflections: Early Religion

This was originally published on my self-hosted blog, May 18, 2006.

From time to time, I’ll be recording thoughts and events from my childhood. These memories are prompted from the Reflections from a Mother’s Heart – Your Life Story in Your Own Words. I plan on filling this book out one of these days to pass onto my children. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds the lives of our parents fascinating. It’s weird to think of my parents as children and it’s really fun to hear stories about their past, how they met, etc. If my children read about my past, perhaps they will understand me just a little better.


Were you baptized or dedicated as an infant?

No. I felt guilty for not being baptized for years. I thought that even though I was saved, I would somehow not get into heaven because I hadn’t been baptized.

(Of course now, I realize that with the birth of Christ, it’s no longer necessary to be baptized in water, but rather, we are baptized in Holy Spirit).

When did you first go to church? What are your earliest memories of church?

Oh wow. This one is a doozy. The first memory of church was when mom sent me and my sister to Sunday school on a bus. I absolutely hated it. I. hated. every. single. minute. Then it seems mom and dad (did dad go? Hmm..I can’t remember) would meet us for “big” church. You know, when the adults all gathered in the auditorium and had to sit still for a few hours. It was torture on a kid. I remember drawing, doodling and maybe even writing though I’m unsure if I was really into that back then.

I don’t remember a lot about Sunday school, in fact, I don’t remember anything about Sunday school so it must not have left very much of an impression on me. I do remember riding that bus though and resenting my parents for making us go because I hated having to get up that early, putting on uncomfortable clothes and then riding on a bumpy, smelly bus to church. (I was a HUGE night owl back then and getting up before noon on non-school days was unheard of).

I can’t remember exactly how old I was when we started to church but it was probably somewhere in the eight or nine stage. My sister is three years younger than me so I must have been at an age that mom felt I could take care of her.

I will NEVER forget the times I would sit in the big church and listen to the preacher drone on and on about how we were all sinners and there was no way we were going to get into heaven if we didn’t repent our sins, and often. Not only that, but every time we did or said something ungodly, that would mean we were no longer “good Christians” and would never see those pearly gates. I was following along in the bible, reading the passages he was quoting when he stopped reading and began to elaborate on what we just read. I listened with half an ear as I continued to read the verses in the bible. Something just clicked and I sat bolt upright.

Wait a minute, I thought to myself. What he’s saying and what it says in the bible are two different things. I started to listen more closely from that point on and time and time again, the preacher was incorrect in his interpretation. At least, from what I gathered from the context of the bible. I wanted to say something to my mom, but judging by the blank stares on everyone’s faces I didn’t think what I had to say would be heard anyway, let alone believed.

I remember feeling great disgust. How could these adults, who were supposed to know better, NOT put two and two together! How could they so blindly turn an eye and accept a false definition of what the bible was saying? Now I was only a child and I certainly didn’t understand everything at that time (heck, I still don’t), but I knew enough to know that what the preacher was preaching about and what the bible said were two totally different things. In fact, I couldn’t figure out why the preacher concentrated so much on the hell and damnation part of the bible when a lot of the passages he quoted were in fact, uplifting and hopeful. (Assuming of course anyone chose to read the entire context of the verse and not pick and choose at random and assign a totally irrelevant meaning).

I think I lost some respect for adults from that point on. If our PREACHER was wrong, could this mean that my parents were wrong about some things? Children tend to look up to adults about a number of things and it’s a sobering revelation when it’s figured out that adults are human and make mistakes. It’s as if the whole world perspective shifts in some way and suddenly, the blinders have been taken off and we can see things for what they really are. We no longer rely on someone telling us the sky is blue, we want to make sure that’s true before accepting it. At least, that’s how I felt. I realize a lot of people never get to that point and are perfectly willing to go through life believing people and what they tell them.

Not me. I’m a leader, not a follower and that experience in church taught me a lot. I can honestly say that was a pivotal moment in my life and I matured emotionally from that point on.

Have I been back to church since then? No. I’ve been in church a few times for weddings and funerals, and only a FEW times to actually listen to a preacher preach. But once again, and now more fully aware of what’s going on around me, I was totally skeptical and unwilling to accept a man’s personal interpretation of the bible. I didn’t have the answers, but I sure as heck knew that these men of God didn’t have it right.

I’ve since learned about correctly dividing and intrepreting the word and that everything in the bible is a “hand that fits in a glove.” To truly understand the bible, one must be willing to understand the context and culture in the time period it was written. The old testament is for our learning; everything past Acts 2 applies to us specifically – the Grace Administration. Don’t believe me? Look it up. Need further proof? Visit this site and research it. The bottom line? Think for yourself and don’t blindly take a man’s word over what is written in black and white (and sometimes red *grin*). The bible is a handbook for humans – if you want peace and happiness in your life, follow the rules. It’s that simple.