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.

1 thought on “Putting Our Son Out There”

  1. Hi Karen,

    I have a question for you – In this post you mention you believe that your controlling nature has made your son timid. I, too, am a bit of a control freak, and I can see that I very well could be saying the same thing about my sons in ten years.

    What advice would you give to a controlling mom? or better yet, what advice would you give to your younger self, regarding your sense of control?

    I’m a relatively new reader of your blog, and I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your honesty in your writing.

    Thanks so much,
    Tanya 🙂

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