Unlike your friends, it is actually my duty to assist you in growing up to be a human worth knowing. There will be times that you fight me on this, but in the end you will look back and know that I chose to entitle you in ways that defy the group thinking you were constantly exposed to.
Like the time you thought a kid at your school was so "lucky" to be dropped off in a fancy car and I asked you to think not about that car, but is this child lucky in the life he has at home. Is he loved and cared for by his family? That's a big thought for a child, I know. Yet I have raised you to always think bigger than the value of a car being equal to how you are valued by those entrusted with your care and upbringing.
And you know what? You get it. You really get it. I know this because teachers, strangers, parents tell me all the time how wonderful, thoughtful and smart you are. That is the only measure of success I need. The only one you should ever need.
So, while we will always have days where we declare it junk food and movies or I let you stay home from school for a just you and me day, I'm still not your friend. Those things are spontaneous rewards of appreciation as I deem fit and not "prizes" for being good in a grocery store. As if...
Your father and I spoil you in ways that show you the pride we feel as a result of your effort to be the very best version of yourself.
- We have taught you to see people for who they are. Sometimes you're still a little too trusting or judgmental, but you're working on it.
We tell you that life isn't fair and to find ways that work for you. You always figure something out -- go you! We tell you that the color you ended the school day with does not define who you are. You finally stopped obsessing about it in third grade, by the way. We tell you to try and don't care if it brings home a ribbon or trophy. Seriously, you're in grade school. Be a kid. Be messy and loud with your friends and say gross boy things. So what if you got ninth place at Science Olympiad. It was a fun day, right? We ask you to be kind to strangers (even mean ones). Remember the time you stood up to the bully pushing your friend around and the time you shared your lunch with the kid who didn't have one. To be honest, I'd rather you get a "ribbon" for that. We say "I told you so" when you blow all your money on that thing you just had to have and then remember you really, really wanted a video game too. Sorry, you knew your budget. Not sorry that you didn't sleep on it as advised. We tell you no when you say, "But I have 10 dollars at my dad/mom's house. I'll pay you back on Tuesday." Would that work at Target? Nope, so it doesn't work with me. We say yes to all of the things that light you up. You've been building amazing Lego creations since the age of three. Your first therapist (after the divorce) even exclaimed that she saw you do things at 3 years old that most 10-year-olds couldn't do. We will drop $50.00 on that before $2.00 on crap from the dollar store. You know it's crap, but you love your toy guns that fall apart after a day. Of course you get mad and can't believe it's broke, until I remind you of its quality. Then you tell me that I'm right. We never let you win. See your friends might do you a solid because they feel like things have to be fair in the group. No such luck at home though. I beat you in checkers about 200 times before you learned how to win. I didn't let you choose a different card or roll again in board games. Sorry pal, that's not how we roll.We make you responsible for your home. Picking up your room is nothing. You want dinner when you're hungry? Then you must empty garbage cans, clear your plate from the table, carry grocery bags and bring the laundry basket to me when I ask you to. Minus any sass of course.
I remember when you were little and you'd get mad because I'd said no. You'd tell me, "I'm not your friend anymore." I laughed and told you, "Good, because I'm not your friend. I'm your mom. We will be friends later."
Lisa Schmidt is a Post-Divorce Coach for Women in Detroit and the creator of Ex-Wife to New Life. Questions can also be sent to her directly Ask Lisa Here Or, pick up a copy of her free eBook "Divorce Your Story. Marry Your Truth - Navigating Your Post-Divorce World" HERE