Friday, January 5, 2007

Making Peace

I have struggled from time to time with the whole custody issue regarding my son. I have faced this with mixed emotions. Until yesterday, when a friend of mine put it in perspective for me.

Bo is 13, and he’s the only male living in a predominantly female invironment. 13 is a tough age for anyone, it’s exceptionally difficult for a 13-year-old guy living with him mom and sisters. He has no one there who understands him, no one he can relate to, talk to, and we just annoy him with our girly girl stuff.

For whatever the reason (and there are plenty, all of them suspect at best) his father wants custody of him. And I have struggled with that. I know that Bo has been unhappy at my house, and it will only continue to get worse as he gets older. I don’t know how to relate to him, and he doesn’t know how to talk to me. So, when this came up I faced it with conflicting thoughts.

My first thought was FIGHT. Fight this, because what kind of mother gives her child away, even just to his father? I wanted to fight this because, well, I wanted to fight. But I soon realized that wasn’t good for Bo, or for the girls or me actually.

My second thought was, if I don’t fight, would he think that I just gave him up, and abandoned him? Will he think I don’t love him as much as I love the girls? I fought for the girls, and won, why didn’t I fight for him?

Then I got this email from a friend of mine. She said Boys are tough to deal with when they get to the age of Bo. You have done a good job so let someone else deal with the difficult teenage years. And that’s what I needed to hear to make peace with the whole situation.

Bo really does want to live with his father. I think it’s because his dad has all the cool game systems, movies, computers and it’s a regular frat house over there. And that’s fine for a while, but eventually it will wear on him. Eventually his father will have to step up and become the disciplinarian and there will have to be rules established and followed. The fun and games of the honeymoon won’t last forever. Real life will set in.

I have been the primary home, primary parent, the disciplinarian in Bo’s life for 13 years. But now we’re knocking on the teen years, the difficult years. Isn’t it time someone else had a turn? Let someone (his father) step up and do the hard work, handle the difficult years. Let him fight the fights with teenage Bo, let him worry about the dates, the curfews, the phone calls, the homework, the baseball practices, football practice. Let him be the parent, the disciplinarian. Let him be/do all that I have been/done for the past 13 years.

And I will now get to be the Fun house, the Fun parent. I will only have him for short periods of time, so now it can all be fun. There won’t need to be fights, or arguments. My house will now be the fun house. And now, I can enjoy my time with my son, without always having to ride his ass about homework, grades, whatever.

That’s not to say I won’t care, and I won’t take an active interest in his life. I just don’t have to be the primary disciplinarian any more. I don’t have to be the perpetual bad guy. I can now, relax, and enjoy my son, and get to know him without the stress and drama that comes with the parent/teenager relationship.

Still, it’s not easy to let him go, but I think in the end it’s better for him. It will improve our relationship, and it will give his father an hands on idea what it means to be a full time parent. (He’s so clueless)

I am finally making peace with this decision. It’s been a slow process, but I think I’m getting to the point where it’s not so bad, and it’s really the best thing for everyone involved.

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