HELP! (As Good As It Gets)

     HELP! Somebody please! I’m looking at my son thinking, who is this person? He doesn’t look the same, feel the same, he’s changing. He’s not changing back. He’s gone forever, the little boy I fell in love with and I don’t know how to be a mother to this young man. He isn’t mine anymore. He doesn’t belong to me, curl up in me, take comfort in me. He says things that scare the shit out of me. Today it was a blatant homophobic reference (right out of his father’s mouth). Damn that douche bag. Nigger, faggot, fuck, God damn it!- God DAMN IT! I know where he gets the swear words from but Jesus, I’ve never NEVER encouraged the prejudiced shit that’s coming out of his mouth now. What the fuck? Where is he going? This little person I am so in love with is like a fading idea and he’s been replaced by this big footed, foul mouthed, dirty haired imposter that wears too much Axe. AXE for Christ sake! Like he’s some kind of Latino club kid. It’s NUTS. And scary. I’m just scared. I’m really scared. Because I can’t connect with him anymore. He stays in his room for hours playing Pokeman, which actually makes me feel better because that still feels like he’s a little boy but then I find out the YouTube videos he’s watching and I wonder, is he masturbating? building bombs? slitting his wrists??? What is wrong with me? Why do I listen to hyped up media shit, all the time? I know better. I work with other people’s kids. They are so much easier to deal with. I love high school kids the best. These middle school aged kids are just nuts. Absolutely bonkers and out of their brains. My son’s brain is mush, absolute mush. “Huh? What, no, Huh? I wasn’t paying attention”- that’s his answer for everything. Like duh! Wake up dead head, where’d your ears go to? And pick up after yourself damn it! I’m not going to follow you around with a mop and rag and then vacuum for you. Sorry, just not gonna do it. You know where the damn garbage pail is, go throw out your own left overs. And you can do some dishes for me too. As if. I’m angry and frustrated and I don’t know what to do with him. Or, and this is the worst!, I don’t know how to connect with him. I talk to him. I LOVE him. I hug him and he pushes me away. He refuses to kiss me. He argues over all of his clothes with me and, in all fairness, I really just want to make sure he’s wearing clean ones. My son could wear the same outfit for two weeks straight. He would if I let him. He doesn’t like to bathe. I mean, for God sake, BATHE!!! What is he thinking? Then he worries about people liking him. Well it’s a hell of a lot easier when you BATHE!!!! And brush your teeth. Seriously, pier pressure can encourage kids to try drugs (no, he hasn’t- thank God) , but not to brush their teeth? Oral hygiene people. I don’t know what to do. I want my baby back. And I don’t want to be left behind. Because he’s leaving me. Slowly. Everyday he goes further away and I’ve attached to him like no other. He’s been my entire life. And I know that’s the one thing no parent should burden their kids with. Our children are not responsible for our happiness. But I was so alone when I had him, so isolated. He became my everything. And I started to need him. In ways I shouldn’t have. I depended on him as my other half. He’s too big to allow it anymore. He doesn’t want any part of it. He doesn’t want any part of me. No, that’s not entirely true. And I know he loves me. But I hurt him in ways that I shouldn’t. Because I react in anger to his instigations. And I hate that he’s trying me. ME! His mom! Like, his only thing for so long. What is he thinking? And I hate it. I hate that he’s moving away from me. Even when we’re sitting right beside each other, I feel like I can’t reach him. And it terrifies me. Because I can’t guide him if I stay in this state I’m in. I can’t guide him the way I know he still needs to be guided. But it’s my fault, my reactions. I’ve made my son too important to me. I’ve allowed him to fill roles in my life that he should never have had to fill. He was not his father’s replacement. (And, Oh my God please don’t think I mean ANYTHING sexual by that! Really. God no.) Emotionally though I’ve placed my son at my heart’s center and allowed myself to rest on that as a pillar, a pillar that’s become a crutch. And I don’t want to be using my son as a crutch. I want him to prosper. I want to be his spring board, so he can dive into life, or lift off to the stars. I don’t want to be a weight around his legs. I’m not his God damn ball and chain. He’s not my husband. But I’ve let him become the man in my life and now it’s ripping me apart that I can’t reach him, connect with him. And it’s pain I know I deserve and need. Because I have to move on and he has to grow. And he’s my son, which means letting him go and watching him move away from me is part of my job. But how do I do that job when it hurts me so much? How do I do that job when I can’t even get his attention?
Jesus Michelle, exhale.
I miss the old him.
I’ve felt for a long time now that every year is a death and rebirth of character for him. He doesn’t stay the same person for long. He looks so different now though. So little remains of that little baby I loved. Some baby fat in his cheeks, but that’s all. Letting go is hard. I know that. And I know it’s necessary. But with middle school starting in two days, I want to NOT let go. I hated middle school. God. This is going to be a tough ride. I could get him through anything, except detaching from me. I really don’t know how I’m going to be able to facilitate that. I do need help. Like, advice and encouragement. He’s such a good boy. With such a bad attitude.
(Shaking my head)
     Here, this is what I mean. Because it’s something I have to show you and this comes pretty close to nailing this God Damn feeling on the head:

I’m crying my eyes out. Because it’s so real for me. And I can’t seem to escape myself. Because that’s all I want to do; to not have to see how much of my life I’ve missed to do what I could for my boy, you know, the one that doesn’t want anything to do with me anymore? I’ve made myself lonely. And now I’m all alone. And he doesn’t deserve this responsibility. And yet, there it is. I don’t know what to do. Because I know that I need more than a therapist, or a big-brother program volunteer, or a group therapy session. I need to open up a place I shut down and boarded up the day his father told me he didn’t love me. And I’m scared.
I’ve always felt grateful for the wonderful women God has given me, has put in my life. They’ve been mentors, teachers, motivators, saviors, friends. I did not have a mother like the character in this film; I am sure that was part of what was making me cry, the wishing I  had. But the others I’ve saught out, other women, strong ones, with spunk and fire, that have pushed me and inspired me all the way into this character I’ve become. And I like her. And she’s someone I’m proud of. But I don’t know how to share her with a man. Because the only man I’ve had in my life since my scary/funny dad that died twenty years ago, is this little boy, who has taught me everything I know about loving a boy. And I’m grateful for that. And I know that the universe gave him to me on purpose. Because of what I needed to know. And what I needed to unlock and reopen. But now he’s moving away from me. And I have to figure out how to apply these lessons to my life, not his, not ours. He’s had a lot of responsibility for a young man. He’s been homeless for Christ’s sake. Homeless. I haven’t been enough for him. He needs more, deserves more, and I get that he hungers to go looking for it. I’m glad he’s developing normally. But it hurts, finding myself alone again and responsible for my own happiness.  It’s  a rude awakening. And not one you expect from the tween years. Somebody else’s tween years. As if my own weren’t difficult enough to get through. The lessons I learned then prepared me for what? And now these lessons. All new and difficult because I didn’t realize I was still learning. I didn’t realize I was the student. Until today, when I felt this distance telling me my life had to change again. And I had to let it happen. Like it or not.

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