Thursday, July 28, 2011

Holding my hand

When does a typical child become embarrassed by his parent?

I found myself asking this question a couple years ago, coming to the conclusion that the answer is probably relative to each child. Generally speaking, however, I think it happens once they enter grade school. Thoughts?

Both of our children love their mom. I am a wonderfully fortunate mother. I get lots of kisses at home. Our younger son tells me he loves me more times a day than I can track. And, our older son could sit and smooch my cheek until the sun sets.


One morning when our older son was seven, he had experienced a slow start to his day. Not wanting to start things off on the wrong foot, I canceled his bus and opted to give him a slower start to the day and then drove him into school a little later. The parking lot sat to the side of the school. I collected his bags and helped him from the car, and, naturally, grabbed his hand to hold as we walked the lot toward the front of the building.

However, on this day, our son dropped my hand as we rounded the corner to the front of the school. He was so quiet and unassuming about it, that I thought perhaps his hand had slipped. We usually held hands everywhere we went--for safety reasons and also because, well, he's my son!

So, I gently picked his hand back up and clasped it in mine and continued to walk forward. It wasn't long before my hand was dropped again. There was no doubt. He did not want to hold my hand.

As it turned out, every morning that week, our son had trouble making his bus, and, well, I didn't really mind because I had an important social experiment to conduct. What was with the hand holding?????

Every day I tested a new theory. My results? Holding hands with mom was fine in the side parking lot to the school. It was not okay once we rounded the corner to the front of the building, and it most certainly was NOT okay once we entered the front doors to the school.

I was elated.

Yes, I was overjoyed. What a glorious, magnificent, most TYPICAL response our older son was having to his mother at perhaps an appropriate age and stage in his life!!! HOT DOG! The kid met a developmental stage, and even though it involved separation from me, I was thrilled!!!!

Development is a blessing.

It was that same year when our younger son entered kindergarten that he pulled back as well. I seem to recall he would hold my hand as we entered his school, a different building from his brother's. However, when I one day dropped him off late and leaned down to kiss him good-bye in his classroom, I was met with an embarrassed child and a cold shoulder.

My boys were growing up. :)

Today, our ten-year-old fights with us if we try to touch him in public. Still a flight risk, he is insulted if we grab his hand to cross the street, hold onto his shoulder to keep him tame in a crowd or even snatch the back of his collar/shirt just to let him know we are keeping an eye on him. He is independent. He is ten. Things are as they should be. And, when so much else is not as it should be, it is wonderful to celebrate the little things.

When asked, our younger son just told me that I embarrass him when I try to hold his hand in public. Hahaha. Good. I'm proud of him for recognizing that I'm old and uncool.

I realize it will be many years, but I look forward to the time when they decide that I'm not as bad as they once thought.

1 comment:

  1. Raising kids is such a bittersweet adventure. We want to hold them close and we want them to grow away. We want to be their favorite person forever, yet we ultimately want to take a back seat to the person who we hope will walk with them for the remainder of their days.

    Luckily, that purposeful separation in childhood gives way for a renewed willingness to declare that they love their mommies. It takes a while and before it arrives, there's a bit of parental invisibility, but it does return. Much more sweet than bitter. :O)