A few weeks ago, my son’s best friend came to live with us. The boys just started their freshman year at high school and Austin’s home life was quite volatile. Since he’s at our house quite a bit anyway, we decided to make it a permanent situation so that he can relax and focus on school.
I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about living with two teenage boys. At the onset, I created a chore calendar for the boys and explained a few rules, so that we all knew what to expect from one another and keep a peaceful and productive household.
One of my rules is that the boys call me after school to check in. We discuss after school plans and set a time to be home for dinner… pretty basic stuff. Then after dinner, the boys do their homework and their daily chore.
Well, it seems Austin wasn’t quite used to rules and “forgot” to call me after school one day. He stayed out until 11:00 PM, which is the legal curfew, but not mine. He also “forgot” to do a chore or two. After being grounded for a couple days and forfeiting his allowance, he started to “get it.”
During this time of adjustment for all of us, our household felt a bit cold. I didn’t feel like I could relax much. In fact, I felt like “cop-mom” and didn’t enjoy that. So, one day while grocery shopping, I decided to get the boys a treat. I put a Hershey’s bar on their pillows for an after school surprise. I don’t keep candy in the house, so for me, this is a big deal.
My son, who knows me well, went out of his way to thank me and gave me a big kiss. Austin said nothing. In fact, Austin rarely said much to me at all, and never a “thank you.”
I decided to let it go and released my expectations for any kind of gratitude from Austin. I knew that was my stuff and that motherhood can sometimes be a thankless job. “Get over it!” I told myself. I know enough to know that those expectations can be relationship killers and I’d rather keep the peace than build resentments.
But then came a miracle! Yesterday, I came home and found a Hershey’s bar on my night stand. It was from Austin…
This morning, while pondering all the things I’m grateful for and counting my successes, this one tops the charts. Success comes in all kinds of packages and sometimes when we’re so focused on our business success, we can miss the ones that really count.
Today, I’m grateful for Austin. His presence has commanded my maternal and parental attention that was slipping away, as my focus was primarily on business. I’m a better mother today because of him.
And the pendulum swings…