Sunday, May 15, 2011

i think my son hates me

i saw your face when you walked away and it broke my heart.

i know you're disappointed. i know you're upset. i know you think it's not right. but it has to be this way.

in your mind, we're overreacting. you probably think we've forgotten what it's like to be your age. that we don't trust you. that nothing could go wrong. 

but this is a crazy world. one in which unimaginable things happen. one in which "it could never happen to me" just happened in our own family.

and so we overprotect. we keep you close. we put limits on your freedom. and now that you're thirteen you hate that.

because you think your friends can do what they want. and you think that everyone else is doing it. and you think that our rules are stupid, and crazy and not fair. 

i remember being like you when i was growing up. thinking there were too many restrictions. wondering why i had a father so unlike all the others. wondering why these parenting rules applied only in our house and rarely in the lives of anyone else i knew.

my dad would answer the phone when our friends would call us after 9pm (yes, really...9pm) and ask if they knew what time it was. when they answered yes, he would tell them, "good, then you know it's too late to be calling our house!" and he would hang up on my them. and i didn't get to call them back. until the next day. and it embarrassed me.

and when i would have someone come over for a sleepover my dad insisted on meeting the parents. he would rush out to the cars before they drove away and introduce himself. he didn't care that the other parent was fine without knowing who he was but he wasn't fine with it. and so out he would go. and embarrass me. again.

when he dropped me off for school each morning he would give me a kiss. just like when i was five and in kindergarten. it didn't phase him that now i was a teenager and too old for that. it didn't phase him that people might see me kissing my dad and make fun of me. it didn't even phase him that he would say "i love you" and expect me to say it back. nothing phased him. but it phased me. and more importantly, it embarrassed me.

on my first date  i had to provide make, color, and LICENSE PLATE NUMBER of the vehicle i was going in. "are you kidding," i asked my dad, "who does that?"  my dad did that. and so off i went. outside. before my date. to write down the information. i was sure he'd never ask me on a second date and my life would be over. and i thought i would die. because of everything he did, i think that embarrassed me the most.

growing up i thought my dad was way too strict. that he was way too old-fashioned. that he had no clue. but i was wrong. though i hated it then, i'm glad that my dad was the way he was. 

all those friends he hung up on are still my friends to this day. all those friends who slept over my house, loved my father and loved spending time there. my senior year, a friend who saw my dad drop me off for school everyday, told me she was jealous because she wished she had such a good relationship with her dad. 

and that first date, when i thought i would die of embarrassment? i married him. and he became your father.

i never knew that being a parent would be so hard. that i would have to make choices that you didn't like or agree with because i knew they were the right choices to make. and though you won't know for YEARS that everything i did was because i love you and want the best for your life, i hope for now you won't think i embarrass you too much.

because i'm not doing it on purpose. 

i promise.


  1. oh Colleen!... boy did this hit home! It is so hard to stick to saying no and then following through. I thank GOD for the times I stuck to my guns and though it was hard, I do feel like it was the right choice. My mom is laughing right now, I just know it!

  2. Colleen this is so good. Reminds me that the reason I'm a parent it to lead and love....and some of that might not be popular. But I do it anyway because I love her and though she may not understand now, she'll thank me later.

  3. kelli...the following through is the hardest but like you, i thank God for the times when i do!!!

  4. anna...being a people pleaser i think that's the hardest-to know i won't be popular. but i love my boys more than anything and though they won't always be pleased, they will always be loved!!!

  5. I always told our daughter, Hannah, that it was my job as her father to embarrass her. I'm sure she could have choked me a thousand times.

    If I was trying to protect her, take care of her, or make sure she turned into a responsible, and she hated me for it, I always told her that was ok - I'd get therapy & get over it in about 30 yrs.

    iow, somedays our children are gonna think & feel all the things we thought about our parents.

    btw, the therapy was worth it, although the shock treatments hurt a lot.

    you might wanna know that Hannah is an amazing godly woman. Thank goodness she got her spirituality from her mother. If she'd gotten it from me, she be doing hair in prison as an inmate!

    She's also 18 months away from being a PhD in History at UGA, & was the Teaching Assistant of the year for UGA for the last 2 years. I think she turned out ok.

  6. I remember how many times I cried myself to sleep because my daughter (who was my "bestest buddy") hated me. She "hated" me for all the reasons your son is acting like he's "hating" you. I went from being the most fun, informative, coolest, smartest mom in the whole world to having her eyes roll in her head every time I said something. I remember when she was so upset with me because she had to do chores before going to the beach with her friends that she didn't talk to me all weekend. But you know what? I remember when she called me from college and said.. "I can't believe how many of these people don't know how to wash clothes" or "No one here cleans up after themselves"... I could go on and on. It is those awful teenage years when you went from Mommy of the Year to Mom... the pain. But you know what, one day after her first year in college, my daughter, home on spring break brought a bunch of her friends to spend the break in Fort Lauderdale. I was in the kitchen preparing some food when she came up to me, gave me a huge hug and said "I can't believe how mean I was to you back are my bestest buddy". Gosh, I'm tearing up now just like I did then. It will get better...until then, just remember, it's part of being a parent. You are his mom...and what a great mom you are. :o)

  7. Thanks so much for writing this! It's difficult when our children "hate" us! You are such an inspiration! Love ya lots!


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