MILF

“Mr. Pannell asked me to participate in your school’s career day.”

“Noooooooo!” said my 15-year-old son. He was visibly annoyed.

“Why not? I want to do it.”

“Mom, no! I’ll talk to Mr. Pannell in the morning.”

“No, you’re not gonna talk to anyone because it’s something I want to….” My son cuts me off abruptly.

“Do you know that you’re a meme in my school?”

“What? A what?” I was a little confused.

Blake was getting more annoyed by the moment. “You do know what a meme is, don’t you?” He said while rolling his eyes.

“Of course I know what a meme is. How am I a meme? That doesn’t even make sense.”

He sighed, “All my friends think you’re hot. You’re like the Mom with the body. I don’t want you around my friends.”

“Well, aren’t you happy you have a hot Mom? I mean…” I trailed off as he interrupts me again.

“No, I don’t! No!” with that final statement my 15-year-old walks away.

I’m left standing there a bit befuddled thinking to myself, “What just happened? Is this kid for real?”

This was a conversation that took place last week between me and my 15-year-old son, Blake, who attends an all-boys private school. A few days later I posted the conversation on Facebook as my status update and my friends, for the most part, were amused, and to tell you the truth I am a little amused by the entire thing myself. My Facebook friends, who are all people I know in real life, most of them even know Blake personally, started to weigh in on whether or not I should participate in Career Day.

The opinions were split down the middle, 50% who gave their point of view believe I should adhere to Blake’s wishes and not participate in Career Day, some of which were my male friends indicating that I just wouldn’t understand since I am not driven by testosterone and raging hormones. The other 50% were of the opinion that Blake will always have to deal with his “Mama being hot” so I should indeed attend and Blake will just have to get over it.

My take on the matter is that I should go, for several reasons, the main one being that I can motivate and inspire by giving a talk to young, impressionable minds on the benefits of entering the legal profession. These days we never know where someone’s inspiration can come from and I think it would be a wonderful thing if I am able to reach even one student and inspire said student to one day apply to Law School.

I mean, to this day, I remember the lawyer I met while I was in high school that made me want to become an attorney. Well, I didn’t really “meet” her, she was in the bank conducting business, where I was waiting on my father while he too conducted business in the same bank. This woman was striking and fierce, as I eavesdropped on her conversation with the banker, I realized that she was a lawyer. She was well-spoken and polished, and she had the bank employees eating out of the palm of her hands. She had a commanding presence, and I remember thinking, “Damn, I wanna be like her when I grow up.” 😃 That was the moment when the seed of becoming a lawyer was planted into my brain. Obviously, there were several other circumstances, over the course of the following years, that made my determination to become an attorney a growing ambition but it started in the Cross Roads Branch of the National Commercial Bank in Jamaica.

I get it, teenagers are going to ogle. Blake is uncomfortable with his friends ogling. He probably ogles his friends’ moms too. It’s life, maybe even a rite of passage for teenage boys, if you will. I don’t know – I have never been a teenage boy – but what I do know is that Blake needs to get over himself and stop telling me what to do. As it stands, I am forbidden from attending his basketball games because his friends “look at me and talk about me”. Really?! My son plays Center for the Junior Varsity team for his school and I am so proud of him for even making the team and now I am not permitted to go cheer him on because he is “uncomfortable”. Mind you, my husband is allowed to attend the games but I cannot.

I have gotten to the point where I want to tell my 15-year-old to get over himself and his discomfort. My patience is wearing thin with him and this foolishness. I will respect his stance on the basketball games (even though I did sneak into one of the games a couple of weeks ago) because it is a mere social activity, but I was invited by a faculty member to participate in Career Day and I think it is very important that I attend.

One of my very good friends from Law School, a male, has been advocating for Blake all week. He has even sent me private messages saying I should sit this one out. He totally understands Blake’s “plight” since he “was once a teenager with a hot Mom too”. He says it “can be a lot for a young man to deal with”. My response to that is the fact that I have to sit out the basketball games and now he wants me to sit out Career Day, it would seem as if Blake wants me to sit out the remainder of his teenage years. My former Law School buddy promises that “it will get better” as Blake “matures”; but what if it doesn’t? Should I really wait for Blake to get over his “discomfort”? His teenage years will be over in the blink of an eye. He’ll be going off to University in just 2.5 more years. Am I to miss out on the limited time I have left with him, as my child in my house, because of such unbelievable nonsense?

I asked my husband, Greg, the neutral party and always the go-between for me and Blake, what he thought of the entire situation. He supports my perspective and thinks Blake should learn to start properly handling the situation instead of giving his friends too much of a voice. Greg states that in years to come when Blake’s buddies are all adults, he will still have friends that ogle me because some dudes are just “disrespectful” like that and Blake needs to learn as early as possible how to handle those “friends”, the sooner he learns, the better. Blake’s advocate disagrees with Greg and believes “friendships are important at any age, that life is never easy for teenage boys and young men, who go through a lot and are oftentimes told to put on a brave face and act tough because society expects them to”. According to my Law School buddy, what all young men need is “those they love to listen and understand their point of view”.

Now, I am at the point where I am going back and forth in my mind about this situation. I love my son, obviously, and want to make him happy, but for me, this shouldn’t even be a discussion. Like seriously, back in my day, my brother wouldn’t dare tell my mother not to show up to his school for Career Day, there wouldn’t have been a discussion. Hot mom or not.

According to my husband, the situation could be worse, the situation could have been such that he was being teased for having an unattractive mom. One that no one wanted to look at. Despite, the disagreement among my Facebook friends on the topic, the general consensus is that I ought to be “proud” that I am a hot Mom and that this is a “good” problem to have.

I have verbally agreed to participate in Career Day but I still haven’t handed in my formal notice of participation yet. Career Day isn’t until mid-March so I do have some time to think about it. I would love to hear your take on the matter. Should I go or not? What’d you think?

My Boy!

It’s that time of the year when we string the lights, decorate the tree, bake cookies, drink too much eggnog and overeat; but before we do all of that I’d like to first acknowledge the human who gave my life added purpose. My life always had meaning but I got a swift kick in the behind to make sure I do it right 15 years ago today when my obstetrician handed me a 10 lb bundle and said, “Here he is. What’d you think?”

Honestly, my first thought wasn’t, “Oh my gosh, he’s so precious. I’m in love.” Instead, my very first thought was, “Who’s baby is this? This kid doesn’t look like me. Why is he so light?”

I quickly got over the lack of resemblance when I took a closer look at the nose. Yep, he was mine alright, that nose is unmistakable. Blake didn’t scream or cry when he first got here, instead, he just stared, he actually seemed to look around the room, observing his new surroundings. Fifteen years later and by golly he still does the same thing, I’m always in awe when I watch him carefully observe his surroundings instead of just walking right in.

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My next thoughts as I held him was “What do I do now? What I am I supposed to do with him now?” Blake seemed to read my mind as he nuzzled against my chest and started searching, he found his food supply, latched on and went to town, pulling and sucking and feeding hungrily. Damn, that shit hurt!

It’s been 15 years and Blake’s appetite has not changed. He still has a voracious, healthy appetite. The kid will eat anything.

It’s astounding how much Blake’s current persona mirrors my labor experience. I was scheduled to deliver the baby on December 4th, which I thought was kind of cool since it was rapper Jay-Z’s birthday; but Blake had other plans and arrived at 12:06 am the next day. He was not to be rushed and to this day, he still does things on his own terms and refuses to be rushed or cajoled into anything, which can be both good and bad.

My labor was fairly painless, I had a surge of pain for a few minutes, called for the epidural, which I had initially thought I wouldn’t want since I always saw myself as an Amazonian natural labor type of girl but when that indescribable pain ripped through me and I wasn’t dilated enough to push I quickly called for the epidural in order to get some kind of relief. Honestly, the only pain I felt during labor wasn’t more than about 15 minutes but it was the longest 15 minutes of my life.

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Similarly, raising Blake, luckily, has been rather painless. Yeah, there are the usual ups and downs that come with parenting but thankfully he has made it relatively easy for me. The disappointments and WTF moments have been few and far between and for that, I am eternally gratefully.

Does he make me repeat myself too much? Sure! One day I decided to count how many times I had to tell him to clean his room before he actually cleaned it and it turned out to be 8 times, all of 8 times before I had to threaten him with the wrath of God in order to get him moving.

I am in sheer disbelief at how lazy my teenager can be. Like, seriously, how hard can it be to put your clothes in the laundry basket when you take them off instead of tossing them on the floor; and how many times do I have to tell my child to make his bed before he leaves for school in the mornings and for God’s sake why won’t he hang his wet towel back in the bathroom after he has used it instead of throwing it on his unmade bed?

The kid is as loving as he is lazy so even though I bitch at him to clean up after himself I still get all the hugs and kisses and “I love you” that I can handle despite him being at that age where it isn’t considered cool to do so.

It has been a tumultuous, loving, exasperating, sweet, mind-boggling and beautiful 15 years of motherhood. Blake was sent here to get me out of my comfort zone, the one where everything I did I got it right and was so self-assured and confident about all my endeavors. Motherhood has had me second guessing every decision I have ever made. Am I doing it properly? Am I getting it right? Am I too strict or am I too lenient? Should I impose a weekend bedtime or allow him to stay up as late as he wants as long as he gets all his homework done? Should I have the password to his phone? Or should I allow him his privacy?

It’s crazy that after all these years together, I am still not sure if my parenting method is correct. I figured by the time I got to child #2, I would have had it all figured out but it is obvious that child # 2 is not happening. Growing up I always thought I was going to have a few kids of my own, at least 3 or 4, but as faith would have it that was not in the cards. However, every day I thank my lucky stars that since I only got one I am thankful it’s this one. I couldn’t have picked a more ideal kid that compliments my own personality.

Blake is not perfect but he’s perfect for me. Happy Birthday to the biggest reality check I’ve ever experienced. The kid keeps me on my toes in a such a crazy, weird yet fantastic way. Not only do I love him but I like him too.

Here’s to Big Blake! My 6′ 2 15-year-old who makes me oh so proud to be his Mom.

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Mothering from the Sidelines

The phone rang while I was driving and because of the capabilities of Bluetooth I was able to answer. It was Blake, my fourteen-year-old son, and he sounded excited.

“Guess what?” he said.

“What?” I asked.

“Two girls asked for my number today.” My son had just started summer school a few days ago so I could only imagine that these two girls were from the summer program.

“No way? You serious? Did you give it to them?” I was excited too.

“Yup”, he quipped cheerily.

The rest of the conversation, which in totality lasted less than 2 minutes, only gave a tad bit more insight into the situation. As I presumed, the girls were part of his Algebra summer class, and he had only just met them the day before. When I tried to probe a bit further he abruptly ended the conversation by asking me to bring him something to eat when I was on my way home.

As I drove I was flooded with bittersweet feelings. My baby, my only baby, was growing up. He was now excited about girls; well to tell you the truth he had been excited about them since he was a toddler, but they were now finally being responsive. A part of me, the Cool Mom part wanted to high-five him as soon as I walked through the front door, then another part of me, the Mama Bear part, was terrified of him getting his hopes up and getting hurt. Then there was the other part of me, the serious, no-nonsense Mother part, that was thinking he is totally not ready for this yet, he is only 14 years old. He is still too young for all the emotional stuff that liking teenage girls come with. I remember thinking, “Holy shit! Is Blake about to go out on his first real date?” I sighed to myself, how was I going to handle this one.

My thoughts went back to his past crushes – they both crushed him. The first was when he was in Nursery School, yes you read right, Nursery School, he wasn’t more than three years old, maybe even two years old; when he came home and announced that he had a girlfriend and her name was Grace. I asked him exactly what he meant by girlfriend and he explained that she was pretty, and he really liked her. Well, that crush lasted for years, Grace’s mother and I would constantly joke about it. I remember when he got invited to Grace’s 5th birthday party and insisted that he wanted to bring her flowers for her birthday. At the time my son was only a mere 4 years old and I couldn’t understand how he knew that buying a girl flowers was a romantic gesture. I suggested we buy her a doll as a birthday gift instead and even though he agreed with the doll suggestion he still insisted on bringing her flowers, as well. I remember trying to purchase a little fake potted plant arrangement for Grace and Blake wasn’t having it. He insisted that I buy real flowers. “Girls like real flowers, Mom, you know that.” I was amazed and pleased; I seemed to be raising a gentleman.

A little after her 5th birthday Grace got tired of Blake and started crushing on another boy, Eric, from their Pre-K class. She proceeded to tell Blake that her father said she wasn’t old enough to have a boyfriend and then promptly ran off into the sunset with Eric. Needless to say, my kid’s heart was broken. He handled it well though and pretended for years that he was never in love (I’m using this term tongue in cheek, of course) with Grace and forgot girls even existed until he landed in the 2nd grade and met Emma.

Emma was physically different from Grace. She was tiny, while Grace was tall, closer to Blake’s height. During their three years at Nursery School, Grace was always the tallest girl in the class and Blake was always the tallest boy. Grace was dark with an exotic type of look to her while Emma, on the other hand, was a pale, simple beauty. Clearly, my son did not have a type, which is good. When I asked him why he liked Emma he matter-of-factly stated that she laughs at his jokes. Of course! That made me smile.

The crush on Emma started in the 2nd grade and continued until the second semester of the 4th grade. During that time, Emma would always get a Valentine from Blake. He always reminded me the day before Valentine’s Day to take him to the store, so he could purchase a Valentine balloon along with a Valentine sticker for Emma. I thought the entire thing was cute and I encouraged it. He never got a Valentine from Emma though, but she would still laugh at his jokes and play with him during recess. Not sure where my eight-year-old wanted this crush to go but one morning in the 4th grade, after a two and half-year attempt at courtship, my son finally sent Emma a note with the following words:

“Dear Emma. I like you. Do you like me? Check the right box”. Underneath those words were 3 boxes and each box had a word next to it. Next to the first box was the word “Yes”, next to the second box was the word “No” and next to the third was the word “Maybe”. Well, Emma, as smart a girl as she was, did not check any of the boxes but instead wrote back at the bottom of note – “I have a boyfriend. His name is Liam”.

I found that note while cleaning out his book bag, not entirely sure how long after it was written that I found it, but I had a habit of cleaning out the junk from his book bag every 2 weeks. He looked so melancholy when I asked if he wanted to talk about it. Aw man, my baby was going through another heartbreak. How does one protect our children from that? Now I knew how my own Mom felt when I was going through my Divorce. I’m a bit dramatic with that comparison, aren’t I? Needless, to say I wanted to pick up the phone and call 9-year-old Emma and give her a piece of my mind but luckily the adult part of my brain prevailed, and I just held my 8-year-old son while he cried in my arms.

My boy is a 9th grader now about to become a 10th grader in the Fall, and in all that time since Emma broke his heart in the 4th grade, there was no more talk about crushes or girls or anything of the sort until now. I even remember asking him a month before his Middle School Dance, last year, if he planned on taking anyone to the Dance and he looked at me like I was crazy. Fast forward to last week and I can’t help but wonder if my baby is in for another heartbreak.

I arrived home with ice-cream ready to have a bonding session with my boy and get all the details on these 2 girls. Were they nice girls? Were they pretty? Had they called or texted yet? Did he ask for their numbers in return? Which one did he like more? I was also ready to offer unsolicited advice on teenage crushing, because after all this was way bigger than Nursery School and Elementary School crushing, now my boy was playing in the big leagues. I guess Blake must have sensed this because I got nothing. Zero! Zilch! When I announced I had ice-cream and asked if he wanted to hang out and watch Netflix. I was told he was about to start a pre-planned game on his PS 4. I asked about the girls and I was basically shunned; suddenly he did not want to talk about it.

“Wait! What? I thought you wanted to share this with me.”

“Forget I said anything, Mom. Teenage boys don’t talk to their Moms about this kind of stuff.”

“Who told you that? YouTube?” I pleaded.

“Mom, just leave it alone. Put the ice-cream in the fridge. I’ll have it later.” He turned towards his gaming console and that was that.

To say I was disappointed and maybe even hurt is an understatement. What had happened in the few hours it took me to get home? I’ll admit that I begged and pleaded for a bit of conversation regarding these mystery girls, but Blake wasn’t having it. I figured after he was done playing his game he would want to share so I deliberately stayed up past my bedtime and lurked by his bedroom door in the hope that we could have a chat but again I got nothing.

It’s been a week now and despite my friendly cool mom attempts to approach the subject of girls or specifically to find out what’s up with the two mystery summer school girls I still get nothing. These days when I bring it up, my queries are met with an annoying look followed by an eye roll.

On the positive side, I do notice that he now takes special care in dressing himself when he is leaving in the mornings. Within the past week his attire has been well-coordinated, this from the guy who thought nothing of wearing plaid and stripes together; and just this past weekend he announced he needed money for a haircut and went to the barber all by himself. I am not exaggerating when I say that I usually have to beg my son to get a haircut, like seriously beg. Obviously, these changes have done nothing but piqued my interest even more, but my husband has warned me to stay out of “Blake’s business” so that’s what I am doing, or at least, I am trying. 🙂