I thought I was a cool mom, but apparently that changed. I recently signed up to have a parent-teacher conference with my 14-year old son. Because the conference took place immediately before school started, I suggested what I thought was a bright idea. As I parked and turned the car off, I casually said “OK, let’s walk in.” To my horror, his eyes grew large, his face turned dark and he looked like he saw a ghost. He replied “oh no mom. Oh I can’t do that. No. I can’t be seen walking with you! Please promise me you’ll walk several steps behind me, and enter into the main entrance. I will sneak into the side door because we can’t be seen together!” With a blank stare plastered on my face, I thought to myself, “um, excuse me? What is happening here? Aren’t I the cool mom?”
My mind was racing with thoughts. In my head I said, “We were just best friends! As in, 2 minutes ago when we parked the car. You were just telling me about your science fair project, who has a crush on who, and all the latest 8th grade gossip. And suddenly, as in this very moment, I’m the antichrist? Can someone explain what is happening? Me embarrass you? Sheesh. I’m the cool mom. I’m the young-looking one. I like to dress nice and we listen to the same music. Surely I won’t stick out. Actually to be honest, I raise your stock because I’m just that fabulous!” OK, that last part was a bit much, but I was feeling myself that day.
Of course I didn’t say any of this out loud. I wiped the confused look off my face, and simply said “OK!” As we walked toward the school, I walked the recommended 3 paces behind him. I watched him pretend to not know me. He never turned back to look at me once. My feelings weren’t really hurt because I knew my son would eventually reach the age of no longer considering me cool. But I didn’t think it would be this soon! I thought about this debacle, snapped the picture, and snickered to myself. The giggle turned into a laugh and soon I was bending over in hysterics! I stopped to catch my breath when I realized I was having full-blown, laughing attack in front of the car-pool lane. Gathering my composure, I watched him dart off to the side door and I entered the school through the main entrance as instructed.
I can remember back several years ago when I was the cool mom, the thought of me walking into his school and meeting his teacher was the highlight of his day. Correction, his entire month! He would excitedly take my hand and run inside the school, introducing me to all his cool friends. I would have to yell, “slow down” and “calm down!” But those days have passed. As I climbed the stairs and walked down the hall this day, I saw him walking toward me. He briefly caught my eye, smiled and did a tiny nod. I could see the inner struggle of him wanting me there, but not wanting to admit it, simultaneously. He quickly turned away and laughed with his friends. Keeping to our contract and catching the hint, I pretended I didn’t know him either as I found his teacher’s room.
I wasn’t angry and my feelings weren’t hurt. It was just a blatant revelation that he’s growing up, and we reached that point in time where he’s no longer my little boy. Privately, he still loves to bond. He talks my ear off, telling me of all the happenings in his life. He speaks so fast and with so many details that I can’t keep up! We dance together. Share inside jokes. He values my opinion as we discuss his deepest thoughts and fears. It’s not that he no longer loves me or thinks I’m not the cool mom, our relationship is just evolving. But inside, he’s the same kid and will always be my baby. I know we will laugh about this some day!