I love you. You’re not alone. Knock it off.

Dear, dear, dear, dear, dear, sweet child, whom I love very, very, very, very, very, very much,

Knock it off.

You are driving your family crazy, man.

Crazy to the moon.

And when I say “your family,” I include you in it, ’cause I can see it in your eyes, this confusion at your own behavior. This mystery at the vitriol that erupts. This wondering at the drama. This fact that you’re driving yourself crazy, too. And I assure you, you’re not alone.

You’re not alone. You’re not.

Even though your attitude rises every day, as faithfully as the sun rises in the east, and shines upon us all with steady heat, but beats the hottest on you as you stand on the equator of your life, you’re not alone. We are all here with you. For you.

But knock it off.

Even though you regularly spend time in your room, contemplating the 56th WOW, MOM and the 34th GEEZ of the day — a WOW, MOM and GEEZ that you delivered at the angry top of your lungs because your mama asked you to kindly remove your shoes from the hallway where she tripped over them on her way to the toilet — you are not alone. I am with you, in my heart, because I WOWwed and GEEZed my mom, too, and I know what it is to lay there on an unmade bed, misunderstood, with furious tears in my ears and “think about what I’ve said.” I know, believe it or not, even before I send you there, that “thinking about it” sounds a lot less like “I shouldn’t have said that and I’m so sorry” and a lot more like “DEAR GOD, my mom is SO STUPID and AGAINST ME and I HATE HER and IF I RAN AWAY, SHE’D BE SORRY.” And that’s OK. I understand that it’s just part of this life right now.

But knock it off.

You are doing so well at your new school. You’re finding your way and meeting new friends and sticking up for old ones and working hard and learning piles of new things, some of them even academic. I know that adjustment periods are hard. Finding new rhythms when life changes takes a while. I know that you’re using every single ounce of your energy to grow your changing body and to maintain good behavior at school. And I know that means you have nothing left to give when you get home so we get the goo and the angst and the nerves. I know you give us the yucky parts because at some deep level, you trust that we can take it. You’re right. We can. And you’re not alone. We’re here with you while you figure it out.

We’re here.

But knock it off.

I say this in love. Knowing that you can’t. But that someday you will

Knock it off.

And, you know, when you do? Years down the road? When you knock that ‘tude off and come back to us in the fullness of yourself and we look back on this crazy time and laugh? I will love you no more then than I do right now, kid. Because I already love you all there is.

You are not alone. You’re not. And I love you.

Now knock it off.

Love,
Mom

 

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
34 comments
  1. […] told me to chill — “Chill, Mom. Just chill, ok?” — and his said it in his “Geez, Mom” voice and added a precious “Whatever” and a darling eye roll even though I only said, in the […]

  2. […] my 16 year old today about who’s more annoying, him or me. I won. And not because he’s my kid with expressive language disorder, and I can talk him to death. That is NOT why I won. I won because I’m RIGHT, and he’s […]

  3. […] my kids with special needs. Partly because handling the I.E.P.s and the quirks, the delays and the frustrations, the joys and the surprises, seem, well, ordinary for us these days. Mundane. Ho hum. Like handling […]

  4. […] 8th grade graduation that he worked toward for 3 years while also negotiating expressive and receptive language disorders, crippling anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder and various other […]

  5. […] birthday. You’d think I already have everything I could want in life: 5 rad kids I want to keep almost all the time, a husband with emergency zombie apocalypse preparedness plans, a nose made out of my ear, […]

  6. […] son who’s a total butt nugget and says GEEZ, MOM and WHATEVER and FINE and who also says I love you, Mom, and means it as fervently as he does […]

  7. And, I love YOU! Thank you!! As just last night I, in an angry fit, took the door knob off of my sons door after he stormed off and locked himself in his room. All because I asked him what the rule was about having his iPad in his room. (No iPad in room, no locking the door). Just told my husband this morning that sons attitude has ramped up, WAY up over the past few days! Sooooooo annoyed, me that is, so not ready for this, and just thinking this morning how VERY much I love him. Thank you for sharing!!! Although I have a feeling they may not knock it off any time soon. And I may need to work on my reaction of almost pounding the locked door down :/

  8. Oh Beth… I feel like this towards my middle who is only 5… please don’t tell me it’s going to be this way until and right on thru the teenage years!!!

  9. […] You’d think I already have everything I could want in life: 5 rad kids I want to keep almost all the time, a husband with emergency zombie apocalypse preparedness plans, a nose made out of my ear, and […]

  10. […] at the overwhelming piles of crap surrounding us – emotional crap, writing crap, life crap, parenting crap, marriage crap – and we wonder […]

  11. I know this post was said to a teenager but it is exactly what I want to scream at my almost five year old. We have three bio boys and just adopted our three foster sons. And the oldest adopted boy is struggling- and you gave me the words I want to say. “I already love you all there is to love. You belong here. This is your family now. I know you don’t believe that all the time. And I know that’s what you are showing me with your behavior. I get it and I will love you through it, but seriously knock it off!!!”

    So thanks for that 🙂

  12. This is a very well written post about the thoughts in my head on Tuesday morning.

  13. Very beautifully written! Writing out and framing this for my 12 yr old daughter….. and later…..copies for my 3 and 2 yr old daughters. I was so cool until the end where I couldn’t hold it back any more and started tearing up. So glad I decided to follow your blog!

    1. Thanks, Jessica, and welcome. Very glad to have you here.

  14. Oh Beth, this is fabulous! Been through it a few times now…my youngest seems like your oldest…she just doesn’t go there…nor has she yet to use a towel and return it to a hook…or clean up after she cooks or etc….without a reminder from me to do so. But, when reminded she happily does my bidding.
    Yes, I wish she saw to do these things on her own…but hey, the way I figure, with this one, I’m still winning.

  15. WOW…you are such a great writer and have a way with words. I love how you make day to day ‘crap’ we are all dealing with, funny and less frustrating. Thank you for sharing your trials, tribulations, successes and fears with us, your blog followers.

  16. I am SO emailing this to my soon-to-be 12 year old…so she can read it while she’s @ ballet tonight, hating me because I turned off One Direction & made her do her homework BEFORE 4 hours of dance. As if! When did I turn into my mother…who, just 2 days ago threw her head back & laughed at me with an evil “you are so getting paid back and I’m loving it” cackle!! xoxo -Stef

  17. Someone once told me that there would come a time when I would miss the sulky looks and the slamming doors, and they were right. Now that I have an empty nest, I’d be willing to go back to the days when I had four teenagers at home and live a day or two, every so often, maybe once or twice, well, maybe not a day or two, but perhaps for an hour or so…Great blog!

    1. Oh, I don’t miss those AT. All. I am enjoying every moment of my grown childrens’ adulthood. And every moment of my 9 (almost 10) year old’s sweetness, because I know those icky adolescent hormon-y days are once again in my future. Counting on all the love there is to get us through it again. And the grace of God. And maybe a bit of wine.

  18. Oh oh oh Beth, you did this again, love it. And my almost eleventeen year old is the boy you are talking about as well. And I also do remember the “go to your room until you can speak to your mother respectfully” contemplations and nope, they were not so much about respect or speaking but more of low IQ’s and running away from home. You have a very compassionate and honest heart, and I love you. I wish the kid would knock it off and enjoy his cool mom.

  19. My absolute favorite part was the description of what being in their room is really like and the thoughts it really produces. I love that you can be that honest, because I cannot tell you how often I know even as I am saying the words, “You cannot speak to me that way. Now go to your room and come out when you have a better attitude.” that everything I am saying is being lost of my older girl. Because she herself is mad, and I know what that feels like.

    Well done. So good.

  20. I shared this with my 16 year old daughter, because it made me think of her. I shared it with her privately because I love her enough to not share it publicly and tag her…Thanks for the chuckle.

    1. And Mary nails the reason there’s no photo for this post! 🙂

  21. There is simply no amount of money you could ever pay me to relive the teenage years and I can’t BELIEVE you asked your teenager to move her shoes. You are SO DEMANDING!! Oh, how perspective is everything.

    1. Agreed! Very happy to be past the teens myself. Except when I’m moody and unreasonable and feel like I never left. 😉

      Also, I should clarify for “her” sake that the kiddo to whom I write isn’t the “her.” The “her” is continuing to ruin teenagehood by being pleasant and easy, something her younger sibs are beginning to find infuriating. However, there are others at home who are giving me a full taste of my own former teenage glory, much to my parents’ delight.

  22. Printing this for my 14 year old daughter right now…or at least for my sanity when dealing with my 14 year old daughter. Thank you!

    1. Hehe. There are several kids being read this letter, I hear. My kid’s response to the fact that I GEEZed my mom and then thought those things in my room? STUNNED. Heh. Totally worth it.

  23. Okay. I was fine until “I already love you all there is.”
    Knock it off. GEEZ, Beth.
    I just hope my kids realize, someday, what “I already love you all there is” really means.
    Paula

    1. Aw, Paula. Thanks. That’s where I teared up, too.

    2. YUP. <3

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