Dear 12 Year Old Son of Mine

Dear 12 Year Old Son of Mine,

It is my job to recognize “teachable moments” in your life. Sometimes, I miss the mark. Today, I knocked it out of the ballpark. The next time you consider rolling your eyes and smart talking the mother who carried you for six months (yes I know, only 6!) and had all 2 pounds, 3 ounces cut out of me, remember this.

Remember that I love you. Remember that I have held your hand while a doctor stitched you up. Remember that I have cheered for you at 8,932 sporting events. Remember that I did not hesitate to make Cody eat his words when he bullied you. Remember that I read Goodnight Moon to you 436 times… every day for six months. Remember that I pretended not to notice when you fed your broccoli to the dog. Remember the day that I cheered wildly when you learned to ride your bike. Know that when Ms. McJudgerson shushed us for ruining the serenity of her book club, as she was walking away — I gave the finger to her back.

Remember today. Today — the day that you eyerolled so hard that your eyeballs almost fell out of your head and the tone in your voice was worse than the words you spoke. I recognized the “duh” tone from my own teenage voice. I was so taken back by your behavior that for once, I was speechless. You had friends in the car and I prayed for guidance. Should I deal with this in front of his friends or wait until we are alone? Please, don’t let me kill my child in front of his friends. Just as I was praying for answers, I received a sign. Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” came on the radio. Cranking the radio as loud as I could stand, I began to sing. Louder and louder, I sang. I swayed in my seat. I sang the wrong words. I showed you and your friends my awesome “white girl overbite” move. I pretended not to notice your horrified face. I waved my hands in the air and sang, “I got to take a little slime. A little slime to make things grosser!”

As I dropped you and your friends off, I called you to my window. I smiled my biggest smile, winked at you and said, “Don’t ever talk to me like that again.”

I wish you could have known your great-grandmother. She had many southern phrases that still play in my head. Today, I heard her say, “Bless your heart.” So… what did you learn today? Never underestimate your mother. Never sass talk your mother. And never roll your eyes at your mother — especially in front of your friends.

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