Friday, March 20, 2009
A. limped to the car after soccer practice last night.
“I got cleated today.”
“How bad is it?” I’m concerned, expecting a battered ankle.
Instead, he pulls down his sock, showing me a battered shin. Simultaneously, I realize it’s a completely exposed shin.
“Where are your shin guards??”
“I never wear them in practice.”
“What do you mean, you never wear them in practice? That’s dangerous!”
“They’re too hot.” My son is a man of few words, by now the shin is swelling and taking on strange hues.
A. and I proceed to “disagree” about the merits of shin guards. Before I realize what’s happening, I’m the bad guy, forcing him to do something against his will.
His shin is throbbing, bloody, bruised—there wouldn’t be a mark on it, if he’d been properly protected…can there be a more logical connection??
And, if he refuses to trust my advice regarding shin guards, how will I reach him about more important life decisions, like drug use, college and possibly getting a haircut? These are the thoughts that pass through a mother’s head when her son makes her feel two inches tall regarding his safety.
I finally backed off, and we finished the drive home in relative silence. M. was in the back seat filling the void with stories about her soccer practice, proudly showing A. her battered knee. Her shins looked great though…
This morning, I accept that it’s my job to be the bad guy once in a while. There are so many things I can’t protect A. from anymore. I have to trust his judgement and the years of discussions we’ve already had.
He’s an amazing person—he’s also a teenager. He’s going to give me joy, grief, laughter and tears for the next few years. He’s also going to wear shin guards every time he steps on a soccer field...until I've left the parking lot anyway.