Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Mama's Boy

The fact that I have help create a real mama's boy has been slapping me in the face lately.  I own my part in the equation.  He's my firstborn.  He didn't come with a manual and all of the manuals I found, didn't seem to apply to him. Yada yada yada. 

In his lifetime he has faced so many more challenges than most people.  Most of his school experience was an exercise in pain, competition, isolation and rejection.  When your boy is obviously depressed in the fourth grade, so much so, that he says he wants to die.  When he says that he just wishes that he could just laugh like all of the other kids -naturally, you just want to do something about it. You want to do whatever you can to give him some semblance of happiness.  You want to give him a reason to smile.  You feel every inch of his pain and as a mother, you just want to alleviate it.

I fought for him when he didn't  have the capacity to fight for himself.  When the school system was rigged against him and for the typical kids who fit into the mold,  I was compelled to level the playing field as much as possible.  Who else was going to do it? No one understands him the way that I do.  What's more, is most people don't even care.  Schools typically want to do what's easiest for them, not necessarily what is best for the special needs child.

What I did not realize until recently, is that Red is a careful observer and much more cognizant of what's going on around him than I ever gave him credit for. He has seen over and over again how I run to his rescue. At some point in time, he decided to take full advantage of this. Probably a lot sooner than I could have ever believed.

Now that we are suddenly staring down the barrel of manhood, I'm thinking, 'Crap! He's a total mama's boy!' He still wants me to do everything for him. He has very little if any, motivation to grow up and take on responsibility for his life.  Why should he when he thinks he can just easily handover most of his responsibility to me? Why should he want to drive when he can be driven? He doesn't want the expense of a car because then his money may be too tight.

Personally, I wouldn't want to have to depend on someone to get where I'm going. I HATE waiting for people! But that's just me. Oh wait ...he does hate waiting for people, and will even have the nerve to rush them.  While he very seldom rushes to do anything himself. One of those Asperger's paradoxes I suppose.

Why should he want to live on his own when he has such a cushy life here?

I swear, I couldn't wait to get away from my mother at his age. I wanted to come and go as I pleased without having to answer to anyone. He would prefer to stay here so that he won't have to struggle. Struggle is hard.  There are too many unknowns and that's scary. OMG! What if he were not able to just buy everything that he wanted as soon as he wants it.  That would be tragic!

He still wants my attention all.of.the.time. He follows me around the house like a lost puppy. He will literally dial my phone number over and over again when I'm out of the house just to say, 'Mom where are you? When are you coming home?' One time I counted 37 calls back to back.  No. I don't answer. Sometimes, he drains my battery on my phone. Otherwise,  I just have to turn it off which then means, I can't even use it.  That really pisses me off! I finally got smart enough to block his number so that now, he has to leave a text or a voice message and I decide if it's important enough to call him back. Who does that? Who has to block your kid's phone calls? 

He still wants me to basically tuck him in at night.  We used to have "me time" when he was still in high school.  Now,  no matter how much I've talked to him all day, he wants me to come in and give him my undivided attention before he goes to bed. I'm over it. Hello! You're 19 years-old dude! He wants me to continue doing for him, just as I have done for him all of these years.  Only now, he's supposed to be transitioning into manhood.

It's time to him to man up.
It's time for me to step back.
It's time for him to think and do for more for himself.
If the mama bird flies her nestlings around on her back all the time, why should they ever learn to fly?
He is no baby chick! It's time for him to take flight.

One step at a time, I am trying to cut the strings.  I make him responsible for more of his own transportation.

He wants to explore becoming a videographer.  So on his last video shoot,  he assumed that I had nothing else to do but be there with him for 5 hours! Not.

I said no right away. For one, I didn't appreciate his assumption that I was available especially, since he had been so disrespectful to me recently.  Secondly, I've been encouraging him to get more formal training --to intern or shadow a professional videographer.  He needs to learn more about the business aspect of running a business.  He needs to price his services to allow him to pay someone a small amount to assist him since he needs a little help with organization. He hasn't wanted to hear any of that, especially from me. Obviously, he has to learn by doing, even if that means making mistakes or failing.
When the time came for the shoot, it was hard for me, but I had to let him fly solo.

He shot the Quincinera completely on his own. Beforehand, of his own accord, he did an online webinar so that he could be prepared. He made a Pre-Production Checklist and a Shot List. When he came home,  he actually felt pretty good about it. He met with a professional, more experienced  videographer who gave him some constructive criticism.  He realized where he made some mistakes and where he could use some improvement.  He even eluded to the fact that he needs more formal training, education and experience.

With my efforts to cut the strings ...he is actually starting to get it. He is behaving better because he knows, we do not have to allow him to continue to live here. He is beginning to see that he is indeed in charge of his life. With the support of his transition team, he now realizes that he needs to pay rent to live here and be more responsible for the decisions that he makes financially and as a roommate in our home.

I'm not saying it's easy to let go, but if I continue doing so much for him, I will find myself doing it for the rest of his life.  He needs to be prepared for the day that I am not around. Sometimes ...I have to let him fall and figure out how to pick himself back up.