I feel the need to write about Kaleb. He came into my life at a point when I wasn’t ready for a teenager. (To be fair, I don’t think anyone is ever ready for a teenager. ) I did however think I was ready and I did think I knew what I was getting into. Silly Emily!
I spent a lot of time wondering what the heck I was doing and what was wrong with him (as I saw it). There was a lot I didn’t understand. And, occasionally, a few things I did.
One night, we came to an impass. I tried to make a stand about his grades. It wasn’t the first time he had gotten consequences due to his grades but this night was different. It led to a stand-off of sorts as he tried to leave. I blocked the door to stop him, knowing full well that he could just move me out of the way. He didn’t, though, he was went back to his room. I silently praised myself for not letting him disobey me like that as he climbed out of the windows. Haha. Long story short, he came back, things were weird and I made a decision. (After a lot of advice from a lot of smart people) I backed off. I think there may have been a couple other incidents after and, of course, there were endless conversations with Brian about it, but this was the beginning.
I wanted to micro-manage. I wanted to teach by firm love. I wanted many things but I was only succeeding at making myself crazy. So I backed off.
I broke all the rules and treated him like a friend. Not on the big stuff, but on the little things. He stayed out later than I ever would have ever been allowed to. I looked the other way as much as possible on the grades. I let go of the idea of him coming to church with us. In return, he made sure to always let me know where he was. He would come to holiday services with no complaints. And, he would even check to see if I had any clothing requests. 😉
I don’t want to suggest that I wasn’t paying attention at all or shirked all mom responsibilities but much to my surprise, the more he felt respected as an equal, the more he respected me as a mom. I guess this is where the whole parenting children with trauma differently thing comes into play.
Somewhere along the line, we got really close. I think so anyway. I started to see him as an amazing young man instead of an angry teenager. But, to be fair, he really was an angry teenager!
And, a couple of weeks ago, he graduated! And, maybe even more exciting, he was chosen for the Principal’s Leadership Award; a scholarship that he had never heard of and has no idea how he got, haha. Either way, students who have shown leadership to their “peers on and off campus” can receive it. It comes with a small scholarship but I’m most happy about what it says about his character. (It’s something that I already knew, of course.)
Cheering for my son at his graduation ceremony was surreal and I couldn’t have been prouder. I’m proud of us. I’m proud of our family. I’m even a little proud of myself.
But, most of all, I’m very proud of him.