Being a parent can suck. No one tells you that. They tell you that it's hard and that you don't get a lot of sleep. They tell you that you will worry a lot and that the kid will bleed you dry emotionally and financially. But they don't tell you that one day you will be so mad at that kid you will want to kick him out of your car and make him walk the four miles home.
So yesterday after work, I picked the kids up from my MIL's and began the drive home. I had two quick errands to run, but Boo fell asleep in the car and I didn't feel like waking her up a million times to get in and out of the car so I decided just to go home. But I needed french bread for the spaghetti I was making for dinner. Ubes had agreed to run my two errands on his way home from work but I was pushing my luck by adding a third stop for him. So I turned to Junior.
"Junior, I have to stop at the store for a loaf of French bread. Will you run in for me and get it so I don't have to wake your sister and make everyone get out of the car?"
He was sitting in the front seat next to me, concentrating on his video game. He was quiet for a second and then, without looking at me, said matter of factly, "No."
"No?" I stared at him in disbelief. "You won't run into the store for me for bread?"
He shook his head, still looking at his game. "No," he said.
I sat there, in the parking space, in shock. This is the kid who is always so helpful. The one who unloads the dishwasher if he notices the dishes are clean. The one who takes out the trash without being told. This is the responsible kid. The one I rely on for so much.
"Why?" I asked. "Why wouldn't you do that for me? Your sister is sleeping, I don't want to drag everyone out of the car for a loaf of bread."
"We can stay in the car," he said.
"No, you can't," I told him. "I'm not leaving you in a hot car with your brother and sister while I run in for bread." (Remind me to tell you about my friend who ran into the drug store for 2 minutes, leaving her teenager in the car with a sleeping baby and had the police show up at her house an hour later.) "Why won't you go get the bread for me?"
"Because I don't want to," he said.
My mouth dropped open.
Now I get it. I have never asked him to run into the store for me by himself before. He's gone into Circle K or QT while I am sitting out front watching from the car, but never a grocery store where I can't see him. He's a cautious first born child who needs to feel comfortable in his surroundings.
But still. How is he going to learn if I don't ask him to do this stuff?? RIGHT?? And he is almost 14 for crying out loud.
"Why don't you want to?" I asked
"Because what if people stare at me and ask me questions?" he said, finally putting the damn game down.
"Junior. I'm asking you to get bread, not beer. No one is going to ask you anything."
"I don't want to do it Mom. Don't make me."
I could feel the blood boiling under my collar bone. I was so angry with him I couldn't even think straight. I got everyone out of the car and went into the store and bought a loaf of bread. And then I got everyone back in the car and started driving home, my knuckles gripping the steering wheel and my teeth clenched. I should have made him get out of the car and go into the store. I was just too shocked and too hurt to think straight. I turned and looked at him. He was back to playing his game, the tip of his tongue sticking out of the side of his mouth while he concentrated.
I reached over and grabbed the game out of his hands, tossing it on the floor of the back seat with my purse. He stared back at me in surprise.
"I can't believe you wouldn't do that for me Junior. I can't believe you wouldn't go into the store for me. I am so hurt and disappointed right now."
"I just didn't want to do it," he said.
"Well you know what Junior? I do stuff I don't want to do every day. I don't want to cook dinner every night because I am tired, but I do it because we have to eat. I don't want to get up at 4:30 in the morning and go to work, but I do it so I can buy you and your brother and your sister clothes and shoes and video games. I don't want to wash your clothes, but I do it because you need to have clean stuff to wear. I don't want to take you to your friend's house because I am tired and I have worked all day, but I do it because I want you to have fun. So the next time you need me to do something for you, you remember this moment. Because you did not make the right choice."
"So what are you saying," he asked. "The next time I need something you won't do it?"
"Nope," I told him.
"Okay, fine." He crossed his arms and shook his head.
And you know what you guys?? It was everything I could do not to pull the car over at that minute, fling his door open, and shove him out with my feet. And If we had not been 4 miles from home in the heat with no water, I may have done it. I don't know. All I know is that I have never been so mad at that kid in his life.
I wasn't this mad when he was two and placed a golf ball on his plastic baseball tee and launched it through my living room window.
I wasn't this mad when he was three and pushed his 5 month old brother off the couch.
I wasn't this mad when he was six and dropped a red PERMANENT magic marker on my off-white carpet. (Hey shut up. We built the house prior to kids and had no idea off-white carpet would turn out to be the nightmare it actually was.)
I wasn't this mad when he, my straight A, Honor Roll, National Junior Honor Society member, brought home his report card with a D in math a year ago.
And I wasn't this mad when he hid that report card from me for a week and told my MIL it was because he was afraid I was going to "beat" him.
He is so rarely disrespectful. So rarely disagreeable. So rarely difficult. And I know this may be only the beginning. And I think that's what I'm afraid of. How do you successfully raise a teenager without killing him?
And I know I have to pick my battles. So maybe that's why I didn't throw a five dollar bill at him and tell him to get his ass out of the car and into the store. But what put me over the edge was his defiance. The "okay fine" and arms crossing thing. I wanted to grab a handful of his curly hair and rip it out by the root.
Is that weird for a mom to feel that way? Because some animals eat their young, you know.
And I am not looking for parenting advice, okay. I am just ranting here. I know what I should have done. And maybe I'm over reacting just a little. I mean it was a loaf of bread for crap sake. But I am still really pissed at the kid. And I want an apology. And I am also really tempted to take him to the drug store and force him to buy me a box of tampons just to teach him a lesson.
But I won't. Because I'm not a monster. But oh, how tempting.