The absolute quickest way to create a fury like no other is to mess with a woman’s child. Daddy’s can do some damage, but trust and believe, no one can open the skies of fire like an angry mother. I’m one of the worst. At all costs, I’ve tried to protect him. There were things however, that I couldn’t shield him from. Things that have damaged his psyche. Things that caused him to need counseling. Some of those same things that slammed him mentally and emotionally, though, are the things that will cause him to be an excellent husband someday.
Almost immediately after meeting him, people tell us that my son acts just like me. He’s funny, he’s blunt, and he uses common sense before any other means of working things out. I appreciate those qualities in him. There are times, however, when I see my stubbornness, that refusal to listen to one other excuse when he’s been lied to and his almost uncontrollable anger when he’s asked the same thing repeatedly. I taught him loyalty. Once, when he and some of his friends got into some trouble, he absolutely refused to name names. That happened during his Senior year of high school and to date, he still hasn’t. Y’all know I was super mad but at the same time, I was very proud that he stood by what he believed.
When he was in fourth grade, he ended up in Children’s Hospital and was there for four days. I would have done anything in this world to take his place in that bed. His physical pain was devastating. I could do nothing but pray. In the years that followed this physical blow, the mental and emotional pain he would experience would greatly intensify as a result of his home environment. My mother often said that we shouldn’t have argued in front of him and both my ex and I agreed. That didn’t stop it from happening though. My ex said we should not have been arguing in front of him so my solution was to talk when Will was out of the house. In return, as soon as Will would go to basketball practice or to a friend’s house to play, the ex would leave so that we wouldn’t talk. See how that works?
The same mental and emotional tricks that were being used on me, were being used on my kid by his father without my knowledge. I wasn’t always a stay-at-home mother and didn’t know that the times he was picking him up from school, he was pounding him mentally and emotionally. As he became more involved in sports, the constant criticism, belittling and flat-out ignorance became so astounding that it was impossible for Will to have a good game. He was too nervous. He knew that if he made all but one shot, the only thing we would talk about on the way home would be that one missed shot. Soon, he wanted to quit. My ex has an older son who told me that he stopped liking sports because that was all their dad seemed to care about.
My son tore his right ACL in a football game during his Sophomore year. While we were sitting in the waiting area, my ex told me that it was my fault that Will had torn his ACL. Yeah, you read that correctly. He said it was my fault. His rational was that if he and I had not been arguing all the time, Will would respect him more, which would have meant he would listen to him more, and he could have taught him how to fall. I am deadly serious. That’s what the man said. I couldn’t make up junk like that if I tried. On top of the devastation of having to sit on the bench for the remainder of the year, he had to listen to utter crap. He recovered, but was very angry. He never got back on the field in the same capacity. He remained on the team but got very little playing time because his attitude sucked! I took him to counseling at our church and all I can do is raise my hand in praise for the help he got. He’s enrolled at University of Arkansas Pine Bluff now and will be playing this fall.
Fast forward to his Senior year when he tore his left ACL. We were right back in surgery. A week after he went under the knife was when his dad came in from Baltimore (he worked out of town) and told me he wanted a divorce. My granddaughter was due that December and to say the relationship with her mother was/is contentious is the understatement of the year. The day that I learned that he wanted a divorce was Senior Day for Will and his dad refused to do any of the activities that the school had planned for the kids. I met my child across that field with a rose and he limped on crutches to meet me. There was a picture taken that night but we didn’t see it for months. The level of pain in our expressions were horrendous even though we were smiling. There was not so much pain in my heart about the divorce. My anger was fueled because of his father’s timing and the fact that he didn’t care that it was Senior Day.
We got over that. We got over lots of things. As I’ve said before, I’m writing a book, so the details will be there but know that every action you take has a consequence. I do everything in my power to keep my kid happy. We’ve been through so much together. Do what you must to protect your kids. I fully believe that my son will be “that” man because he’s seen what he’s not supposed to do.