Sunday, February 25, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Motherhood commentary: Mother-son reunion only a moment away

It feels as though I tucked in a sweet but mischievous, prank-playing, lizard-catching little boy, and awoke to a 17-year-old Brandon High football player ready to tackle life without a single need from his mama.

My son Branden, in the wake of his parents' divorce, embarked upon his senior year convinced he is an adult and no longer requires the guidance of mom or dad. Add in the inevitable "senioritis," and you expect some distance.

I've tried to give him room to deal and cope in his own way while still assuring him that I am there and that I love him.

It hasn't been easy. The anger that resides just below the surface is evident in any teenager. Add in the fact that he's returned to relying on the generosity of friends after wrecking his car, and the frustration of an injured hand that forced him off the field in his last year of football, and the relationship has grown more difficult.

But, we mothers tend to hunker down and prepare to do whatever it takes.

I send text messages on game day wishing him luck and "I love you" before bed. I take him to dinner, alone. I go to every football game, even though he doesn't acknowledge anyone who comes to watch him play.

It's not what it used to be, as he predominately lives with his father. But, I've tried to stay optimistic. I've tried to look at it as though he's going to be 18 in February and I need to learn to let go. I need to prepare for my firstborn to leave the nest.

I'm reminded by other parents, especially the dads, not to take it so personally.

"Teenage boys are less connected to their emotions and not as willing to communicate as our daughters."

"You're still his mother. And you always will be. He will come around."

I found out from my mom that he planned to go to the Homecoming dance just five days before the event.

This would be the first year I didn't take him shopping since his eighth-grade dance.

My heart sank.

I felt intentionally left out, punished and hurt. I never told him. I simply said, "I'm glad you're going, and I'd like to see you before to get pictures."

He responded, "Okay." Only family and close friends can appreciate this response, because he has hated posing for the camera since he was 2. Most family photos lack even a smirk.

I tried to be proud and look at it as though he embraced the independence I had taught him all these years. However, I selfishly wasn't ready to relinquish this part of motherhood.

Out of nowhere, he started texting Saturday morning: "I don't have a tie" and "I'm not sure this shirt is right".

A smile flooded my face.

I told him the shirt was perfect. I advised him to go to Burlington and take the vest. I suggested he take a few pictures of solid metallic silver ties and send them to me so I could tell him which one to get.

"Why? Where are you? You can't meet me?"

That moment is embedded in my heart forever.

I couldn't help because I was picking up a friend at the airport.

He sent me pictures of the ties, and I helped him pick the right one.

As he arrived at the house for pictures and gave me a hug, he jovially said, "You're not going to start crying are you? Wow. You are. You're crying!"

"No," as I took a deep breath in an effort to rid the tears, "my eyes are sweating. It's hot in here."

He told me he loved me. We took pictures together. And he hugged me. In front of 30 fellow teenagers. Which is a serious faux pas in Teenageland.

But, I savored every moment. Every sweet, adoring, beautiful moment.

A boy may not need his mom all the time. But, there will always be a time when a boy needs his mom.

Heather Tempesta is a Brandon single mother of two sons, 17 and 10, and a daughter, 15.

Comments

Tell Me About It: Wife blindsided by news of spouse’s child

Q: I’ve been married two years and am 6 months pregnant, and up to last week I was so happy preparing with my husband, "Tom," for our first child. Only it turns out it’s not his first child. He was contacted by the 18-year-old son he and his girlfrie...
Published: 02/25/18
Your 4-year-old daughter could land a role in ‘Waitress’ at the Straz

Your 4-year-old daughter could land a role in ‘Waitress’ at the Straz

TAMPA — Could your 4-year-old be the next Lulu? A touring Broadway show wants to find out. Waitress, which runs April 24-29 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, is looking for a local 4- to 5-year old to play a small but c...
Published: 02/23/18

Tell Me About It: Teacher distant after co-worker’s faux pas

I am a teacher at a large high school, and typically only interact with those in my wing of the school. On the first day we returned from break, I bumped into "Polly" while signing in and cheerfully asked, "How was your [vacation]?" She glared at me ...
Published: 02/23/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Feb. 26-March 4.

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Feb. 26-March 4.

Florida Strawberry Festival and concerts: The celebration of the beloved fruit returns to Plant City on Thursday with exhibits, games, rides and food. The stellar musical lineup includes Justin Moore on Friday, Big and Rich on Saturday and Reba McEnt...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Tell Me About It: Daughter needs an ear, not to be rescued

Q: My daughter is in a relationship with her high school boyfriend. They are now living together in a different state with no relatives nearby. My daughter, 25, is a people person with a bubbly personality and makes friends easily. Her boyfriend does...
Published: 02/22/18
Plan your weekend: Monster Energy Supercross. Gasparilla Distance Classic, Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, slam poet Neil Hilborn

Plan your weekend: Monster Energy Supercross. Gasparilla Distance Classic, Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, slam poet Neil Hilborn

Extreme Monster Energy Supercross Championship: The action-packed dirt bike stunts and racing returns to Tampa for the first time in two decades. Each track in the 16-city series is different, so competitors will ride between 15 and 20 laps around t...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/22/18
As spring approaches, parties, food festivals bloom at Florida’s theme parks

As spring approaches, parties, food festivals bloom at Florida’s theme parks

Can you feel it? The air is gradually thickening with humidity and the layers of clothes are getting thinner. Spring has almost sprung and with it brings a bumper crop of festivals in Florida’s theme parks full of food, wine, concerts and parades. Th...
Published: 02/21/18
In theaters this week: ‘Annihilation’ based on Florida author Jeff VanderMeer’s book, ‘Game Night,’ ‘Every Day’

In theaters this week: ‘Annihilation’ based on Florida author Jeff VanderMeer’s book, ‘Game Night,’ ‘Every Day’

ANNIHILATIONAuthor Jeff VanderMeer told me at last year’s Times Festival of Reading that Annihilation (R) is going to blow everyone’s mind. The Tallahassee author is biased, of course, having written the novel it’s based on, but there’s some reason t...
Published: 02/21/18
Top things to do this weekend: Supercross Championship, Olate Dogs, Gasparilla Distance Classic

Top things to do this weekend: Supercross Championship, Olate Dogs, Gasparilla Distance Classic

BIKE RACE: Monster Energy Supercross ChampionshipThe action-packed dirt bike stunts and racing of the Monster Energy Supercross Championship return to Tampa for the first time in two decades. Motorcyclists will race at more than 60 mph and fly off ju...
Published: 02/21/18
This week’s top concerts: Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Clearwater Sea-Blues and more

This week’s top concerts: Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Clearwater Sea-Blues and more

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Willie NelsonI’m sure that when Willie Nelson had to postpone his recent Clearwater concert after a bout with the flu, you, like me, took the news well, spitting through clenched teeth: "OH NO YOU DON’T, 2018. YOU WILL NOT TAKE WIL...
Published: 02/21/18