Before I could react, Ari had walked out the room. He slammed the door of his room screaming, “you are the worst mother ever.” A part of me wanted to chase him inside and shake him. His words scratched my heart. I felt dazed with rage. “How dare he speak to me this way,” screamed my head. Yet he had. “How insensitive and hurtful he has become,” cried my heart. Yet I knew he was not.
Why did something as silly as TV time cause wars at our home every day? Today something in me felt defeated. I wanted to lay down arms. I was tired of the fights. I was tired of declaring my right over him as a parent. I was tired of his defying it at every opportunity he got. I was tired of being mom to a teenager. I was tired of feeling like a lousy parent. As I splashed some cold water on my face, I realised that the problem cropped up only when I began to feel like a bad parent. My effort to reduce my guilt ended up with me forcing him to comply to my rules. Rules, I didn’t believe in much myself. But rules that I had learnt from the society. Rules I saw other parents enforce with children who seemed to comply willingly.
Was that what I wanted, a trained pet who would obey my every command? Leaning into a chair, I let my mind settle down. I did not want a pet. All I knew was I wanted my son to be happy and I wanted to be happy as well. As I thought about it, it felt like all my decisions were usually to the contrary. I behaved in ways I felt would make the world happy, while believing I was doing what would make my son happy. He wasn’t happy. Neither was I.
At that moment, something arose inside my heart. Instead of chasing after him and continuing the fight, I felt an urge to go hug him. I felt like a light was shining brightly on the whole situation, urging me to look at it differently. I was determined to see things differently. What was he feeling? What made him yell at me? Why could he not stop himself? I didn’t know. Maybe the answers would help, or not. I knew there would be fights again. Truth was that I did not know why the anger came. It never made sense.
We were not that different, he and I. And yet our anger made us feel miles apart. Whispering a prayer to God, I knocked on the door. I paused for a response. There was none. “Ari,” I said, “I am sorry for yelling at you and trying to control you. I can see this isn’t working. I want to try a new way. I hope and pray to God, that you are willing to see this differently as well. Whenever you are better come out.” As I turned to leave, I heard the door open behind me. As I turned, Ari enveloped me into a hug. “I am sorry Ma. Please forgive me,” he whispered. I hugged my son and felt my peace envelope him.