bulldozing and mothering…

I remember the evening well…
the eighth grade students and their parents
were invited to tour the high school,
to meet administrators and faculty,
to talk to students,
and to see where their classes would be.

At the time, my son had been in school
for weeks, not years.
His first eight years of school were spent
at home with me.
We both have some great memories
of those days…
and some not-so-stellar recollections
as well.

In those years, I had become quite accustomed
to getting things done for my kids
and their education.
I moved things around to arrange
lessons and classes to meet their needs,
constantly constructing and reconstructing
schedules, lessons and their lives.

In my mind, it’s what a good homeschool mom did.

Apparently, I didn’t notice the hard hat I had donned.

Back to that evening in the spring of ’11…
we walked the halls of our enormous high school,
we watched the demonstrations students had prepared,
and we wondered how he would navigate the waters there.

In our wandering, I saw an acquaintance from years past
standing outside his classrooom.
We stopped to talk and I introduced him to my son.
He was kind and polite
and said something like,
“It’s nice to meet you, Eric.
I’ll see you next year.
All freshmen take my class.”

Kind.
Nice.
Polite.

I should have left it.
Really, I should have.

Instead, the construction mom
with the hard hat came out.
I preceded to announce that he didn’t need
that class because he had had private lessons for years,
had won contests with his work,
and in my humble opinion was already quite accomplished.

Yes I did.

At that point, the temperature in the classroom
dropped several degrees,
my son dropped his head,
and my husband placed his hand on my back
to quietly usher me out of the room.

Instead of going,
I fired up the bulldozer
and kept going…
asking how he could opt out of the class.
Did he need to bring in a portfolio of his work
or would a letter from his former teacher suffice?

Kind, nice, polite kept a smile frozen on his face
and in no uncertain terms told me that my son
would be in his class the following semester.

Yes he did.

However, my son and my man were mortified.
Simply MORTIFIED.

Later, when that class was not a favorite,
it dawned on me,
I wondered how much of that I needed to own.
Would it have been better if I had
kept my mouth shut and let my boy and his teacher
figure things out?

Probably.

At my son’s expense, I learned a valuable lesson.

Bulldozing my way in does nothing but
create a mess.

I’m sure I’ve bulldozed other times as well
but this memory is seared deeply in my heart
and God does well to remind me of it
from time to time.

Often in late night conversations with
my daughter, I will ask,
“Do you want me to fix this problem for you?”
She and I both know I’m asking a rhetorical question
but that very question never fails to get this response…

“No Mom! DON’T!!”

To which we both laugh and I promise, again,
to pray her through…

she’s seen enough in her fifteen years to know
that God does a much better job
than a mother with a bulldozer.

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2 thoughts on “bulldozing and mothering…

  1. Heidi – Your words always seem to speak directly to me. You will never know what an encouragement your “stories” have been to me as I’m navigating some of the same waters, a couple of years behind you. I pray that you find peace and strength in the next couple of months as Eric graduates and you begin to experience a different “season” of parenting!

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