I’ve always been an outgoing person. I love to be involved—so much so I often tend to stretch myself thin with people and projects. My oldest son is nothing like this. A true introvert, he prefers to stay home than go out with friends. To say this drives me crazy would be an understatement. I keep telling him you only get one shot at this high school experience—soak up all you can. He smiles and nods than goes right back into that proverbial shell of his.
This week there was a dance after the football game, so of course I hounded him about attending. The after game dances were some of my favorite high school memories. “You’re a junior,” I said, “you need to get out there. You’re high school experience is already halfway over—”
“Mom.” He put up his hand, his tone begging me to stop. “I’m sorry I didn’t come out just like you, but I don’t come with an upgrade.”
His words silenced me and I’ve been reflecting on them ever since. I had never considered myself to be one of those parents who lived vicariously through their children—I just wanted them to be happy. Yet, I now realize I’ve been pushing my version of happiness on them. Maybe the things that I enjoy, they never will. Does that mean they will never be happy? Of course the answer is no, but I’m not sure where to go from here. How do I guide this teenager who has nothing in common with me other than the misfortune of having this outspoken person as their mother?