Lately, I have noticed my 10-year-old son pulling away from me. He talks less, interacts infrequently, and responds to most of my questions with a shoulder shrug or a grunt. I know boys do pull away from their mothers as they gain independence, but this wasn't a natural leaning towards dad. It was a withdrawal from both of us.
Lincoln has always been our least demanding child. With every family change or dynamic shift, Lincoln has quietly meandered through. He hasn't sought out our attention, complained, or asked for much.
One day we were alone in the van and he didn't talk to me. NOT ONE WORD. He shrugged and made a few sounds...but our one-sided dialogue was flat. I am not the kind of woman who is easily ignored. I am also not the mom who is going to allow my child to exchange words for noises and call it conversation.
Philip and I realized that in the middle of all our family bedtime chaos, we had stopped reading to Lincoln. I honestly can’t recall when or why we had stopped. Maybe because he got older or started reading so well independently? Maybe it was because Jennifer's expectations of bedtime were so high, we just focused our efforts there?? However it happened...we decided to reintroduce a bedtime routine.
At first, Lincoln was unimpressed with our efforts. He didn’t want to pick out a book and complained that all books were boring. Within a few days, Philip won him over and the bedtime reading ritual became a thing.
I just had one problem with it…
He didn’t want me to read to him. It became his thing with Philip, not with me. I was still in shoulder shrug and grunt land. If I have to be totally truthful, I was completely jealous. To further complicate matters, I don’t think Philip was completely loving the solo reading responsibility, but at least one of us was gaining ground.
I started to wonder and pray how I was going to gain my boy’s attention.
A few weeks ago, Lincoln asked if I would make cookies with him. I am not going to lie, the mess that goes along with cooking with any of my children is not part of my love language. Often, I will say yes and then just endure the project. I recognized this request as an opportunity to connect with my babe, so I took on the project with typical over-the-top zeal.
I pulled out a favorite cookie recipe and we went to work. I believe he ate more dough than we made cookies. Halfway through our cookie project, I heard him say, “Alexa, play the Queen radio station from Pandora.” When did this kid start listening to our music?? We began dancing around the kitchen, eating cookie dough, and making a huge mess.
It was a wonderful afternoon.
The kids were home from school last Tuesday and when Lincoln got up in the morning, he asked if we could make cookies again. Have mercy on me when I tell you that I wasn’t excited to make cookies. I was enjoying the increased attention from Lincoln...it was just requiring a lot of effort on my part.
“Of course we can make cookies!”
This time, Lincoln decided to make a Pinterest recipe. We scrolled for a bit and he found a Cookie Dough Brownie recipe. I read the ingredient list and was shocked. The bottom layer had 2 cups of sugar in it and the top layer had another cup. I tried my hardest to convince Lincoln to look for another creation, but he just wasn’t interested.
So for the sake of connection...I pulled out the sugar and let him pour.
Lincoln instructed Alexa to play Queen once again. We went back and forth between dancing to Queen and The Village People all afternoon. There isn’t anything more fun than watching your kid dance to music you listen when you were young. Lincoln can’t handle watching me dance silly. So of course, that just encouraged me to do it more.
We laughed, we connected. I don’t think either one of us LOVED the brownies. I chuckled when he said they were too sweet. But it wasn’t ever about the brownies, or the music, or the mess I had to clean up…
It was about being present.
It was about connecting with my son.
It was about making room in my busy life.
It was about hearing his laughter.
It was about showing Lincoln I wasn’t going to let him shut me out.
It was about him knowing he is worth my attention.
It was about demonstrating for him that I could floss better than his friends.
This past weekend, I had plans to go away for a women’s event. The night before I left, he asked me when I was going to be back. I told him I would be back by dinner on Saturday. His response, “Okay. I can survive until then.”
I am a girl passionately in love with Jesus, my husband, and my children. I am forever learning how to live a life completely undone for my God. This blog is about my journey and a few funny stories in between.