No mean feat.
Blazer? Grunt. Tie? Grunt. Lunch money? S’not enough, my mates get, like a tenner. AND they’re allowed to buy donuts.
Anyway, in the middle of this, just as I was adjusting the straps on his empty school bag yet again, I tripped over a rug, one of many in my house.
The Teenager looked horrified. I righted myself and attempted a casual laugh. ‘Oh, d’uh, pesky rug, who put that there?’.
‘Why do you always do that? Why can’t you be normal, like other parents? I hate it.’
I tried to reassure him that I hadn’t yet had my requisite three cups of coffee and was simply tired. And yes, part of MS is stumbling and tripping.
‘Yeah, and your point is? You’re always tired. You always stumble’.
I realised that perhaps this line of reasoning wasn’t particularly mature, so I bustled around him and waved him off with a cheery, ‘have a great day at school!’, while he made shoo-ing gestures to urge me back indoors, lest any of his friends see me.
The Teenager has coped admirably since MS came into his life when he was 11 and in the middle of transitioning to high school. Not the best time for it, but MS could never be deemed a polite intruder. He’s witnessed too much, no matter how hard I try to conceal things from him. At his age, kids just want everything to be normal. They don’t want their parents to be different.
Some may ask what on earth I’m doing; why not let him see MS in all it’s glory? It’ll make him a better person. More compassionate, more caring. Fair point, but not for us. As a divorced single parent, I am his mainstay and he deserves a childhood.
I hide a lot from him, as do many other parents with issues, be it lack of money, anxiety, job insecurities, relationship stress. We want the best for our children and as such I drip-feed information to him as and when I think it is necessary. I don’t keep him in the dark, but I am selective.
He really doesn’t need to know all the ins and outs, especially my fears and worries. Why would he? Why put that extra burden on him, especially at his age when he is going through vital exams? My son is not my confidant, he is my child. And if the utmost aim of parents is to protect our children, then I will do that as long as I possibly can.