My husband and I were debriefing after a particularly stressful week. We were lying on the bed talking when my 16-year old walked into the room and found me patting my husband’s head and saying “poor bunny”. It’s not as creepy as it sounds; rather it’s a long held habit that’s more of a joke than actual solace. It’s one of our “things” – like the way he sends me a chicken emoticon to tell me when his flight has landed or when he asks me what the weather is and I reply “it’s a series of highs and lows measured in isobars”.
My son walked in and looked at us in that loving but condescending way teenagers have mastered over the years. “Relationship goals” he said as a smile spread across his face. My husband (who is far less into teenage lingo than me) looked at him for clarification.
“I want to have a relationship like you guys when I am older,” he explained.
For a full minute everything was good in my world. Internally I gloated over what awesome relationship modelling we had provided for our little sponge. But reality set in quickly and I thought about all the fights we had had in front of him and all the things I
definitely may have muttered under my breath when my husband was annoying me.
We aren’t perfect; in fact mostly we are quite imperfect and even after 16 years of parenting we average more misses than hits.
But what he said about relationship goals made me feel really happy. It’s hard to deny that rush you get when you get the opportunity to see that you’ve done something good, especially something positive that actually makes an impression on a teenager.
And because it’s 2017 I started to formulate the Facebook update in my mind. I wanted to share the real happiness and pride I felt in my son (and my awesome parenting).
But as I went to type it up – the internal conversation ramped up. I shouldn’t gloat about my child’s awesomeness; I shouldn’t be part of the band of people that only show their highlight reel. No one wants to hear about how remarkable my child is. It’s boastful and it will make other parents whose teenagers are giving them a bad time feel terrible.
Is that what social media has become? Of course we shouldn’t just be gloating over on Facebook but maybe, especially given the current climate of fear, outrage and gloom, we shouldn’t be afraid to sprinkle in some happy moments, some joy that our children bring?
Some days I scroll through Facebook and I see parents lamenting the boredom of child-rearing and I know it’s important they have a place to share and to be heard.