Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Dear Son

My dear son,

good morning.
Or rather, good afternoon.
While you decided to  - again - sleep until noon, your father and I went grocery shopping so you and your girlfriend would have lunch at a reasonable time today. I know the girl's family lives on a different schedule from ours, and I've always felt bad for making her go hungry until late in the day, without a decent meal.
So, yes, today there will be roast chicken, and I've picked this recipe to make:

                                                                 Roasted Cilantro Chicken

There will be saffron-spiced Basmati rice and salad to go with it, and I've talked your father into clearing the dining table ( which means, remove his laptop, his books, his gazillion pens and pencils, and the piece of chalk he brought home from school). Hey, I even bought napkins! They are paper napkins, but they have a really nice color. Love that muted, understated cream, it makes them look ALMOST like linen. Well, almost.
While we were at it, we also bought two DVDs of movies I know you'd like to watch:
"Sherlock Holmes 2" and "Cowboys And Aliens".

While we were at the mall, we walked past the Telecom shop where I bought my iPad this week.
Now you have to know, my dear son, that this is a VERY special week for Telecom. They are celebrating some sort of company anniversary, and to share their joy with their customers, they are offering ALL smart phones and tablets at 50% of their regular prices. Yes, I meant ALL tablets, and that includes the iPad.
That is the reason why I have an iPad now, if you want to know.
So today, just before we left to go shopping, I called you.
I mean, I HOLLERED through the house, asking for you to come out of your cave of a room for a second, and I got no reply. Instead, I got an TEXT MESSAGE from you on my phone, saying you couldn't.
I'd like to add that this was at 10.30 am.
I messaged back, saying it was ok.
Only it wasn't, really. But that's your problem now, and not mine.
See, I was in this really, really grand mood.
Last night I finished writing that chapter for my third book, the really, really hard chapter about 9/11, and I sent it out to some author friends to get their opinion. They loved it, said I'd captured the fear and sorrow and confusion so well, my imagery was so exceptional! I was incredibly relieved, actually elated, but more than anything else, relieved. Because, you see, writing about something like that day is a huge risk, and it's also very, very hard. But I did it, and it's good (say the others), and so I was in a celebratory mood.

I wanted to buy you your own iPad.

I know you wanted one as badly as I did, and this morning, when I called for you, I wanted to ask you how you felt about this, if you maybe wanted to come along, and did you want a black or white one?
But, dear son, you choose to not reply.
So there's no iPad for you, nor will there be one in the near future, because that super-special-extra offer expires today, and the Telecom shop in our little town closes at 12 noon. (It's 12.30 now!)

We got home a few minutes ago, and you're not here. Again, I got a text message from you, saying you were off to wherever with the GF, and you have no idea when you'll be back. So much for lunch.
You haven't done your chores, either. The house has NOT been vacuumed. The dishes have NOT been cleared.
You are nearly eighteen. We are a household of three adult people. You have chores.
To show you what I think of that, I'll just add some red Thai curry paste to the chicken recipe, and I'm awfully sorry I didn't bring any coconut milk. I'll cook this lunch that was actually meant for you and your girlfriend in such a way that *I* will like it, and not you.
After that, I'll bring out the chocolate ice cream and share it with your father, and I'm awfully sorry if there'll be only some weird, adult flavor like sour cream/cashew left that you don't like.

And there's the thing with the iPad, of course.
After lunch, ice cream and a lovely cup of coffee I'll sit here and play with my iPad.
I'll download some books and movies, I'll learn how to use the writing app I just bought, and play Angry Birds.
All these are things you will not be doing, because you can't be bothered to reply.

Having said all this, I wish you a happy Saturday.

Oh, and when you get back home? Please go to your room and pick up all the used Kleenex from your floor.

Thank you.



  1. So funny. Sad. True. Yes, you and hubby should enjoy the meal you planned, and he worked hard to prepare. I mean, cleaning off the table is hard work, right?

  2. OUCH!! You are a great Mom..He will grow up one day and know this fact. :)

  3. OUCH!! You are a great Mom..He will grow up and one day know that. Enjoy the meal. :)

  4. Wow. Your son will be so bummed about missing out on an iPad, I'm sure, but you are right in being disappointed in his behavior. 18 is old enough to know that there are responsibilities in being part of a family.

    You're a very nice mom and he will make it up to you :)

  5. Well said Mariam! Sometimes our kids deserve a roasting!! xx

  6. Loved this! He'll definitely not forget this lesson, especially as you've blogged it. Great way to remind him! :)

  7. As the mother of a teenage boy, I know how sometimes selfish, inconsiderate, and lazy they can be. I would've done the same thing in this situation, Mariam, because I don't believe in rewarding a child for bad behavior. Enjoy your chicken and chocolate ice cream!

  8. Sigh... you know, guys, I'm sort of basking in the shared outrage and glee. It feels SO good to know all mothers of teenagers have to go through this! Not that I'm wishing it on anyone, but the load feels lighter when it's not borne alone. :)

  9. Oh, this made my morning! Mine is not a teenager yet, but we still struggle with responsibility. Absolutely adore this post! Fantastic job, Mom!

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  11. You did exactly the right thing, Mariam. Fortunately for me, when my four boys were growing up, there were no cell phones or text messages. So we had to talk to each other. Sticky notes did exist and we used those sometimes -- semi-grown and fully (college)grown boys do live on a different schedule. We often passed like ships in the night. On Saturday mornings, early-bird me would come down my stairs and pick my way through the prone, sleeping bodies scattered in my living room -- where not only my boys but my "extra boys" crashed after consuming Taco Bell at 3am. I'd pick up glasses and empty Coke cans and let them sleep.

    It's funny, because I've saved some of those notes -- the funny ones that ended with things like "I love you, madre" (or "my beautiful mother")-- little pet names that told me that even though we didn't spend much time together at that point and their lives were all about their friends or girlfriends, they still remembered that I existed.

    Those times were hard. I know how much you can long for a simple thing like going to the mall in each others' company or having lunch together. It's that slow, breaking away. I call it "stepping aside" - I'm the one stepping back or to the side, as they widen their lives and circles - as they should, growing up into adulthood.

    I also know the anger and frustration of wanting things to be done -- chores, help with tasks -- and not being on the priority list. My youngest son was a master of this -- always agreeable about helping, but on HIS schedule -- aggghhh. (Today, at 33, he cuts my grass and helps with all sorts of things, and we squeeze in a chat and big hugs.)

    But also-- I have had a 22yr old on his knees with his head in my lap, sobbing over a breakup. I've held those boys or sat with them while they cried over that girlfriend, the end of love. Even when they're out there as real men, it's mom's counsel and comfort they seek -- I am their safe place.

    You sound like a wonderful mother and I know that down the line, your 17yr old (and what a tough age) will wake up (literally and figuratively) one day and realize how much he missed -- more than an iPad. And you'll be there.

  12. I don't have kids but have friends that do and I've been through the teenage years with them. A really good mate of mine asked me to be the 'grown up' the kids could talk to when they couldn't tell their Mum, I got on really well with them so it seemed like a good idea however sometimes I wished I'd never agreed to it.

    I have no idea why I put this just that this blog page and what Marci has written hit a note with me.

  13. Next time, Call ME. I'm usually out of bed and ready to go by 5:30am. Love to have an IPad.

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