Posted by: Kathy | February 7, 2013

I Need Your Help

Writing has helped me to grieve, accept my mom’s death, and heal. Over the past 4 years, I’ve met some amazing people through this blog. Your comments and support have helped me to see past the grief and to keep moving forward. For that I am grateful. I am stressed about something, so I am going to talk through it by writing.

I really wish my mom were here right now because I need to talk to her. I need advice as a mother and I know my mom could give me some solid advice. I try to be a good mom, and I think I have a pretty good relationship with both my kids. I’m a different mom to them than my mom was to me, but that’s fine because no one is the same and no relationship is the same. I need my mom’s advice, but she is not here, so I am asking for your help. I need advice from my cyber friends. Or maybe just someone to listen to me ramble for a minute.

For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that my teenage son is a second degree decided black belt in TaeKwonDo. He has spent many hours at the academy to get to this rank and he has earned it. I am very proud of him. TaeKwonDo is something we do together as a family. I am halfway to black belt and my daughter is in the Little Dragons class. I enjoy this time we spend together, even if we are working on different things during class.

Yesterday, Matt came home and told me that he is thinking about quitting TaeKwonDo. Next year, my son will be in high school. He is taking three advanced classes and will be part of the marching band. Of course, band will be a big time commitment with practices and games. Plus, Matt has always been a very good student and I know he doesn’t want to see his grades to slip. His comment to me yesterday afternoon was that he didn’t think he would have time to do homework, band, and TaeKwonDo and that he doesn’t want to spend all of this time running around from one activity to another and fitting in homework and dinner somewhere. Underlying all of this is that he also wants some free time to spend with friends. I get that, but I do not want to see my son quit TaeKwonDo.

TaeKwonDo, the academy, mean a lot to me. It has been part of our lives for the past 7 years and is like a second home in a way. My mom was very supportive and proud of Matt and his TaeKwonDo accomplishments. The most amazing thing is that she fought against pancreatic cancer long enough to know that Matt got his black belt. She died less than 24 hours after hearing the news of his achievement.

TaeKwonDo and all that goes along with it for my son – forms, weapons training, teaching, helping out with testings, tournaments – is a big commitment. Plus at his level, there is a lot of pressure. I don’t believe in pushing my son to continue something he doesn’t want to do, and my daughter and I would continue with classes even if my son doesn’t. But to be honest with you, this news is upsetting to me and I feel really down about it. I understand Matt’s excitement about high school and being in the band, especially since they will be performing in Disney World in April 2014. But TaeKwonDo is the one thing my son and I share and have shared for many years. I hope we continue to do so. I hope there is a way to fit TaeKwonDo into his high school life without too much stress on him. I want my son to be happy.

I know I may be jumping the gun a little. Matt has about 6 months until his band commitment starts and he didn’t say he was definitely quitting TaeKwonDo. But it’s a feeling I got from him yesterday, that this part of his life is going to come to an end. A few months ago he was excited about teaching TaeKwonDo, getting his next teaching collar, helping out at tournaments, and getting to third degree black belt. Now that excitement has shifted to something else. I guess I just have to see what the next few months bring. Thanks for reading.

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Responses

  1. Just as our interests as parents change from season to season, so too will those of your son. However, I truly believe that you and Matt will find a different interest that you’ll both have in common. Off with the old, and on with the new. It really sounds as though he is a very grounded young man. That in itself is something to celebrate. You already have a close relationship with him – it will be exciting to discover additional joint interests that will augment that relationship. You’re doing great Kathy, and you appear to be a terrific parent as is evidenced by how your children are doing. Parenting is difficult – everyone who is a parent will wholeheartedly agree. Getting it right as a parent is even harder. Keep it up!

    • You’re right Irene – a lot of new is coming my son’s way. He’s excited about it and deserves to be. He is a grounded person most of the time. I’m proud of him and the fact that he is thinking of what he needs to do and the time he will have. We’ve always been close. Things have changed now that he’s a teenager, but I hope we will always stay close. Parenting is hard – trying to do the right thing. Life is so different now than when I was growing up. Thanks for your kind words. Take care.

  2. We love our children SO SO much and have always made decisions for them based on what we think is best. When they start to move away from us, we are both proud of their independence, and yet feel a loss that is very deep. My son is 10 now, and I am noticing more and more changes, both in his physical appearance and behaviour. It makes me sad sometimes because I miss who he used to be.
    It is extra hard for you because of the death of your mom. Your son was 8, I believe, as was mine, and it hurts to know that our mothers cannot watch them grow. I knew as my mom was leaving the world, that 8 years old would always be…the age he was when she died..
    Life is so hard sometimes. Today, I was thinking that to my mom, her children were the most important component of her life right up until her dying day. Once we had our own kids, they became the most important to us. It really hurts to think that some day my son will have his own kids, and although he will always love me, his children will take priority. Yes, life can be hard..
    I don’t even know if this makes sense, but these were my thoughts today..

    • Hi Wendie: Thanks for commenting. What you said does make sense. My son was 9 when my mom died, my daughter only 2. These kids became a priority in my mom’s life the day they were born, and her greatest regret about dying was leaving the kids. My son started really pulling away about 2 years ago and it was hard. But it was for the best. He is smart, caring, and independent. I trust my son with most decisions he makes in his life, and I want him to trust in himself and the decisions he makes. Now I am here to guide him and to be mom when he needs me (last Friday he lost both his birds – we have no idea what happened). We were walking in the mall the other day and I told Matt that I was really proud of him and how he’s “turned out.” We joked about it, but it’s true. Take care.

  3. That’s so hard….letting them make choices.
    His age is the perfect time, though, to start experiencing the consequences of their own decisions.

    • Thanks Denise. You’re right. I’ve been letting my son make his own decisions for a little while now. So far he hasn’t disappointed me. I guess since this decision hits so close to my heart that it’s a hard one to let go. But I have to, and trust that this is what is best for my son. I know that whatever decision he makes will be the best one for him. Take care

  4. Fear, maybe even panic, is the first emotion that came to me in your post. “Oh no, Matt is going to leave me too.” I sense a strong connection to this situation and the loss of you mother.

    The second image I felt is the “Serenity Prayer.”

    Pursuing your own interests, separate from everyone else, may help.

    Blessings to you Kathy ~ Maxi

    • Hi Maxi. Yes, there is a connection to my mom. This is also something I share with Matt and have shared with him for 7 years. He is maturing and will leave eventually to pursue his own interests, lead his own life, and this is what I want for him. He is already doing so and I am here to support him. I told him last night that whatever decision he makes is fine. I will support him. Actually, he is pretty smart, already thinking ahead about what he can handle. I am proud of my son. In terms of myself, TaeKwonDo is an interest of mine. I took a 5 year break for personal reasons, but was at the academy during this time for my son and daughter. I was dying to be on the mat. My love for TaeKwonDo is in my heart and I take classes for me – I just enjoy taking classes with my kids. I have two goals as an adult, one of which is to become a black belt in TaeKwonDo. Matt dropped this on me and it came as surprise, which is why I wrote about it. Now that I’ve had time to think and read the thoughts of others, I am ok with whatever decision Matt makes. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Take care.

  5. Hi Kathy, here’s my take as both an educator and a parent of two teenagers, one of whom is now a freshman in college and the other of whom is a sophomore in high school. Talk to him. Tell him your concerns and maybe help him write out a list of pros/cons. All of it, though, comes back to your statement, “I want my son to be happy.” Life is full of phases and transitions, and this may be one of his – his previously preferred activities may go by the wayside and he may develop new interests and/or new priorities for time management. I think it’s one of biggest challenges as parents: we cannot superimpose our own stuff onto our children, not the stuff we’ve carried over from our own childhoods and not the stuff we are dealing with now as adults. His choices (with your guidance and input) and his life. Allowing him to make those choices will give him the self-confidence he needs to succeed far into the future. When decisions like that seem to be looming over me, I always come back to this: “The days often seem long, but the years always seems short.” Focus on what will matter to both of you, a year from now, 5 years, 10 years, etc. Whatever he decides, let him know that you support him, and keep on truckin’!

    • Hi Stephanie. Thanks for taking the time to comment on this. I love your quote – yes, my days often seem so long, but it feels like I blink and years have passed by. Right now we’re taking this day by day. Matt was going to go to class with me last night, but I made the decision not to go. I hurt my foot in December and it’s still bothering me. Since I went to class on Wednesday, I thought going 2 days in a row would be pushing it since my foot was hurting. I know Matt feels at home at the academy and he’s on the fence about this emotionally. Leaving a “family” he’s been a part of for 7 years is hard. I told him yesterday that I support him in whatever decision he makes. I also realized yesterday that is worried about disappointing people with his decision – me, his father, grandfather, and especially the master TaeKwonDo instructor and his wife. Everyone has told him that it’s ok, this is his decision and no one is mad or upset with him. I know the teen years are difficult to begin with, so I don’t want to add pressure. I appreciate your input and insight. I feel better today about this and appreciate the comments I have received. They’ve helped. Thanks and take care.

  6. Kathy,

    I have been reading your blog for 3 years and I also see your comments on mine from time to time. As a parent (I have 3 girls) we are often confronted with our children’s desire to change course. It sounds like your son has learned great discipline fromTaeKwonDo and has reached an impressive milestone with a black belt. If he is ready to apply that passion and commitment to something new, he will need your support and encouragement. BTW, I have a nephew who is part of his high school marching band, and it takes commitment, dedication…and TIME!

    My sweet mother was devastated when I stopped piano lessons in high school after 10 years. She hoped I would pursue a concert career; I wanted to go in a different direction. But it is her support that I remember, even though she didn’t share my dreams. Her love and encouragement are the gifts I cherish now she is no longer here.

    Approaching the 3-year anniversary of her death (Feb 20) I miss her wisdom so very much. What I would give to pick up the phone and hear her beautiful, calm voice. She was a wonderful listener and counselor and she helped me be a better parent. It sounds like your mother did the same for you…

    You are a good mother…thanks for sharing with us.

    • Thanks Angie for taking the time to comment. Being a parent has been the most rewarding and the most trying time of my life. I watch as my kids grow, pray they don’t make the same mistakes I did, and want them to have all the best in life. Most importantly, I want my son to be happy and to feel like he’s doing what he wants to do. As I mentioned above, letting go as a parent is so hard, but I have to do it and allow my son to grow. So far, he hasn’t disappointed me. I agree with you that I need my son to know that I support him no matter what he decides. For me, there’s an emotional investment in TaeKwonDo because we all do it together and because of the support from my parents. My mom was not going to die before she saw her grandson become a black belt. That’s the will power of true love. I hope the 3 year anniversary of your mom’s death isn’t too hard. I will be thinking of you on that day. Take care.

  7. Hi Kathy,
    I totally agree with jc & letstalkaboutfamily,for exactly the same reasons.
    He might change his mind, or even just take a short sabbatical, but I think it’s a bit like playing the piano, it’s something he wont ever forget, and can always go back to when he feels the need or want.

    I understand why you would want him to carry on, especially all the emotional ones,but he is growing, learning, expanding his horizons.
    Sooner or later, he will meet someone, marry, have his own kids, and have his own life, which hopefully will be a long and successful one.

    I think your mum would probably have told you that it’s ok, it’s part of growing up and becoming older.
    You could explain to him how you feel, and why, which might make a difference, but at the end of the day, he will do what he wants.
    Better to do it with your blessing than without I think.

    I can also understand why you would feel down.. It’s the first steps away from the nest, so to speak,and is a big wrench.. again it’s part of growing older.. for you both.
    I hope I’ve been of some help Kathy,good luck whatever you decide to do.
    love n hugs
    xxx

    • Thanks for your response and, yes, you did help. For the past few years I’ve watched my son grow away from me as he matures. I know this is normal and exactly what he should be doing. But it hurts. I only want the best for him in life and for him to be happy in what he does. As I said to JC, he’s a good person, and for that reason alone, I should trust that he will make the decision that is right for him. I did tell him how I felt, that I enjoy taking class with him. Whether he continues for another few months or a few years, I should enjoy that time. As you said, soon he will be out of the house completely, living his own life. I know my mom would be proud of her grandson right now. Take care.

      • It always hurts Kathy, as they grow older and more independant. You have a great relationship with your son, so many people wouldn’t be able to tell their children how they feel, and I’m sure your son will appreciate you telling him your thoughts.

        Your mum will always be with you, in the things that you do and sometimes say.
        I sometime find myself saying or doing things and thinking mum would have said/done that.
        Spookily as my sisters get older, the more like my mum they become. both in their mannerisms and what they say sometimes.

        Well done you for doing so well with your TaeKwonDo, that’s a tough sport to do well in. As much as your mum would be proud of your son, I’ll bet she was as proud of you too.
        Love n hugs
        xxx

      • Thanks. My one goal is to always have the kids know that I love them and support them. I’ve always told my kids that they can come to me and talk to me about anything. Funny, I’ve said things and then thought, wow I sound just like my mom. I love TaeKwonDo. It’s tough and I need to get in shape. I was off the mat for 5 years, and coming back felt so good. I know my mom was with me when I tested in October. I could feel her love. Take care.

  8. Reblogged this on ARZcreation.com.

    • Thank you. 🙂

      • You most welcome.

  9. I 100% agree with the comment above on all points. Perhaps you’re feeling down and stressed because you feel the TaeKwonDo link that you all shared and its connection to your mom might be breaking, and like me, you want to hold on to all things that were dear and important to you both. I’m sure your son will make the right decision for himself and you will support him. You’ll still be enjoying it with your daughter.

    • Your comment brought tears to my eyes. I do think there’s a link to my mom in all of this. Maybe that’s why this is bothering me so much. Even though she is gone, my mom is still a part of TaeKwonDo. I’ve watched my little boy turn into a young man, and he’s kind, polite, caring, a good friend to others, a good person. I can’t complain. I have to trust he will make the right decision for himself and we will still share something. And yes, I will still share TaeKwonDo with my daughter. I am determined to become a black belt one day. Thanks for taking the time to respond. Take care.

  10. This is important to you and has obviously been important to your son. He is growing up now and his needs and wants will change. My parents always let me make my own decisions, even those I might regret, like quitting musical instrument lessions. Likewise I let my children make all their own decisions. I believe it is part of maturation to make ones own decisions and move on. This would not be an irrevocable decision, and even if it were, it is his life, time, energy, etc. I would tell him you trust him to make his own decisions and live with it. That is just my opinion.

    • Thanks, I agree. Even though this is upsetting to me, I can’t let my emotions play into this. It is my son’s decision and I am so proud of what he’s accomplished so far in life. I will support him whatever he decides. BTW: I quit piano lessons after many years of practice and now regret it. My mom wasn’t happy but she let me make my own decision. Thanks for your input. Take care.


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