Thursday, November 21, 2013

Milkshake Hugs

I used to cut up his food in very small pieces. 

I kept him in his stroller for years, seat-belted in, so he wouldn't wander away from me.

Don't let him near the dock of the bay!  He might fall straight to the bottom and drown!!

He was 10 years old before he was allowed to ride his bike in the street.

He had to be 12 years old and 80 lbs before he could ride in the front seat of my car.

The control freak momma in me was able to do all these things to keep my first born safe. 

Tonight, after basketball tryouts, Billy got in the car and told me he didn't make the team.  Tears welled up in his eyes.  Then tears welled up in my eyes.  I asked a couple of questions and then the rest of the ride was quiet, except for our sniffling.

I couldn't protect him from the disappointment.  It felt terrible.

And so it begins.  The journey to adulthood.  Being there but letting go.  Learning when to speak and when to stay quiet.  Knowing when to offer a hug and when to back off. 

Billy has never been one for showing affection.  Tonight was no different.  All I wanted to do was grab him and hug him.  He definitely did not want that.

So I made him a milkshake instead.

Whatever it takes to let him know I love him. 


  1. Please tell Billy I am proud of him and miss him! Well, I miss all of you!!

  2. Kathleen...

    This is so beautifully written.

    So hard when we can't fix everything for them...

    One of the hardest things for me has indeed been knowing when to step back and give space when all I want to do is wrap my arms around them...

    Hugs, my friend. : )

  3. Please tell Billy his Uncle Bob is proud of him and to NEVER give up!

  4. My full heart is with you both. You handled it beautifully, as always, Kathleen. His dad had many disappointments and went on to achieve will Billy. Bob is right. One door closes; another opens. In time, Billy will understand that. xo

  5. Such a sweet post. It is hard letting go as the kids get older. You know that you can not "fix" everything any longer...even though you really want to.

  6. I've been thinking of you guys since we talked , hope he's feeling better

  7. This is so beautifully, tenderly written. I was especially struck by the last two sentences. Your sensitivity to his way of accepting love is wonderful. I have a son (now very grown) much like that, and I know the restraint needed to not just grab a well-loved child, but to offer milkshake hugs. Whatever it takes....

  8. Hi Kathleen! Awww...what a sweet and sad scene, all at the same time.
    I remember when my son's high school basketball coach called me and asked if there was another sport my son could go out for...a nice way of saying he was going to be cut. Oh boy. These kids really identify themselves through sports. It was hard.

    I know your son is hugging you in his heart, just like you are. You did it with a milkshake, and he did it by drinking it. You are a good Mom, Kathleen. I hope your son will find another way to express his love of sports. And that you will continue to love him right through it all.

  9. I smiled when I read this today. I had the same problem on Monday. Erin did not make the All County Orchestra. Unfortunately for me, it was a two day process. She knew she messed up at the audition, and then she was upset when they announced who got in on Monday. My solution was the same as yours. Milkshake.

  10. I had to smile when I read this. I had the same situation this week. Erin did not make All County Orchestra. She knew she had messed up during her audition and cried the whole way home. Then on Monday when the names were announced and she was not on the list, she was upset again. She also does not like hugs. My solution was the same as yours. Milkshake!

  11. OH, Kathleen, this brought tears to my eyes, the pain we mamas go through with our children. He will only remember how good you made him feel after this disappointment when he gets older.

  12. Kathleen, I'm here after reading your sweet comment on Jamie's blog. I've been there/done that SO MANY TIMES. The disappointments--their disappointments--kill me! And yet, we do what we can (and steal hugs) when we can.

    PS. I was the worst when it came to overprotecting my oldest. Fortunately, I've lightened WAY up since then. : )