Today, my sweet Mini-Mock, who is in second grade but who was 3 like four seconds ago, was embarrassed by my affection at the bus stop in front of his friend.
Normally, Mr. Mock walks him to the bus stop, and I don’t see how they say their goodbyes. There have been a couple days when I’ve walked Mini to the bus stop and we’re the only ones there, and he kisses me goodbye and I say, “Bye Boobaloo!” to him, or some other similar pet name (I have a zillion of them) and he waves and I wave, and we say “I love you!” to each other, and it’s all very sweet and then I walk home and that’s that.
But today, his friend Max was at the bus stop too. Max is a year older than Mini – a big THIRD GRADER – and so Mini is very interested in him and very interested in impressing him and appearing cool to him and all of that.
But I was in mom mode, so I made the grave mistake of saying, “Ok boo-bear! Give me a kiss goodbye!” as I saw the bus approaching. And then I watched Mini’s face turn twelve shades of purple as he looked nervously from me to Max and back to me again.
And it hit me. OMG I have just embarrassed my son in front of his friend. My son is embarrassed by my pet names and affection.
I’ve been sort of dreading that moment for a long time, knowing full well it was coming, and it was every bit as awful as I’d feared. My boy is growing up so fast.
I felt terrible in all sorts of ways – because I’d caused him embarrassment, because our affection is no longer acceptable to him in front of others, because Max immediately began to tease him….UGH.
But he kissed me goodbye, red-faced and mortified, and we parted.
I thought about it all day long, determined to discuss it with him when I came home from work.
He was reading (as usual) when I found him in the family room, and I curled up next to him and said, “Hey – I’m really sorry I embarrassed you this morning and called you boobear in front of Max.”
And he turned to me and said gravely, “Yes – I was going to have a talk with you about this, Mommy.”
And before he could say another word, I promised him I’d refrain from calling him anything but his Actual Name in front of his friends, but also explained how sad it made me that he was reaching an age where he no longer wanted my kisses in public, but that I understood.
Mini hugged me and said, “Maybe you can just give me a kiss before my friends are around.” I agreed that sounded like a good plan.
And then he gave me an extra big hug and an extra big kiss and said, “It’s ok, Mommy.”
He was especially affectionate this evening.
But that sweet boy of mine is growing fast. And it won’t be long until he doesn’t want my kisses at all.
Till then, I’m soaking every last bit of him in.