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Good Enough Mother will try to do this without embarrassing all parties involved. I do think, however, that will be impossible.
When I was 10-years-old, I said my first cuss word. It happened while we were playing on the monkey bars at the Ross’ house and I slipped. I must not have hurt myself too badly because I said “hell” and you know when you really hurt yourself, much worse is bound to slip out.
My hands, almost instinctively went to my mouth in a vain attempt to get those four little letters back from whence they came. To no avail. I self-flagellated for the rest of the playdate.
I remember this like it was yesterday. I tossed and turned in the bed, unable to sleep or shake the feeling that I had let my parents down. Finally after several hours, I went to my mother and cozied up in her lap as she sat in her easy chair. “Mom, I said a bad word today.” She asked what it was and I told her. She was incredibly forgiving and asked that I not say that again replacing the pieces of my innocence lost by my own actions.
I sort of imagined it working out that way with my own kids all the while secretly hoping they would opt not to use the blue words. Uh, yeah.
The other day, as I was lounging on Cole’s bed, I found his iPhone. It was not password protected so I mindlessly started thumbing through the text messages. What I saw next was so hot I almost dropped the phone. I will spare you the exact words lest your computer screen spontaneously combust.
“Casey this is bullsh*t! I don’t understand this! What the FU*K? What do I need to do so that I can understand how to download music?” (The word assho*e was in there too but I cannot remember the context.)
WHAT THE HELL? It takes most people 4 years in the military to learn to swear like that and yet my 12-year-old was dropping F bombs like he was being paid to do it! “Cole is this text from you?” He stared at it a long time, you know the way you do when your mind is whirring for an excuse. “Well yes, but I was REALLY frustrated!” “ THAT DOES NOT MATTER! THAT IS NOT HOW WE TALK, EVER!” That was basically all I could muster.
As I slid into bed that night, Buff, sensing something was wrong, asked me what was up. I didn’t have the nerve to tell him I was heartbroken because we were raising a merchant marine.
The next morning, Cole came downstairs and I was still so upset I couldn’t even speak. But after the waffles I found my voice. “If you EVER speak or write those words again, I will take every electronic device you have for a month! And don’t think I won’t find out because I will.” Cole nodded his head.
More than the shock was the incredible sense of disappointment I felt – disappointment in him and in myself that as his mother I had not instilled in him the code of behavior for this family. Isn’t that part of my job? Yes it is – and I failed. The self-flagellating rivaled what I went thorough 37 years ago after the incident at the Ross house. But what I really mourned was the loss of innocence. The same boy who plays soldier with his air soft guns and is afraid of the dark, used words I didn’t learn until college.
Even now, days later, I’m not sure how I feel. A part of me hopes this will be the last of the cussing, but come on it wasn’t for me, now was it? Hell to the no it was not. And once that horse has left the barn, it’s hard to get it back. Good Enough Mother could use some help on this one. Has this happened to you? What did you do?