I don’t know how it happened exactly, but jealousy has crept into my marriage. I’ve been married to this man for 17 years, and I am being cast aside for someone much younger than I am. This someone loves him in a different way than I ever can, and I just can’t compete for his affection. This someone is only 13 years old and he is our son.
My husband has been getting home late from work for the past several months so nobody gets to see him much anymore. As soon as we hear the garage door open, my son and I rush him like groupies at a Kiss concert. The battle for his attention is on.
My son yells, “Dad! Hurry up and eat your dinner so we can go outside and shoot some hoops!” My husband, grateful that his 13 year old son isn’t taller than him yet, responds affirmatively.
Wait, what about me? “Don’t you want to relax with a glass of wine with your dinner and we can talk?” I quickly ask (okay, beg.)
Not even missing a beat, our son says in his best I Love You voice, “And after some basketball, we can watch the play-offs on the TV downstairs, JUST US TWO and a bag of Orville Redenbachers.”
Resisting the urge to stick my tongue out at the manipulative 13 year old’s back, I pull out all the stops and plead “I’ll give you a nice back rub on this couch here with me.” I try my last desperate hand and say sternly to the offending son. “Don’t you have some homework or chores to do?” But my son’s already got his basketball in one hand and he’s getting out the popcorn bowl with the other.
Sigh, well at least I’m not competing with our 15 year old daughter. She’s holed up in her room with her iPod in one hand, her phone in the other, and her homework in front of her. I guess that female multi-tasking gene is hard at work in this one. All she needs is a stocked mini fridge in her room and we’d never see her again.
My husband is thrilled with all the attention. He tells me it may not last and that it’s a great thing to have his son want to spend time with him. He tries to point out reasonably that we can talk after the kids go to bed. Fat chance, they stay awake longer than we do.
The problem is really two-fold. It’s not just that my husband is spending more time, my time, with The Son, but I’m also put-out that The Son no longer wants to spend any time with me. He won’t talk to me past “uh huh” or “unh uh” and I have no idea if he has a girlfriend, if he got an A on his test, or if his voice is changing. My husband comes home and my son won’t shut up. “Dad, guess what I did! Blah, blah, blah, and I think my voice is changing!” I guess my job is just to feed him. What a thing to do to the woman who endured 17 hours of excruciating labor pain just to give him birth.
It came to a head the other night at dinner when my spouse was out of town. My son and I began arguing about some point about Dad, and my son actually yelled at me, “Well, I’ve known him longer than you!” He started to laugh when he thought about what he had just said. Not being a math whiz, it took me a little longer, but I laughed too. My daughter just looked at us, she didn’t get the joke. I took advantage of the lightened mood and asked my son hopefully “So, do you want to go shoot hoop?” He snickered while rolling his eyes, “No Mom, its hoops not hoop, and no, I don’t want to.” I put on my best I’m Crushed and You Should Feel So Guilty look, but he didn’t see it. “But Mom, what you can do is take me to get some ice cream.”
Yes! Things are looking up! Maybe he’ll tell me about what he did in PE today or how his basketball game is improving, or which girl he’s been dressing up for. Well, I can dream, can’t I? Yes, things are indeed looking up. My husband is due home from his business trip tomorrow while the kids are in school. After he hands me all his dirty laundry from his suitcase maybe he’ll want to talk or shoot hoops with me.
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