The day has finally arrived. It is my son’s 14th birthday. The day has been envisioned in my son’s head for weeks. December has always been particularly difficult month for him. The anxiety created by his anticipation of Christmas and his birthday coupled with two weeks of unstructured vacation fuel his and our families discontent. The days leading up to today have been riddled with anxiety and short-tempers. My son hasn’t exactly been easy to live with either. The guest list was reluctantly whittled down from 30 to 11. The invites were delivered, the colored lights installed in the basement fixtures, the basement cleaned within an inch of it’s life and the stereo hooked up.
Our son envisioned a dance party with boys and girls showing off their hip hop moves and perhaps a bit of flirting exchanged between the two groups. Our fear of course was that the event could in no way live up to his expectations. My son has rarely experienced close friendships with peers. His emotional immaturity is a barrier for him and his “taking problem” doesn’t help either. The kids that were invited were all classmates, none of which he hangs out with outside of school. It was for this reason that I feared a low turnout.
So I sit here 43 minutes after the start time of his party. One of his invited guests has arrived, but the other 10 are glaringly absent. So far my son’s mood is still upbeat. The mood won’t last it and will likely be replaced by sadness and anger.
I am finishing this post the day after the birthday. The aftermath was worse than I expected. The anger my son felt was spewed at all in his path. The fact that his birthday didn’t live up to his expectations served to fuel the victim complex that he wears so well.
The gift cards that he received were not large enough and the digital camera that we bought him was “cheap.” Our tradition of the birthday family dinner will not be good enough either. In fact he has specifically requested that I not attend because I don’t treat him with enough respect. This because he was confronted on his treatment of me yesterday when he called me names that I cannot repeat here. He throws it in my face saying that I don’t treat him with respect either. I am done for now. I cannot win. I have no energy to try and repair our deteriorating relationship. I will call his bluff and opt to stay home tonight. At some point he will need to realize that words are not hollow and cannot be taken back. The lessons for him begin at home. Therapy sessions resume next week after too long of a hiatus. It is not soon enough.